salvationmtnwideIt’s been nearly 25 years since Leonard Knight set out to erect a religious monument in the desert outside of Niland, California. His intention was to create something about eight feet tall, a task he thought he could complete in about a week.

But today, at 78, he’s still at it. Salvation Mountain, as he calls it, has evolved into a spectacular, three-story high mound of adobe which Knight, a self-taught artist, has adorned with colorful pastoral designs and biblical quotations.

As Knight’s fame spreads, more and more people (religious pilgrims, curiosity seekers, hipsters and hippies among them) come to meet him and experience his masterpiece firsthand. He receives them all graciously, giving tours, posing for pictures, and just generally holding court.

I hope you’ll check back here over the next several days as I share photos from my own lovely and long-overdue visit to Salvation Mountain.


14 thoughts on “271/365

    • Hi there! I was going to alert you to my latest Salton Sea photo safari but you beat me to it. :-) I’m not sure exactly how many feet Salvation Mountain is although an L.A. Times story earlier this year said it was three stories high. The two people in this photo give you an idea of the scale. Salvation Mountain is off the beaten track but very easy to find. Highway 111 takes you directly into the town of Niland. Turn east on Main Street and drive about three miles and you can’t miss it. A little farther beyond Salvation Mountain is Slab City both of which were featured in the film “Into the Wild.” Have you seen it?

  1. Okay, I like this one best. And this post answered my question about Leonard. And I finally have come up with something it reminds me of. The scene from “Hook” where they are imagining all the food and it is these lovely colors and creamy. That’s what Salvation Mountain reminds me of.

    • Thank you, Audra. :-) I haven’t seen “Hook” but I will check it out. For me, it brings to mind “The Wizard of Oz.” Either way, Salvation Mountain is truly an expression of Leonard Knight who has an innocent and pure quality to him that is unmistakable. Salvation Mountain is definitely worth a visit the next time you’re in Southern California.

  2. That really is a fascinating place! I don’t think I’ve ever heard about or seen anything similar before. And I love this image – the blue sky complements the colours of the mountain so well.

    • Thank you, Kiley! The Salton Sea is a favorite subject of mine and it’s likely I’ll be returning soon. Also, there is a Salton Sea section in my archives if you’re interested. :-)

    • Thank you, Chris. Glad you stumbled upon these older posts. My Salvation Mountain photos are among my favorites. A very special place and endlessly photogenic. :-)

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