Ultimate Guide to Visiting Salvation Mountain!
Welcome to your “Ultimate Guide to Visiting Salvation Mountain!” With Coachella & Stagecoach coming up just around the corner, this is the perfect time to write a guide for visiting this uber-Instagrammable hot spot in the MIDDLE of the desert!! (And trust me, this place is OUT there!) My family lives literally an hour from Salvation Mountain, so I’m pretty familiar with this part of the world, aka the Palm Springs area ~ & I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Mountain, where to stay, & what you need to bring!
“Love Jesus and keep it simple.”
– Leonard Knight, Artist & Creator of Salvation Mountain
“I’m happy here in Slab City
Old Hobo road is dead
Those iron trees & I are the same
We’ve both got roots so deep.”
– Leonard Knight
Map of Salvation Mountain
Coachella Festival Grounds
Quick Facts About Salvation Mountain
- Entrance Fee: None. But there are always volunteers present to prevent destruction to the Mountain, & it’s a good idea to leave a small donation to help with upkeep & maintenance.
- How to Get to Salvation Mountain: From Palm Springs, it’s a 90-minute drive via Highway 111 South. You’ll be following along the (often-stinky) Salton Sea, & turning left onto Main Street in Niland. Once you’re on Main Street, you’re just a few miles from Salvation Mountain ~ you won’t miss it, on the right-hand side. To get to Slab City, keep going past Salvation Mountain for a mile or two. (If you’re in the eastern valley, i.e. La Quinta or Indio, it’s only an hour drive.)
- Best Time to Visit Salvation Mountain: October-May. During the summer months (June-September), temperatures are typically in the 100’s out here, & can reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring EXTRA water if you decide to visit during the summer!
- How Long to Spend There: About an hour; more if you’d like to visit Slab City too.
- Top Tips for Visiting: Bring a FULL tank of gas! There are very few services out here. Likewise, bring WATER & your own snacks for the ride! There are a few small markets in Niland, but the selection is very slim. Bring sunscreen! And finally, DON’T walk on the mountain itself. I’ve seen many other bloggers/Instagrammers taking photos ON the mountain ~ but they have it cordoned off, & it ruins the paint. So don’t do it!!
Photos of Salvation Mountain
Leonard Knight (1931-2014) spent thirty years creating Salvation Mountain, to showcase his main passion & philosophy: that “God is love.” Religious messages can be found all over the mountain he created ~ out of adobe, straw, & thousands of gallons of lead-free, non-toxic paint. I first heard about Salvation Mountain, & the adjoining Slab City, from the amazing Jon Krakauer book, “Into the Wild.” In it, the main character Christopher McCandless visits Slab City & Salvation Mountain, meets Leonard, & learns about living “off-the-grid.” The real Leonard Knight played himself in the movie.
When you first drive up to Salvation Mountain, you may start to notice people on the side of the road, selling or trading goods. It’s impossible to miss the colorful mountain, as it’s right off the road, with several dirt parking lots surrounding it & easy parking.
Ultimate Guide to Visiting Salvation Mountain
Where to Stay by Salvation Mountain
Palm Springs is the “Pool Capital” of the world ~ so if you’re coming out for a long weekend from L.A. or San Diego to visit Salvation Mountain, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the sunny weather & stay somewhere with a fabulous pool. If you’re visiting Salvation Mountain, it’s better to stay in the east side of the valley (La Quinta & Indio) vs. Palm Springs ~ as the drive is 45-minutes longer from Palm Springs…
My Favorite Hotel in La Quinta (near Coachella Festival grounds): The La Quinta Resort & Club. This sprawling property is one of my favorite hotels in the world, & they have over 50+ pools!! If you want a big pool with a bar: they’ve got it. If you want a smaller, more intimate pool: they’ve got it. Hollywood royalty used to come out here from L.A., so some of the Spanish-style rooms are named after stars from the 20’s & 30’s. This is a special spot!
Ultimate Guide to Visiting Salvation Mountain!
Thanks for reading this “Ultimate Guide to Visiting Salvation Mountain” by Palm Springs! Some great side trips from Salvation Mountain are Joshua Tree National Park (which deserves at least a full day to enjoy!), Ladder Canyon hike in Mecca, or watching polo on the Coachella grounds. And of course, you can always simply lay by the pool & soak up the sun…
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