Salvation Mountain, Calipatria

Salvation Mountain is a hillside visionary environment created by local resident Leonard Knight (1931–2014) in the California Desert area of Imperial County, north of Calipatria, northeast of Niland near Slab City, and several miles from the Salton Sea.

The artwork is made of adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint. It encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses, though its philosophy was built around the Sinner's Prayer.
The Folk Art Society of America declared it "a folk art site worthy of preservation and protection" in the year 2000. In an address to the United States Congress on May 15, 2002, California Senator Barbara Boxer described it as "a unique and visionary sculpture... a national treasure... profoundly strange and beautifully accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it receives".
In December 2011, the 80-year-old Knight was placed in a long-term care facility in El Cajon for dementia. Leonard Knight died on February 10, 2014, in El Cajon.
Concern has been raised for the future of the site, which requires constant maintenance due to the harsh surrounding environment. Many visitors bring paint to donate to the project, and a group of volunteers has been working to protect and maintain the site. In 2012, a public charity, Salvation Mountain, Inc., was established to support the project.
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Salvation Mountain Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
375 reviews
  • This is located out in the boondocks but well worth the visit. I love visiting eccentric odd ball places and this is one of them. We are in the COVID-19 pandemic and the area was closed off. You...  more »
  • The cross was huge and we could see it clearly. Many people stopped here to enjoy! There were lots of paintings and RVs. I think they live here. I liked what they say: "God Never fails" and "God is....  more »
  • I visited Salvation Mountain several times between 2009 and 2011 before Leonard left the Mountain, and he personally guided me around at least twice. It's a weird place: a hillside covered with thousands of gallons of paint, literally poured on top of dirt and straw bails; a space that Leonard intended to be something of a dome, built out of straw and paint and sticks; an abstract walk-through sculpture, assembled from straw and paint and desert detritus scavenged (salvaged?) from the surrounding landscape; one man's testimony of his God's love. I'm not a religious person, but Leonard Knight was one of the most profoundly Christ-like, most godly men I ever met, and his Salvation Mountain is definitely worth visiting.
  • A beautiful sacred place built by one man. I don’t consider myself an artsy person but when i saw this, I’m out of words. An old man with his faith and believe to create something that he loves. This is one man action, it benefits so many of us. Definitely recommend it to go, please don’t ruin this place and don’t leave your trash.

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