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The Salvation Mountain Road Trip Guide

The Salvation Mountain Road Trip Guide

Why might someone choose to visit the middle of nowhere in California? Well as it turns out, there is a unique place that you will want to be sure to put on your travel bucket list. It’s called Salvation Mountain.

Located in the lawless Slab City, this one-of-a-kind location will inspire (and confuse).

Let’s dive in.

What is Salvation Mountain?

Salvation Mountain is a man-made mountain that began 28 years ago. It started as a small monument made of dirt and painted cement. Over time it grew and gained structures made of telephone poles, tires, and car windows as well as other art sculptures.

It is covered in over half a million gallons of paint. It is painted in with stripes and color blocks in whatever colors happened to be donated that week.

There are messages of hope and God’s love displayed throughout. 

The History of Salvation Mountain?

Salvation Mountain was an idea by Leonard Knight in the 1970s. He had the idea to paint the Sinner’s Prayer on a hot air balloon, but he couldn’t get it to fly.

In 1984 he discover Slab City, a transient community, and decided to leave a small monument out of concrete and paint. His project continued to grow from there. 

Salvation Mountain poster found at HWY Vintage on Etsy

How to Get to Salvation Mountain?

You can find Salvation Mountain at 603 Beal Rd Niland, CA 92257. It is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. If traveling on CA-8 you’ll head north on CA-111 until you reach Niland, CA. Salvation Mountain is just East of Niland.

If you are in the area visiting Joshua Tree National Park and the question arises, “How far is Salvation Mountain from Joshua Tree” The answer is not far!

From Joshua Tree, you can find Salvation Mountain about an hour south on CA-111. 

Is It Worth Visiting Salvation Mountain?

If unique and eclectic things are your style, you will be glad you made the trip out to Salvation Mountain.

It is one of those stops that you can’t find anywhere else and will come up in conversations with friends. 

Where to Camp?

The immediate area around Salvation Mountain is rather remote. You aren’t going to find a Hilton or even a Holiday Inn here. There is a small town called Niland just to the west of Salvation Mountian.

Niland suffered a major fire in the summer of 2020 and currently has a population of only around 500.

Camp for Free in Slab City

GPS: 33.2545, -115.4739

About the Campsite: This is known as “The last free place.” It is a 600+ acre area that is a community of nomads. Slab City is considered by some to be lawless.

The reviews are a bit mixed saying it has a free spirit about it but that not everyone feels safe while staying. It is probably better suited for free-roaming adults and not for families with children.

You, like everyone else, are welcome to stay for free as long as you’d like. 

Cost: $0

Miles to Salvation Mountain: Slab city is less than 1 mile from Salvation Mountain. 

Slab City poster found at HWY Vintage on Etsy

Camp in Luxury at Fountain of Youth RV Resort

GPS: 33.3995, -115.6626

About the Campsite: The Fountain of Youth RV Resort is truly a desert oasis. Here you will find a variety of aquatic amenities such as 3 hot spas, 1 raw mineral spa, 4 personal soaking subs, 1 saltwater pool, 1 chlorinated pool, steam rooms, and 4 restroom/shower houses.

There is no lack of places to cool down on a hot summer day. Additionally, there are plenty of other activities such as a tennis court, a library, and horseshoe pits. Fountain of Youth even has a restaurant and massage parlor right on site.

Once you arrive you’ll never want to leave.

Cost: Prices range from $28 per night in the low season for dry camping to $115 per night for a premium site in the peak season. 

Miles to Salvation Mountain: It is about 18 miles to Salvation Mountain from Fountain of Youth RV Resort. 

Get Saved

If you like unique adventures, this is a fantastic place to visit.

Will Salvation Mountain make it on your list of things to see? What’s the most unique adventure you’ve stopped to see?

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

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As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

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  1. Mike K says:

    More like 2 hours from the North entrance of Joshua Tree NP to Salvation MT.