Salvation Mountain is in the Californian desert a couple of miles away from the Salton Sea and the abandoned vacation spot Bombay Beach. This desert art installation is near Slab City, the wild community that lives outside of society. In this part of the California desert, it’s a different world and culture. This is the
How to get there
Salvation Mountain is 3 hours southeast of Los Angeles and the Orange County area. This place is about an hour outside of Palm Springs. The artist actually lives there along with a whole community of people in Slab City next door. There are actual loose hours of 6:30 am-5pm and noise discretion based on the time of day for the residents in the community here. I left in time to get there as the sun was rising, and it was a beautiful drive through the desert in the early cool morning with pink cotton candy clouds. You will first see a sign on a rock for Slab City and then will come to this sign shown above for Salvation Mountain. When you see this, you know you are close.
Salvation Mountain is the cost of salvation: FREE! This is the message and heart of the artist who made this installation. This art is by a man who didn’t believe and simply had a moment in the desert when he at 38 yers old encountered the love of God a quiet still voice in his heart and everything changed. He was filled with passion to share this message of love we were made for with the world as his life mission.
Things to do
- Explore the art installation
- Visit Slab City to see their other art installations, cafe, bar, and library (below)
- See the Salton Sea & the abandoned town Bombay Beach area (below)
Salvation Mountain Art Installation
This is an interesting culture and community that lives in the middle of nowhere in California desert. It is a community of snowbirds and squatters from across North America. The whole area has bunkers from World War 2 and lots of people living in different areas of the land. This is definitely an interesting artisan community that has all kinds of art installations set up and is known as one of the last free places on earth. There is a pretty eccentric interesting community of people that congregate, making it a great place to meet and mingle with people. You will hear some crazy stuff. This area is right outside of Niland, Ca, which is where most of the people get their mail held at the post office.
Welcome Information Kiosk
Right as you come into Slab City there is a helpful booth open 24 hours a day. There are lots of flyers and information about activities, art, and things to do in the city as well as events that are going on.
This is the other main art installation area
Travel n Pals Club Cafe
This is an interesting cafe that is in the tiny Slab City. It’s a great place to take a rest if you are out in the desert adventuring and need a drink or a break from the heat. The locals here are friendly and provide interesting conversation.
Hours: 8am-5pm daily
Slab City Library
There is a pretty large library collection of books in a covered structure with tons of old books and VHS tapes. It opens at 6 am and is a functioning legit library business which is pretty cool for the desert. Their official website is here.
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This is a cool graffiti artwork installation on the old metal historical bunker site from World War II. It’s one of the other main art installations to check out in the community and hang out.
This is a night club with strung up lights, live music, a stage, and drinks. It is a very interesting open desert nightly concert. There is lots of folk music and talented live musicians performing. This is a hopping place on a Saturday night. It gets rolling on Saturday night at dusk and is the best place to experience a wild desert evening off the grid.
This is a free service provided to Slab City residents and is run off donations. There is coffee, soda, and chips. There is great internet connection and free coffee but donations are appreciated and help keep the place running. Definitely check this place out.
Hours: 10am-6pm daily
The actual spots to camp and stay overnight in the central community that lives here are in the RV park campground area of the Slab City. Experience living off the grid for a night in the desert. Go out on a Saturday to experience the live music at The Range nightclub and come back with unbelievable stories.
The Salton Sea is an abandoned lakefront area with a concentration of salt so high that nothing can live in the lake. Most fish and living creatures cannot tolerate it, and you can see skeletal remains of fish spread out all over the banks of the lake, like sand that you walk over. A graveyard of bones for the desert fish. Weird. The place is
Back in the day, this was the Palm Springs desert getaway of California.
International Banana Museum
This is on the lakeshore of the Salton Sea and is a hilarious crazy corner of America visit. They have amazing banana ice cream and shakes at their cafe inside. This is apparently the world’s largest collection of any one fruit in modest Niland, CA outside of Indio, CA. There are all kinds of banana related products and a museum of over 22 thousand items. There is a banana souvenir shop. Read more about the museum here.
Hours: Friday-Monday 1-5 pm daily, Closed Tuesday through Thursday
This whole area makes for an epic desert road trip in California to explore an unmarked civilization living completely off the grid. Appreciating their art and hearing some different viewpoints is always interesting. There is adventure to be had in the Californian desert!