Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California

Situated in the middle of the Southern California desert (read that as pretty much the middle of nowhere) is a rainbow paradise called Salvation Mountain where all the hipsters go for Instagram pictures. I am not knocking them because I was there right along with them getting those pics for the ‘gram. And when I say there were a lot of people there, I am not kidding. I was dodging selfie-sticks, iPhones, and tons of people walking around. But aside from the popularity, this place lived up to my imagination and more! Sometimes places can get hyped up in your mind and I was scared that was going to be what happened on my visit. When I actually saw Salvation Mountain in person, I was glad to say I was not disappointed.


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    I honestly have never heard about this place until I saw it on Instagram and Pinterest randomly. I then saw it again in the latest Ke$ha music video “Praying” and I think it was kismet that I go visit. Leonard Knight crafted this site out of clay, straw, and a TON of paint. He dedicated his work to God and filled it with religious imagery and Biblical verses. But there are so many colorful flowers and patterns throughout that makes this a popular place for many (i.e. my hipster joke earlier). It’s oddly intriguing and I found something to look at no matter where I turned.

    Now you may ask, is it really worth my time to drive out to this big pile of painted clay in the middle of the hot Cali sun? Most definitely. Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California is definitely worth it! Just keep that in mind that when you plan your visit, the earlier in the morning you go, the better. Go closer to sunrise instead of around sunset like I did. Because photoshopping out people isn’t fun. Also, be sure the vehicle is gassed up and you have plenty of drinks and snacks because while driving through the area, you quickly realize there really is not much civilization in the area that was open.

    Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California
    Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California
    Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California

    Traveling solo and want to still get incredible photos of yourself so you can remember the places you visit? Check out my tried and true options! I have personally done ALL of these options and I have gotten amazing results! Trust me, I am a photographer. 😉


    Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California



    Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California
    Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California

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    Sami Mastrario
    Sami Mastrario

    The cool aunt. Plant novice who loves to travel to cool places, eat unadventurous food, and take pretty photos.

    Find me on: Instagram

    22 Comments

    1. fleurdelilah
      January 19, 2018 / 11:54 pm

      Great photos! I never heard of Salvation Mountain before, but I can see why you’d want to visit. The artwork is beautiful there!

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:37 pm

        It’s a colorful haven! Thanks ❤️

    2. January 20, 2018 / 12:08 am

      oh love your beautiful photos girl! Putting this on my list. P.S. Your blog is so cute.

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 21, 2018 / 7:07 pm

        Ahh thanks! My blog has been a labor of love. ❤️

    3. January 20, 2018 / 12:11 am

      Beautiful photos!! Had no idea about this place.. now I have to hunt it down in my next CA visit.. lol 🙂

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:38 pm

        Yea – it’s the middle of freaking no where. know that! 😂

    4. January 20, 2018 / 12:41 am

      OMG I have been dying to go here ever since I found out about this place. My fave photo is one of the Pinterest ones that has you walking towards the colorful mountains 🙂

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:39 pm

        Ah thanks ❤️ I was the same way and made it a priority when I was in the area!

    5. tanamerarumbai
      January 20, 2018 / 12:50 am

      It’s hard to choose which one is my favorite. They are all unique and awesome! Hope to make it there one day.

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 21, 2018 / 7:08 pm

        Hope you do too! It’s definitely a crazy cool place!

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:40 pm

        Thank you so much! ❤️❤️❤️

    6. January 20, 2018 / 1:15 am

      Whoa! I’m digging all the colors and how incredibly off-the-wall this place is! Somehow I’ve managed to miss this one on Instagram…maybe I’m not following enough hipsters? 🙂

      Also, is Kesha finally making music again? Am I super out of the loop and she’s been recording for years? How have I missed this?!

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:43 pm

        Your whole comment is my fav 😂

        I don’t follow too many hipsters myself but I saw a BUNCH there when I was visiting. And Kesha started making music again maybe last year? I think she finally got out of that abusive music guy nightmare!

    7. Megan Indoe
      January 20, 2018 / 1:57 am

      I have always wanted to check this place out and its so pathetic we haven’t gone yet because we live only a few hours away! Your photos are amazing, it looks like you got there during some great light!

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:44 pm

        Ah you need to make a visit! We went a little before sunset and it was crazy busy but it just happened to be the time we were in the area. Definitely go closer to sunrise and I bet it will be empty and the lighting with me ✨magical✨

    8. Lena
      January 20, 2018 / 6:48 am

      I’ve heard about this place before! Apparently it is very special, also because it is in the middle of nowhere.

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 20, 2018 / 9:44 pm

        It was pretty crazy cool. And yes, definitely in the middle of nowhere!

    9. January 26, 2018 / 12:25 pm

      Agh these are great photos too! I’ve always wanted to go here! x

      • Sami Mastrario
        January 26, 2018 / 12:38 pm

        Seriously every nook and cranny was painted and it was a rainbow paradise 🌈❤️😍

    10. October 27, 2018 / 8:24 am

      I love this! My favorite is the God is Love picture, 6th one down, I think. I’ve never been to California! Thank you for sharing such amazing pictures!

      • Sami Mastrario
        October 27, 2018 / 9:22 am

        I have only been to such a tiny portion of the state and would love to go back and explore more! The color and message make it epic!

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