Want to go on a CRAZY adventure in Southern California? Well, buckle your seat belts, bring a giant jug of water, and your camera because we are about to virtual-travel together to the middle of nowhere- NILAND, CA.
Our crazy adventure story:
My friend and I are the creative, wanderer types. We love to be spontaneous. We pick new places to explore, jump in the car, and just GO! We are hardly ever together, since she moved 8 hours away, but this time, we wanted to do something extraordinary.
I saw this amazing artwork of a mountain on Instagram, and since we live only a couple of hours away, I figured we could road trip it to Palm Springs, Ca. We could nab a hotel room, spend one night in Palm Springs, and then, early in the morning, we could meander over to this mountain, which is right by the Salton Sea. Easy right?
WELL. Let me tell you. It was not that easy!
Problem #1: We woke up late, a little hung over if I am being 100% truthful, because we did karaoke at a bunch of clubs in Palm Springs. What a night! We had to hurry and get ready because if we got there in the middle of the day, it would be EXTREMELY hot. It is desert afterall.
Problem #2: Google Maps led us 2 hours out of our way on the opposite side of the Salton Sea! It was trying to get us to drive to one side of the sea, drive THROUGH the sea, and end up at the mountain. WTF google. WTF. My advice is take a hard look at the route from start to finish before you start following the directions. It’s one long empty highway, so it’s not tough to get to.
Problem #3: We started getting a creepy, eerie feeling driving to the Salton Sea because there were crosses along the side of the road. As if people had died on their way. We passed border patrol, abandoned towns, and factories with weird danger signs written on them. Did we stop? Hell no. Don’t be discouraged, just power through all the creepy stuff. No, you don’t need your passport.
After one hell of a drive, throwing our tops in the backseat because it was too hot for clothes, dunking our heads in water, and getting totally lost- We made it!
Welcome to Salvation Mountain! Leonard Knight is a religious, self-taught artist who created the adobe mountain to showcase God’s love for us. Read more about Salvation Mountain What an AMAZING PLACE TO TAKE INSTAGRAM PHOTOS!!!!! #doitforthegram
We spent the time reading the quotes, psalms, and poems about God that are actually hand-painted on this mountain. We read the plaques about Leonard Knight and his quirky character. We marveled at the fact that it is ADOBE and it is painted with gallons and gallons of paint!!!
Photography Tip: Take photos from far-away because the bright sunlight and blue sky really make the crazy colors of this mountain POP.
My favorite part was the EGGS. How freakin’ cute are they?? It kinda felt like I WAS AN EGG, frying on this mountain too because it was so dang hot.
Last but not least, there is a trail on the side of the mountain (by the eggs) that we hiked all the way up to the top. There is a beautiful cross at the top of the mountain and ledges that we peered off into the distance. This is great for PHOTOS-just be careful because the path is high, narrow, and has no hand-rails.
We only stayed for about 30-45 minutes because it was over 100 degrees F! We started to get dizzy and almost had a heat stroke. I was afraid our tires would pop and we would be stranded out in the desert.
Some man, who may or may not have worked there, offered to drive us to a ‘watering hole’ where the residents of Niland liked to cool off in the summertime. Foolishly, we agreed.
We followed in our car and came upon a man-made river. There were no trespassing signs and hazardous waste signs saying: DON’T CLIMB THE FENCE AND DON’T GO SWIMMING. We were creeped out and just busted a mission out of there. There was no way we were going to accidentally swallow poisonous water or get stuck in the ‘river.’
The trip itself was kind of ridiculous and crazy, but that’s how we like it.
The mountain is beautiful and absolutely worth seeing.
If you’re looking for some cool places to take Instagram photos or to explore with friends, put this at the top of your list! It was an experience we’ll never forget and we have amazing photos to look back on!
Tips for visiting Salvation Mountain
- Bring JUGS and JUGS of water! Or just visit in the wintertime!
- Wear tons of heavy-duty sunscreen
- Do not follow people to a ‘river’ to ‘cool off’ because it’ll end up being a hazardous waste dump. Don’t jump in!
- Make sure you have enough gas before you go, it’s FAR and in the middle of the desert
- Make sure your car is fully operational, you don’t want to get stuck out there
- Bring your best camera- this place is amazing for photos!
- Wear tennis shoes or hiking boots so you can climb the mountain.
- Don’t peel off the paint- be respectful
- Be careful with Google Maps. Preview the whole route before driving
- Bring an AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER WITH YOU-Did I mention my best friend’s website yet???>>> Maria Shayna Photography <<<
Spot you soon,
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My very best friend took most of these photos and she is an amazing photographer up in Northern California. Take the time to check her website>> here<<