In The Desert
Slab City, California
Niland, Salvation Mountain
Coming into Nilad on Rt 111 in the desert you have to turn East on Main St. to get out to Slab City. As soon as you cross the canal you'll see this Bus Stop Welcome sign, and you'll also be able to see Salvation Mountain. It's the most colorful thing in the Desert. You can't miss it!
This isn't meant to drive anyone to take up religion - so why did we write this up? Well the first time we heard about Salvation Mountain and Leonard Knight was on a TV show (maybe Discovery, not sure) then we saw it in a Nat Geo Magazine. So it's been very popular and we wanted to find out why.
A lot of painters and handy men bring their scrap and left over paint out to Leonard. And he certainly does use a lot of it! There are rooms inside the Mountain that are equally colorful. Ca. was going to tear this all down, but with the notoriety that Leonard got here it became impossible for them to do anything with it or Slab City. Slab City being one of only RV campgrounds left that are free.
Look closely and you'll see Linda standing on the yellow brick road. For size comparison, this mountain that Leonard built is about 4 stories high and is made of Straw bales, old branches, and tires.
And here's how he uses tires. He made trees out of them. Actually he collected and used a lot of old stuff he found in the desert. He put a lot of work into this project with at least 23 years of labor and hard work.
See the Wikimapia Map below.
Read this before you make a bad judgement about Leonard and his work.
Here's Leonard Knight on the left. So why has Leonard done this -- he'll tell you it's to spread the word. He is not pushy and lets his work speak for him. He's one of the nicest friendliest people we've ever met. I could be wrong but I believe he's non- denominational in his religous beliefs.
After you leave Salvation Mountain travel at least a little farther into the RV park area. This is truly a worth while sight, as you can see by the photo on the right. These is not the only campers here. There are quite a few people who stay the whole year here. And then a lot of Snowbirds join them in the Winter.
Here's a friend taking a photo of one of the many vehicles that are dressed up? Unbelieveable! These are always sitting right next to the road and are part of the RV park. This is really worth seeing!
Now here's something that most people visiting the area don't see. Up behind Salvation Mountain are two old water storage tanks that were installed when this was a military base. People have spent a fortune on paint, painting some pretty neat dinosaurs, planes, and other graffiti on these tanks.
Here's the back side of the same tank. Now to get to these, unless you walk, you'll be better off with a 4 wheel drive as some spots are sandy, and steep to get in here. Be warned, there is another tank here that is very sexual in nature.
When you leave Niland head South on Rt. 111 for 2.9 miles to Schrimpf Road. Here you'll turn to the West on a dirt road. It's usually in good condition. Then go 3.5 miles to Davis Road. On the right hand corner you'll see the hills formed by the Mud Pots. Here's a photo looking back toward Davis Road from the Mud Pots.
We've been here several different times over a span of 2 years and the activity, and the heat here changes. The first 2 times here you could put your hand into the mud -- HOWEVER the last time here if you did that you'd get burned. The last time we were here there was a lot of earthquake activity in the area and this may be the cause of the heat. Even the heat in the ground could be felt throuogh your shoes. Be careful this is an active area.
This is a short video of one of the Mud Pots.
This is an inter-active Wikimapia Satellite Map. You can zoom in / out and drag the map to scroll. Mouse over the map. Try it! Shown here - Niland area.
In the upper right corner of the map is Slab City and Salvation Mountain
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Contact us via E-mail
Really nice way to spend the day in the desert. More and more people are living here at Slab City as the economy continues to decline. Shame they don't have a good supply of water near the campsites.
Have fun ------