Salvation Mountain – Entrance to The Last Free City in America

Salvation Mountain is the entrance to the last free city in America, Slab City. And it’s epic. It’s colorful, fun, random, and religious. It’s everything I like to think of myself aside from the religious part. If Webster’s Dictionary were a picture book, Salvation Mountain would be located under eccentric.

Salvation Mountain, Entry to Slab City, The Last Free City in America

Approaching Salvation Mountain after hundreds of miles of desert terrain is refreshing. The drive there is very brown, desolate, and dry. One would be hard pressed to miss the bright, multi-colored structures jutting out of the dirt like permanent fireworks in a night sky. Created by Korean war veteran and artist, Leonard Knight, as a tribute to the sinner’s prayer and his deep devotion to Christianity, Salvation Mountain is constructed out of adobe, straw, and gallons of lead-free paint.

Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain Posing in the hot, desert sun

God is Love says Salvation Mountain

“God is Love” was a prominent message throughout in addition to the sinner’s prayer. Buckets of used paint lay next to a trailer hitch. It supported a large box adorned in hearts and “God is Love” imagery. I was there for the artistry, the off the beaten path vibe, and folksiness of a sculpture found in none other than my favorite state, California. Growing up in Kansas, I must admit, the “Please stay on the Yellowbrick Road” signs tickled my fancy no matter how many times I’ve been asked about Dorothy and her Yorkie.

Walking the Yellowbrick Road at Salvation Mountain
Walking the Yellowbrick Road at Salvation Mountain

I was raised with free will when it came to religion, and I’ve tried it all. I’ve attended numerous denominations’ services, participated in mass, asked Jesus into my heart, gone to Bible study, and so forth. I’ve never felt any of it resonate with me the way doing good and being good resonates with me. My mama’s philosophy involved being a good person and doing unto others the way I would have done unto myself. I gravitated toward that more than any Bible verse or Sunday school hymn.

Deeming myself a spiritual person, respectful of those who respect others, and deeply open-minded, I pray, but my God is energy. My God lives within me, around me, in the Universe, and in nature as I stated in Abandonment in Bombay Beach, California.

Curiosity Never Killed the Cat

I pride myself on my openness. My curiosity and desire to learn is so much greater than any want or need to conform to a single doctrine. Exploring Salvation Mountain gave me the vibe that even though the aesthetics scream Christianity, this was also an open place. This was a place that people from all walks of life and all faiths can visit and appreciate. It was a place with unique character and undeniable passion, which no one can deny.

Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain Interior, Created by artist, Leonard Knight


  1. Traci

    June 22, 2017 at 8:05 PM

    Beautiful writing! I like the flow of your words your openness. I loved visiting these places and it’s great to find others that have also found these hidden gems.

    1. Linds

      June 22, 2017 at 8:38 PM

      Traci, thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I sincerely appreciate it. I always find it difficult to share “hidden gems” because you want for them to remain as such but it’s equally as difficult not to share something so “strange, sad, and wonderful” as you described on Instagram. And discovering that others gained as much as I did by visiting such places is certainly the icing on the cake!

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