salvation mountian

Salvation Mountain: Childlike Art

In the Desert of California lies the small town of Niland and the most amazing piece of art work I have ever seen.

salvation mountain

30 years ago a Virginia man named Leonard Knight decided to go to Niland to try and fly his giant homemade “Jesus Loves You” hot air balloon. The hot air balloon was a failure but, it was just the beginning of something new. He was determined not to give up. So, Leonard decided to stay one week in the desert of Niland to make a smaller concrete version of the balloon. He soon saw the opportunity to grow his small piece to a large mountain. Today, this is what you will see in Niland…

salvation mountian

Whether you are or aren’t a believer, this is something for everyone.  When you visit, Leonard is happy to share his story with you. There’s no hard religious sales pitch, no official right or wrong way to view the mountain and no fee to view his very intricate work of child like art.  All he asks is that you spread the word. There have been many obstacles over the many years and, yet nothing has deterred his commitment to grow his mountain or his message.

salvation mountian

Leonard lives in a donated trailer, next to Salvation Mountain. His only job is working day in and day out on the mountain and of course, spreading the word of the Bible to his visitors. He has dedicated his life to Salvation Mountain and has no intentions of leaving.

At over 80 years old, you can still find Leonard wandering around looking for tree limbs or painting away. (Update: Leonard is sadly no longer with us) If you find yourself anywhere near Niland, go and see this amazing piece of Art while Leonard and Salvation Mountain are still around!

Have you been to Salvation Mountain?  If so, what was your reaction?  Did you meet Leonard?  Share in the comment box below!

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (8)

  • Nure Yantika

    “Semoga semua makhluk berbahagia ..”

  • Diane

    We went out to Nyland a couple of times on the Motorcycles, after seeing it on Huell Howser- California’s Gold. The last time we went Leonard gave us a full tour. He was a sweet man, amazingly spry, and an overall interesting character. We were sad to hear he passed, but glad to hear that people are carrying get on his legacy. Salvation Mountain is a registered folk art piece.

  • Fiona

    This was an amazing place to visit. Another interesting place not too far away in Joshua Tree is the Noah Purifoy outdoor museum.

  • Jean

    We visited there a couple of years ago and Leonard was in a nursing home. Students from a nearby art college had taken over upkeep on th site. We were impressed a lot. Many folks left prayer requests in the chapel-type “cave”. The lady we spoke to worked with Leonard years ago and spends part of her vacation working there each year. Hope no vandals visit here.

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  • paul van

    Dedication to a concept keeps you going.

  • I love when people are happy and living their purpose. 🙂


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