You can’t go on a California road trip without visiting Salvation Mountain. Salvation Mountain is a man-made art installation covering an entire hill in the Colorado desert.
Salvation Mountain is a literal man-made mountain 28 years in the making, covered in half a million gallons of latex paint. What started as a small monument made of dirt and painted cement became, over time, a sprawling adobe and hay-bale mountain complex. — Aaron Huey, National Geographic
Salvation Mountain is like stepping into a real life Dr.Seuss book. It’s literally an enchanted mountain filled with love, radiant colors, obscure and unique designs and a ton of remarkable folk art. It’s hard to believe that just one man built it all!
You might be thinking at this point ” ok. cool it’s a mountain with wacky colors, so what?”
Well, while I was their Anthopologie was shooting a fashion campaign. Other notable celebs who have made the fashion pilgrimage to Salvation Mountain include: Selena Gomez, Kesha, Paper Magazine, Chiara Ferragni, and they even shot some of the scenes from the Movie Into The Wild starring Emile Hirsch there.
Tips and Tricks
My family thought I was crazy driving over 3hrs from San Diego to go see some colorful mountain, but I promise you it’s well worth it! I went back atleast 2 more times, it’s just that remarkable.
It does get crazy busy their with travelers and fashionistas trying to get the perfect Instagram pics so I suggest going an hour or two before sunset. It will still be busy but, if your photographer like me then you want the best light, you want that golden hour which happens an hour before sunset. This kind of light is soft and is more diffused so you won’t get all those harsh shadows that ruin photos.
Another tip is really take your time enjoying the atmosphere and the people their. There is soo much interestingness happening all around you and that usually equals amazing street photography. For instance all the people in these photos don’t actually know their being photographed but for me that’s the fun of it!.
Talk to the locals if you can. There is usually a volunteer watching over the mountain to make sure it’s not damaged so asked them questions. Get a feel for the uniqueness of the community and people who live within it. This is how I truly get an authentic experience, it’s just taking the time to talk to the locals.
Finally dress to impress. I brought a few outfits with me and it’s a great backdrop to do a mini photoshoot if you can. If you go solo like me bring along a tripod or ask a stranger to take your photo. Everyone their is pretty friendly so it shouldn’t be an issue getting someone to take a photo of you.
Once Upon a Time
Leonard Knight is the creator of Salvation Mountain ( unfortunately he recently died at the age of 82), he wanted to share his message of love with a hot air balloon. After his failed attempts he decided to leave town but not before he created a small statement. He started putting cement and paint on the side of a forgotten riverbank which eventually led him to pack old junk from the dump on the sides of his “mountain” he would then fill it with sand throw a little cement and paint on it and now 28 years later we have Salvation Mountain!
Nope, thats not how the story ends. The mountain collapsed and he saw it as a sign that it wasn’t safe so he rebuilt it with native adobe clay mixed with straw and that is the mountain that you see today!
For more information on Salvation Mountain you can find it here on their website .
I would love to hear about any of your personal experiences at Salvation Mountain and please share photos if you have any in the comments section below.
Happy road tripping!
Kayla Logan PR