SLAB CITY: home of the naked cowboy and Salvation Mountain

Monday, May 18, 2015

If you are in search of a totally quirky and interesting road trip, GO HERE. 

Will and I drove straight from Salt Lake City to Carlsbad, California. We ended up staying in Carlsbad/ Oceanside for two days because, the beach. But what I really want to focus on is where we went after that, Slab City, or more specifically; SALVATION MOUNTAIN.

 Salvation Mountain is a 50 ft. high and 150 ft. wide mountain made of straw, adobe clay and donated paint. The entire structure was created over three decades by Leonard Knight, who dedicated his life to making Salvation Mountain as his tribute to God. 

                                                       AND IT IS INCREDIBLE. 

It's located in Niland, California which is a big, empty desert. It's about an hour and a half away from Palm Springs, and just east of the Salton Sea (a huge abandoned resort ghost - town which is worthy of another blog post but you can watch about it here)

Leonard Knight slept/lived in here ^  and literally spent all day, every day building/ painting scriptures and words about love. talk about devotion.

I was really surprised by just how LARGE it was, there were so many little passage ways and nooks it was almost like a labyrinth. 

We had so much fun climbing, exploring, and reading what covered the walls.

Shortly after leaving Salvation Mountain we came upon a sign that read 'entering Slab City'  we started looking around deciding which road to take, when we saw something approaching us; and our conversation went something like this;

"Will, do you see that?" 
" yeah is that a horse?" 
" yeah, I think there's someone on it"
"wait.. I think he's also towing along a donkey"
" yup. Will, there's a man galloping on a beautiful white horse trailing a donkey alongside the freeway coming right at us"
"what is it?"
"he's completely naked."

I actually stole this picture from here but this is the guy, Cuervo, 'The last cowboy' pictured with pants.

Cuervo. Travels by mule.

But this little experience could pretty much sum up all that is Slab City. Basically, an off the grid 'city' of make - shift homes and RV's with a very, very interesting community of mis - fits, homeless and people trying to escape the system. ( and if you're intrigued - which you should be, you can learn more about it here )

After we spent a couple hours exploring Salvation Mountain and Slab City, We stopped and checked out the Salton Sea for a bit and then drove through Joshua Tree National Park which was actually so cool and picturesque  ( old red paved highway and all ) 

From there we were back on the road to Utah. We broke up our drive back by spending the night in Las Vegas, which made our drive home go by pretty quick. ( It also helps to have Will; handy man, podcast chooser - DJ - comedian - extraordinaire.) 

IF you are considering visiting Slab City ( which you should ) and IF you end up deciding to really immerse yourself in the culture; may I suggest THIS airbnb listing for the full experience? 


  1. Wow, definitely adding Salvation Mountain to my US bucket list now! I had heard of it before but did not realize how big it was until this post... thanks for sharing! :)

  2. You are my third friend who has visited slab city in the last few months! I guess I have to got here now :)