Salvation Mountain, Bombay Beach and the Salton Sea

Inside Salvation Mountain

I’ve been wanting to go to Salvation Mountain since I first visited Palm Springs but never had time or a vehicle to get out there. This year, since I was in Palm Springs with Marc a few days ahead of YxYY, we made the time and headed about 1.5 hours east of Palm Springs past the Salton Sea and Bombay Beach.


Our first stop was Bombay Beach. A beautiful beach that is situated beside what seems like a ghost town with a population of less than 300 people. We’d be told by multiple parties to check out the Ski Inn for cheap beer and patty melts. As we were also hungry (with not much else around out this way) we pulled in and had a surprisingly good cheeseburger and a pint. The place is dripping with character.


Then, we headed down the street to the beach. Or what was left of it.



That debris on the bottom of the photo is dead fish

That debris on the bottom of the photo is dead fish

Continuing on my inadvertent following of Bourdain around the planet, I found out he visited the Ski Inn a few years earlier and it hasn’t changed much since then. His clip also does a better job than I could of explaining how the Salton Sea came into being and what has happened to it over the years, and why you won’t need your bathing suit for this beach.

About half an hour further down the road is Salvation Mountain. You can see it from miles away. It’s literally the side of a mountain that has been painted.


There was so much to take in as it’s a rabbit warren of little alcoves and what I can best describe as caves of worship throughout the property. Make sure you click/tap into the 360 images to really get a sense of the scale and work that has gone into this place.



Inside Salvation Mountain


Just outside Salvation Island is a sign post for Slab City. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize it was a place to visit rather than what appeared to just be an abandoned structure covered in graffiti – it actually points the way to a place I’ll have to explore another time.


All these places are very unique and special. It was totally worth the side trip in the hot desert heat (peaking at 122F!) to see these for myself. Definitely plan to spend at least half a day and bring lots of water and food if you’re going to head out to explore these places since aside from the Ski Inn, there isn’t much along the way – even gas stations.

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