The Best Way to Experience: Salton Sea

An unforgettable, classic Southern California road trip you won’t want to miss!

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Salton Sea

  • Salton Sea Beach and Salton City
  • PHOTO OP: Hunt for rotting structures painted with beautifully vulgar graffiti.

Salvation Mountain

  • PHOTO OP: Speaking of painted, don’t miss this [literally] painted mountain!

Slab City

  • East Jesus — Donate what you can to enter this abstract art gallery run by the residents of this shanty town.

First Stop, SALTON SEA BEACH

Salton Sea used to host a booming lake resort in the 50s. Families from all over SoCal would come and water ski, fish, and chill out on the sand. Now, only ground up skeletons of over-seasoned fish (ha!) grace the shores of Salton Sea Beach.

The few people who still dwell here mostly stay in Salton City. This place was my guilty pleasure growing up. My dad took me to the ruins of damaged RVs and abandoned homes for a photoshoot frenzy when I was a teenager. We went in the dead of summer, and didn’t realize that the concentrated salt of the giant lake would leave a stench so vile we only lasted an hour. But it was worth it, and just enough time, too.

Next Stop, SALVATION MOUNTAIN

Whether you’re a believer or just interested in the pushed limitations of art, Salvation Mountain is the place for you. Apart from being 100% Instragram spam-able, Salvation Mountain is a creation you’ve never seen before. Made from endless buckets of paint and donated supplies, Leonard Knight devoted his life to the creation of this magnificent tribute to the Bible.

Salvation Mountain is Leonard’s tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message: “God Is Love.” [It] must be seen to be fully appreciated as those who have made the journey will attest.

Last Stop, SLAB CITY

It’s a public space, and it’s been public land since the grid was laid out. The amount of control of what you can do there is limited. I think also the identity of the place is something that people find attractive. That “last free place,” we didn’t make that up, it’s a phrase that the occupants use and believe. One of the things we were interested in was how they’re testing freedom.

East Jesus, unlike Salvation Mountain (and despite its name), is not centered on religion so much as it focuses on art and donations to support the nomad living habits of nearby dwellers and artists.(420 Friendly)

Resources

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