Olancha Sculpture Garden - Atlas Obscura

If you’re ever driving the arid stretch of Highway 395 through the Owens Valley (in between the lower Sierra Nevada and Death Valley), then slow down around the town of Olancha because you might miss the Olancha Sculpture Garden—just look for the large metallic hitchhiker.

Made up of a dozen or so large, and often darkly humorous metal sculptures, the garden is the work of artist Jael Hoffmann. Jael is an Israel-born, Berlin-raised, artist of varying mediums, who landed permanently in California after meeting her future husband during a summer break trip. Starting with papier-mache and foam, and later jewelry, she eventually made the jump to metal work and welding after feeling the need to create more permanent human-sized work for her human-themed topics of existence, suffering, and compassion.

Set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada’s high desert, this sculpture garden inhabits a stark and barren landscape. The metal sculptures are the creation of artist Jael Hoffmann. Some are cute and some are unnerving, but most express some psychological struggle.

It is a quick and charming stop along one of the county’s most beautiful highways. When you stop, be sure to leave a small gift in one of the sculpture’s “Give” box and take a surprise for yourself in the “Take” box.

Know Before You Go

Located 1.5 miles south of Olancha, California, on U.S. Highway 395, this display is free and open to the public.

In partnership with KAYAK

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