Death Valley National Park – Badwater Basin

Death Valley National Park – Badwater Basin

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Badwater Basin is not all that special when it comes to low places.  Sure, it is the lowest place in North America at 282 feet below sea level.  But worldwide, not such a big deal.  Most of the other continents have North America beat on the list of lowest places.

In case you were wondering, the lowest place on earth is the Dead Sea bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.  At 1,132 feet below sea level, it is four times deeper than Badwater Basin.

Sea Level Marker Placement On Shear Rock Cliff
Sea Level Marker Placement On Shear Rock Cliff

Still, I’m impressed by Badwater Basin.  Much of the valley in Death Valley is below sea level and Badwater Basin is the baddest of them all.  The park placed a sea level marker on the cliff above Badwater Basin.  It is this cliff that provides an understandable sea level gauge so that us mere mortals can have some basis for comparison.

Sea Level Marker, Cliff, Parking Lot, Boardwalks and Basin
Sea Level Marker, Cliff, Parking Lot, Boardwalks and Basin

Creatures live in the brackish water.

Habitat
Habitat

A boardwalk allows hikers to pass over the ecologically fragile habitat area.

Boardwalk
Boardwalk

On the boardwalk there is an elevation marker for those family friendly photos.

Badwater Basin Elevation Sign
Badwater Basin Elevation Sign

This low point stretches out miles into the valley as a salt flat and people walk it.

Boardwalk Ends At A Salt Flat
Boardwalk Ends At A Salt Flat

The boardwalk acts as an on-ramp to the salt flat.

Hikers On Salt Flat Miles Away
Hikers On Salt Flat Miles Away

The salt flat goes quite a distance.

Badwater Basin is south of Furnace Creek on Badwater Road.  This road between Furnace Creek and Badwater Basin has decent shoulders and is generally wide enough for motorhomes.  It is smooth and doesn’t have tight turns.

Badwater Basin is hot and dry.  Carry potable water with you to avoid dehydration.  Wear a hat to keep the sun off your head.  Being on the salt is like being on snow.  The glare from the sun can be a problem with your eyes.  Wear sunglasses.

This is one of those must do things in Death Valley.  One can get a sense for the size of the valley and how dry it really is by visiting this location.

Hope to see you on the road ahead!

 

Add Your Comments, Questions and Observations

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.