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Exploring the Lowest Point in North America, the Badwater Basin Salt Flats in Death Valley National Park California

Badwater Basin Salt Flats in Furnice Creek road is about 140 miles from Las Vegas. But since our journey did not start from Las Vegas, we had a shorter drive. We only drove about 76 miles from Pahrump, Nevada to Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park California. Badwater Basin was our third stop on this adventure. We've explored Zabriskie Point and Devils Golf Course before coming here. 

It was a great time for us to come and visit this place (January)  the sunshine warms the cool breeze made it so easy to walk and explore the area. We enjoyed our time  there, exploring the area, walking on the salt flats, seeing salt crystal in the water,  and being in the lowest point in North America is amazing. The Sea Level sign on the mountain side was nice.   Please watch our video below...way down below to learn more about Badwater Basin and see our little exploration. 

 
Badwater Basin
282 feet/85.5 meters below sea level
The lowest point in North America

About 1 mile walk to the edge of Salt Flats



Alan and I standing on Salt Flats


Salt Crystals of the Badwater

Joel's posing for me on this spectacular landscape of Salt Flats in Badwater Basin

Boardwalk to Salt Flats in Badwater Basin in  Death Valley National Park



View of the mountain with Sea Level sign and the parking lot below

see the Sea Level sign on the side of the hill?

Badwater Basin - not poisonous just salty 


Map from Pahrump, Nevada
A. Death Valley National Park sign
B. Zabriskie Point
C. Devils Golf Course
D. Bad Water Basin/Salt Flats - about 76 mile drive from Pahrump
 

Death Valley National Park sign says:

Good Life in Badwater
Water is rare and precious in Death Valley. Imagine the disappointment when a surveyor mapping this area could not get his mule to drink from this pool. He wrote on his map that the spring had "bad water" and the name stuck.
Badwater pool is not poisonous just salty, as the presence of pickleweed, aquatic insects, and larvae proves. It is also home to one of Death Valley's rarest animals - the Badwater Snail. These tiny mollusks exist only in a few springs at the edge of Death Valley salt flats. To protect these creatures, please view the pool only from the boardwalk.

Ancient Aquifer
Ancient water fills this pool year-round. Much of it began as Ice Age snow and rain hundreds of miles away in the mountains of central Nevada. The runoff seeped into porous limestone bedrock and began a long underground flow through a regional aquifer. It emerges here at Badwater along the faultline at the mountain's base. Salts dissolve from old deposits and flow to the surface, making the spring water "bad"

The area around the Badwater Pool has seen better days, as shown by this photo from the 1930s. Curious visitors have trampled the salt crust and thrown debris in the water. By viewing the pool only from the boardwalk, you can protect its inhabitants and help this area recover.




Death Valley National Park sign says: 
Crystal Power
The vast, surreal salt flats of Badwater Basin change constantly. Salt crystals expand, pushing the crust of salt into rough, chaotic forms. Newly formed crystals ooze between mudcracks, sketching strange patterns on the surface of the salt flat. Passing rainstorms wash off windblown dust and generate a fresh layer of blinding white salt. Floods create temporary lakes that dissolve salts back into solution, starting the process all over again

Intense Concentration
The source of Badwater’s salts is Death Valley’s drainage system of 9,000 square miles—an area larger than New Hampshire. Rain falling on distant peaks creates floods that rush ever lower. Along the way, minerals dissolve from rocks and join the flood. Here, at the lowest elevation, floods come to rest, forming temporary lakes. As the water evaporates, minerals concentrate until only the salts remain. After thousands of years, enough salts have washed in to produce layer upon layer of salt crust.

Salt crusts are fragile. Please tread lightly.
Sodium Chloride—better known as table salt—makes up the majority of salts on Badwater Basin. Other evaporative minerals found here include calcite, gypsum, and borax.

Badwater Basin has nice parking lot and a good restrooms

It's a Dry Heat

Badwater Basin Death Valley California -282ft/-85.5 m Lowest point in North America
Dead Sea Jordan/ Israel -1360ft/-414 m Lowest point on Earth



Watch our video to learn more about Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park California

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