Badwater basin - Death Valley National Forest
Location : Badwater basin, Death Valley National Forest
Tree Cover : No treecover. Sunscreen recommended.
Parking : Parking near trailhead, click here.
Note : It is a good idea to carry water.
Note : Death valley gets pretty hot in summer so carry plenty of water with you.
There are restrooms at the trailhead / parking.
Badwater basin and Artist's palette are two must-see points in Death Valley that are next to each other. Take a detour from Badwater road onto Artist's drive. A 4-mile drive on the Artist's road takes you to Artist's palette area. It is about another 4 miles back to Badwater road. Once you are close to Badwater basin you will be able to vast expanse of barren land that is white in color because of the enormous amounts of salts. Click here to open the parking location in map.
Badwater basin is 282 feet / 85.5 meters below sea level. It is the lowest point in North America, so I definitely recommend visiting it. Every year fresh rainfall causes the salts to dissolve and redeposit somewhere else as fresh crystals when the water evaporates. So when this happens the lowest point also moves with it every year. Don't let the solid salt let you fool you into thinking it is safe to walk on it. As you go farther from the trailhead the salt only forms a very thin layer on the mud, so exercise caution while walking on the salt.
At one point in history there was a lake called Manly at this place. This being the lowest point it is not surprising that its source was the water from the surrounding mountains. As there wasn't a way for the water to flow out, but to only evaporate the salinity increased over time.
Fun fact : The salts that you see there are mostly NaCl - table salt / common salt.
Hope you plan your visit to Death valley soon and see for yourself how amazing it is in its own way.