Take a Walk on Badwater Basin's Salt Flats

Badwater Basin, Inyo County, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups

Elevation of 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point in North America. The large expanses of flatness allow for some unique photo opportunities. One of the largest protected salt flats in the world. Duration: 30 minutes - 1 hour.

Taking a walk on the salt flats at Badwater Basin is like no other experience in Death Valley National Park. These flats cover nearly 200 square miles across the park, which makes them one of the world’s largest protected salt flats. With an elevation of 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is known to be the lowest point in North America.

Just a short walk from the parking lot, you’ll start off by walking on the mouth of the basin’s salt flats. After walking out for a ways the salt flats extend out in all directions allowing you to explore the unique and peculiar landscape. The salt flats create illusions with perspective that allows for some creative photography. As you walk past this area, you’ll see the crust of hexagonal salt shapes, which are unique in itself. The salt flats form due to the vast amount of salts being deposited in the enclosed basin that doesn’t allow for any drainage to the sea and the dry arid climate helps along this process.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Sun protection
  • Water
  • Comfortable shoes
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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Was here on Christmas Day last year, and the temps were perfect! I definitely suggest going in the winter to avoid the heat. Such an other-worldly experience!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Very cool -- easy walk out to the flats. You have to get creative with the pictures and try to utilize the salt formations so it doesn't just look like regular sand or snow!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This place isn't lying when they say it's the hottest place in the US, don't let that discourage you though, it's worth pushing on through the heat to explore.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

You can walk however far you want and there is ample parking space. My recommendation is to walk out further than the rest of the many people here. This way you can truly take in the expanse of salt flats and the elevation.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

You cannot go to Death Valley without checking out Badwater Basin! This place looks so unreal. But be sure to check this out in the early morning since temps are really high in this place.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

If you're lucky and there's water, you can walk for miles in an ankle-deep lake full of stars. There will definitely be a lot of people during the day but almost no-one at night.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Pro- tip: Make a u-turn once you get to the parking lot and then start driving back down the road and park off to the side once you see the Speed Limit sign change back up to 40 mph. Then walk straight out into the basin and you'll find some incredible salt patterns. Be careful and respectful of the landscape, while you CAN walk anywhere in the park, try not to crush the salt formations. Enjoy!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Surreal and vast. Definitely worth checking out. There isn't a ton to do here but the sight alone is just weird and wonderful. Makes for some fun photos - especially if you bring some accent props. I'm convinced that all of Death Valley is quite awe-spiring. Best to go in the morning or early evening. I went at 10am in August and it was steamy.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

One of the more popular stops within Death Valley but a must-do! Feel the vastness of the valley floor here then head right up to Dante's Peak to get a panoramic view of down below.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Tiffany Nguyen Storyteller

Email: tiffpenguinphoto@gmail.com

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