Inyo County, California

Take a Walk on Badwater Basin's Salt Flats

Originally added by Tiffany Nguyen

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.

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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.

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!

Cool spot for photos

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.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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