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Badwater Basin - Death Valley National Park

Summary: Interesting natural features found in the lowest place in North America.
Directions: Badwater Basin is located on Badwater Road south of Furnace Creek. Mushroom Rock is located between Golden Canyon and the exit for Artists Drive. The Devils Golf Course is further south on a signed road on the west side of Badwater Road. The salt flats are further south still at a prominent pull off with interpretive signs on the west side of Badwater Rd.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy
Length: As long as you'd like
Date Hiked: November 2004
Weather Conditions: Sunny and pleasant
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: Not really much of a hike to relate here, but some interesting natural features can be found by wandering around in Badwater Basin including:
1) Pull off the road at Mushroom Rock for a photo of this oddly shaped basalt ventifact (eroded by wind blown sand).
2) Wander out into the Devil's Golf Course and look for interesting salt crystal structures (chimneys and arches) formed by the evaporation of salt laden water when Lake Manly dried up 2000 years ago. Walk carefully, both to avoid falling on the sharp salt formations, and to avoid crushing delicate structures.
3) Walk out along the salt flats of Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level). Look for more, and different, salt structures.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife spent several hours wandering around and taking photos in this interesting area.
Maps: Trails Illustrated - Death Valley National Park
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

The Devil's Golf Course. Salt chimney.
Badwater Basin. Another view on the salt flats.
Crystal salt needles. Mushroom Rock