Badwater Basin Salt Flats

Death Valley National Park, Stop No. 1

November 28, 2020

Location: 30 min south of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center

How to get here: vehicle, can walk out farther

Hike: 0.5 – 1 mile out and back

Elevation gain: none

Pets: Not allowed

Fee: DVNP entrance fee $35/vehicle good for 7 days or America the Beautiful Pass

Restrooms at Trailhead: Yes

Video: Instagram Reel Below

The salt flats at Badwater Basin are the lowest point in North America at – 282 feet (-86 m) below sea level. The parking lot is not massive, however parking is allowed along the side of the road. Please make sure your vehicle is completely off the road, including side mirrors. However you get to the park, the main access to salt flats, including restrooms, is located on Badwater Road.

After almost 7 hours of driving from Phoenix, we got to Badwater Basin Salt Flats at around 2:40pm Pacific Time. In late November, the sunset is around 4:30pm. With that in mind, we kept our time on the salt flats probably shorter than we wanted. However as the sun got lower, we had some nice soft lighting on the salt.

We walked about 0.4 miles out to get to the fascinating geometric salt polygons. It’s easy to continue out and really feel isolated and surrounded by salty geometry. During the pandemic, our main goal was to get as far away from others as possible and to continue exploring!

The polygons are raised about 4-6 inches off the ground, so watch your step! The salt almost feels like you are walking on crunchy snow. Getting out to the polygons is relatively easy; there is a clearly beat down path of salt leading out towards the basin. Standing out in the middle with towering mountains surrounding is quite surreal. It’s easy to ask how did all this salt get here and why?

After our visit here, we headed back towards Furnace Creek and check outed Artist Drive and the famous Artists Palette.

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