Badwater Road

The road to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America

Badwater Basin is a salt pan at 86m (282ft) below the sea level, located in Inyo County, in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California. At this elevation it’s the lowest point in North America.

How long is the road to Badwater Basin in Death Valley NP?

Tucked away in Death Valley National Park, in California, the road to Badwater Basin is totally paved. It’s called Badwater Road (CA 178). Starting at Furnace Creek (on CA-190), the drive is 15.5 miles (24.94km) long. The road is steep in parts, hitting a 4% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

Is Badwater Basin in Death Valley NP challenging?

Due its unique location and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. You must be prepared and use common sense. At Badwater Basin, significant rainstorms flood the valley bottom periodically. Death Valley is one of the hottest places in the world, and climatic conditions in the park can be extreme. The world record highest air temperature of 134°F (57°C) was recorded here. Plan your visit in the park. Drink plenty of water. Avoid hiking in the heat. Travel prepared to survive. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink water or sports drinks. More people die in single-car accidents than by any other means. To avoid an accident, follow the speed limits, shift to a lower gear on steep downhill grades, and wear your seatbelt. Never place your hands or feet where you cannot see first. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, or black widow spiders may be sheltered there. With an air conditioned vehicle you can safely tour many of the main sites in Death Valley. Avoid canyons during rain storms and be prepared to move to higher ground. While driving, be alert for water running in washes and across road dips. Do not enter mine tunnels or shafts. Mines may be unstable, have hidden shafts, pockets of bad air and poisonous gas. Hikers, backpackers and four-wheelers need to be self reliant and well prepared. Always plan ahead, carry detailed maps and let someone know your plans. Backpackers should obtain a free backcountry permit from any visitor center. Dial 911 from any telephone or cell phone. Cell phones may not work in many parts of the park. Do not depend on them.

Is Badwater Basin in Death Valley NP worth it?

Plan around 30 minutes to complete the drive without any stop. It is a truly unique place to discover. A visit to the basin is an otherworldly experience. This area is very popular, so be sure to note that if you go on a busy weekend. Badwater Basin can be viewed from your vehicle in the parking area. The road passes Artist’s Drive, another worthy attraction with unique Death Valley geology.


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