How to get to Badwater Basin, the lowest point of North America?

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

Badwater Basin

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, a surreal landscape of vast salt flats, 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. High in the rocky cliffs above the road, a sign reads 'SEA LEVEL', giving a good indication of just how low the land is.

Is Badwater Basin in Death Valley NP challenging?

Located in the eastern central part of California, 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. 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. Cell phones may not work in many parts of the park. Do not depend on them. This site was once a lake, but as it’s dried up sediment and salt have accumulated here over time because the lake has no outlet. A sign near the parking lot says that the area was named Badwater because a traveler was coming through and saw that there was water for his mule to drink. However, because the water is so full of salt, the animal refused to drink it, and thus the name Badwater was born.

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.