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Badwater Basin

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About Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America at 282ft below sea level. This salty wonderland features dazzling geometric shapes and record temperatures in the Summer. Visitors can park at the Badwater Basin parking and walk out across the salt flats to the end of the boardwalk and out onto the salt itself which is a truly amazing experience.

As one of the park’s most popular destinations, Badwater Basin can be a bit crowded at times but don’t let that deter you from seeing this amazing place.

Badwater Basin Trail

badwater basin death valley national park
Badwater Basin | Death Valley National Park, California

Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
Time: 45mins – 1.5 hours

Most visitors just hike out a few steps beyond the short boardwalk but to truly get a sense of the scale of the salt flats one can do the entire 1.8mile path.

Sunset is an especially beautiful time to visit this area to watch the light turn colors and sweep across this vast landscape.

Badwater Basin Map & Location

Things to Know Before Visiting Badwater Basin

Entrance Fees: $30 per vehicle OR if you plan to visit more National Parks within the next 12 months we suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass. This pass gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.

Sunscreen: Use it. Lots of it. Especially this one which we never leave the house without because it plays nice with our dear friend, earth 🙂

Gas: Fuel up before you enter the park (even if you’re at like 3/4 of a tank) because the park is massive (we’re talking the largest in the contiguous 48 states). You do not want to run out of gas in the desert.

Cell Service is spotty in the park at best. There is no service at Lee Flat.

Death Valley Guide Book: This is the guide book we found most helpful for visiting the park & this one for day hikes.

The Best Map: We like this map best for Death Valley.

Water: Drink it. Lots of it. Don’t forget it in the car.

Four Wheel Drive: You do not need a 4WD vehicle to access Badwater Basin.

Best Time to Visit Badwater Basin

The best time to visit Badwater Basin is in the evening to watch the sun sweep across the valley floor and up the mountain side. It is incredible how much cooler and more manageable the temperature becomes once the sun sweeps away. There’s something especially magical about Badwater Basin at sunset.

Sunrise is a great time to see Badwater Basin as well. In the morning there are far less folks and the temperatures are much cooler which makes it a great time to visit.

Death Valley National Park Guide

best things to do death valley national park
Death Valley National Park Guide

Yep, we created a beautiful, comprehensive guide to Death Valley National Park. It’s totally free and just for you with beautiful photos, videos, and more.

Visiting Badwater Basin

Getting to Badwater Basin is relatively straight forward and does not require four wheel drive. Badwater Basin is located 43miles (45min driving) from the Death Valley Junction (or east) park entrance and 15 miles south of Furnace Creek (20mins driving).

badwater basin sunset death valley national park california
Sunset at Badwater Basin | Death Valley National Park California

To get to Badwater Basin from Death Valley Junction simply drive toward the park (west) on highway 190 for approximately 29 miles. Take a left to head south onto Badwater Road and drive for another 14 miles until you see a sign for Badwater Basin along with the parking area.

Once you arrive, parking can be somewhat limited so be on the lookout for a good spot.

NOTE: There is no shade or cover at Badwater Basin. Be sure to wear sunscreen (we recommend this eco-friendly one) and limit your time in the sun.

Nearby Locations

If you’re visiting the Badwater Basin we recommend you check out these nearby sites:

Death Valley Video Featuring Badwater Basin

If you’re visiting Death Valley ya just gotta take 3 minutes and watch the (award-winning) film we made based on our trips to the park.

WATCH: Our brief Death Valley video.


Synopsis: In the remote far reaches of the Mojave Desert lies the largest national park in the continental United States. Hidden here in the hottest place on earth is another world full of diverse life and colorful landscapes. Join us as we take life to the extreme and explore Death Valley. Filmed primarily in 8K.​

Badwater Basin Photos

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Will Pattiz

Co-founder of More Than Just Parks. Husband. Conservationist. Currently living in NYC.

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