Summary: This is the quintessential Death Valley experience. Badwater is the place I always envisioned before traveling to Death Valley, -282 feet below sea level, hotter than a furnace. I remember thinking "Why would anyone ever go there?"
Well, put those thoughts out of your head, and get to Death Valley in the late fall, winter, or early spring. It is amazing - I fell in love with the place.
Your hike/walk starts at the parking area - avoid walking near the "bad" water, an endangered microscopic snail depends on you reading the signs for its survival.
Walk among the weird salt formations until you decide to turn around. Look at Telescope Peak, the Panamints and the Funeral Mountains.
Do not make this trip during summer, unless you want to die.
Trailhead: From the Visitor Center at Furnace Creek, take the 190 South for several miles until you reach the junction with the 178. There you will make a right turn and continue South for about 16 miles until you reach the Badwater parking Area.
Do yourself a favor and stop at Devil's Golf Course along the way - wow!
There is no trail into the salt flats of Badwater, so just start walking Westward toward Telescope Peak. Spend as much time as you want admiring the vastness of it all. The elevation here is -280 feet below sea level. Telescope Peak, almost directly West sits above 11,000, this is one of the greatest changes in elevation in the US. (Lat:36.23269 Lon:-116.77833)
Trail Guides for Death Valley - Badwater:
Best Easy Day Hikes - Death Valley
by Bill Cunnigham and Polly Burke (Falcon)
Best Seasons: Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Death Valley National Park (760)786-2331
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by David Briggs on 12/28/2006
We visited this area in February 2005 and all we did is walk out on the boardwalk and took some photos. You could not see much of the salt flat area as it was all under water. It looked like a giant lake. We did see some people in kayak's out their. This was the year to visit as with all the rains they had. I would like to revisit when their is no water. Best time to go would be Fall,Winter or spring.
Reviewed by Mr.Rodney Jones on 5/9/2006
its not really a hike, basically walk. I saw some people tasting the salt on the ground. yup. it's salt. but it also has borax and other chemicals. you wouldn't taste Tide Laundry detergent, would you? the cool factor here is that you can make the joke that you are at the 'lowest point in your life' great mining history and geology science stuff to learn. This hike is for your brain and eyes, rather than muscles. must see it at least once in your life. too far from civilization, too many miles to see it twice.
Reviewed by Mikey D on 4/14/2004
HEy, Just returned from my 2nd visit to Badwater (1st to Death Valley Proper). Family & I spent 5 dyas in the valley. If you haven't ever seen the place, do so ASAP! Stark environment, but beautiful. If U love rocks & geologic time, U have to see this valley. Great canyon hikes too. Golden & Natural Bridge (both very near Badwater & Devil's Golf Course). My favorite was Mosiac that is near Stove Top Wells.
Reviewed by Kat Green on 2/27/2004
The Nat'l Park Service has upgraded the Badwater Basin site (trailhead) -- there is now a boardwalk to protect the fragile areas, a ramp leading to the beginning of the hike, more parking, handicapped accessible ramps. Great informational kiosks helps visitors learn about this area.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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