Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, lies 282 feet below sea level. A spring-fed pool sits in the salt of the basin, reflecting the Black Mountain range to the east.
A walk from the spring into the salt flats challenges perspective. A small landmark looks not far away, until you’ve walked a half mile to get there.
Death Valley is also the driest location in the U.S. Less than 2 inches of rain fall in an average year, though the evaporation is so great, a 12 foot deep lake would evaporate in that year. The evaporation over eons has left a great salt pan across the valley. The salt forms great fractal patterns across the Basin.
At Dante’s View in the Black Mountains, you can look nearly a mile down into the Basin and across the Valley. On a very clear day Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous States at over 14,000 feet, is visible.
In the picture below, you can see Badwater Basin road. The spring in the first image, is blocked from view by the ridge. The second image was shot on the portion of the trail showing just above the ridge that is darkened by footsteps and was in the shadow of the Black Mountains when taken. The third image was taken in the bright salt flats where the trail ends. If you look very carefully, you might be able to see a few hikers there, a mile out from the spring.