top of page
  • Writer's pictureadrianne

Badwater Basin

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

I gave you a hint the other day what Jamie & I were doing on our last full day in Vegas, and it involved a little road trip out to Death Valley National Park in California. A seemingly barren landscape that is actually teeming with life and is such a beautiful place to me.

There are a couple routes one can take to get from Las Vegas to the park--hey, it's a giant park--but I chose the route that would take us straight to our first stop, the Area 51 Alien Center. It's a gas station/store/cafe that some might call a tourist trap, but I love it & will stop every time. It's full of all things Area 51 and alien related, and I'm a sucker for both!

While we were there, we helped a Native American gentleman. He wanted to buy a tee shirt but his eyesight wouldn't allow him to see the small print tags to find his size. We talked for a few minutes and discovered we were all headed to Death Valley. While we were going to sightsee, he had been invited to pray over the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe there. He told me he doesn't refer to himself as a "medicine man" or a "shaman" but rather a spiritual guide. He left before we did, but when we pulled in to the visitor's center at the park an hour later, who do you think was the first person we saw? We greeted each other like old friends. A few minutes later, he came to me and said he had a message for me. He spoke of Father Lakota and Mother Earth and how everything in this world is connected and all need the four elements to survive. He told me that when he prays, he faces each of the four directions, beginning with the East where the sun rises. He then prayed for us in his native language, softly at first as he faced East but louder as he changed directions, almost yelling by the end. It was, for me, a very moving experience. When he finished, he wished us a blessed day and hopped in his car & left.

After a quick bite of lunch, we drove to Badwater Basin, which was what I specifically came to see. Quick fact: Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America, sitting at 282 feet below sea level. And it's beautiful! You can walk out on the salt flats, and walk we did! Our car is way in the distance right at the base of that mountain. We were out at least a mile.

It's not sand you see, or snow; it's mostly salt with some calcite, gypsum, and borax.

It goes on for miles and miles; the salt flats cover about 200 square miles.

So, what is it exactly? From the NPS site...

"The source of Badwater’s salts is Death Valley’s drainage system of 9,000 square miles—an area larger than New Hampshire. Rain falling on distant peaks creates floods that rush ever lower. Along the way, minerals dissolve from rocks and join the flood. Here, at the lowest elevation, floods come to rest, forming temporary lakes. As the water evaporates, minerals concentrate until only the salts remain. After thousands of years, enough salts have washed in to produce layer upon layer of salt crust. The vast, surreal salt flats of Badwater Basin change constantly. Salt crystals expand, pushing the crust of salt into rough, chaotic forms. Newly formed crystals ooze between mudcracks, sketching strange patterns on the surface of the salt flat. Passing rainstorms wash off windblown dust and generate a fresh layer of blinding white salt. Floods create temporary lakes that dissolve salts back into solution, starting the process all over again."

Once we left there, we raced to Dante's View, which overlooks Badwater Basin. There's no escalator up the mountain though, so it's close to an hour drive to circle around & up. But the view--oh my, the view, especially at sunset--is so worth the drive!

We barely scratched the surface, but two thumbs up for Death Valley and all it's beauty! It was, indeed, a blessed day!

29 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Nov 12, 2020

What beautiful photos and what great memories you have made!


Nov 12, 2020

That is a really cool trip!!!! Loved the glasses and mal picture, too The spiritual guide was super cool! What a special blessing. Thanks for all the education!


Nov 12, 2020

Cool experience with the Native American man too. He sounded like a good soul.


Nov 12, 2020

Awesome photos! I loved Death Valley. Next time your there.check out the sand Dunne’s that’s a cool experience too. Did you perhaps see the red door establishment next to/attached to the gas station at Area 51? Lol

bottom of page