98°F
weather icon Clear

Badwater famous for being lowest spot in US

Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level, is famously the lowest point in the United States and therefore one of the main attractions in Death Valley National Park. The desert area in eastern California draws visitors from around the world.

The park is about a three-hour drive from Boulder City and can be visited in a day.

From the parking area at Badwater Basin, head out on the wood boardwalk and then down onto the salt pan itself. The path, leveled by visitors’ footsteps, is flat and looks like packed-down snow.

In this area you can take off your shoes and walk barefoot, experiencing what it would be like to walk on snow, if snow were warm. Most people walk just a couple of hundred feet out from the parking area and return, but if you travel about a quarter mile or so you will encounter the more rugged terrain of polygonal salt formations. These are hard to walk on but a wonderful natural curiosity.

Looking west from the salt pan, you will see the Panamint Mountain Range and the park’s highest point, Telescope Peak, at 11,049 feet. It’s usually covered with snow this time of year. This is one of the few places you will literally see such a disparity in elevation.

Another view you won’t want to miss while in the parking lot is the sign that marks sea level. Turn around and look high up on the cliff across the road. It’s pretty surreal.

As you drive north back to the Furnace Creek area of the park, be sure to take the right-hand turn for the 9-mile, one-way Artists Palette Drive. Multicolored formations in these badlands are spread before the visitor like a feast for the eyes.

Since you will be visiting the desert, where temperatures range from the mid to low 70s this time of year, be sure to bring sunglasses, a hat and drinking water. Services are limited in the park.

Many of Deborah Wall’s columns have been compiled into books about hiking in the Southwest. She is also the author of “Great Hikes, a Cerca Country Guide” and a co-author of the book “Access For All, Seeing the Southwest With Limited Mobility.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

THE LATEST
Rogers named 3A Southern player of the year

Helping Boulder City High School softball reach the 3A state tournament, sophomore phenom Payton Rogers was named 3A Southern player of the year.

Eight earn postseason nods in baseball

Helping Boulder City High School baseball reach the postseason, eight Eagles earned postseason accolades for their efforts.

Softball star signs to play in California

Following a successful prep career with the Eagles, Boulder City High School softball star Talynn Madrid has committed to play college softball at Feather River College.

Sorenson named league player of year

Helping lead Boulder City High School to their fourth consecutive state championship, senior Brady Sorenson was named 3A Mountain League player of the year.

McClaren named state’s top swimmer

Continuing Boulder City’s rich swimming tradition, star senior Phoebe McClaren was named 3A swimmer of the year.

Lady Eagles softball squad takes second in state tourney

Finishing as 3A state champion runner-up, Boulder City High School softball fell to Northern challenger Fernley 9-2 in the title game on May 17.

BCHS’ Jenas-Keogh top sprinter in state

Continuing her dominance for Boulder City High School girls track, sophomore Sancha Jenas-Keogh finished her season as a two-time state champion.

BCHS boys swim team captures state title

Repeating as 3A state champions, Boulder City High School boys swimming team will share the title after they tied with Northern challenger Truckee at Pavilion Pool on May 18.

Eagles soar to four-peat in volleyball

Continuing their dynasty, Boulder City High School boys volleyball won their fourth consecutive 3A state championship Tuesday, defeating rival Virgin Valley 3-0 on May 14 at Sunrise Mountain High School.

BCHS swims its way to regional titles

Taking the competition by storm, both Boulder City High School swim programs won regional championships on May 11 at Pavilion Pool.