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National park tips: This fake tower's view is real

Video: Down low in Death Valley

Rock bottom in Death Valley? That would be Badwater

A lot of Death Valley National Park is below sea level, but Badwater is in its own category. That spot – which is the focus of this short video – is the lowest point in North America, 282 feet below sea level.

You might expect it to be tucked away in a hard-to-reach corner of wilderness, but no, Badwater is a simple 17-mile drive (on paved road) south of Furnace Creek, where most of the park’s hotel rooms and tourist amenities can be found.

Up close, Badwater is a sprawling plain of crunchy salt flats. See the mountain wall of rock just east? Up top is Dante’s View, more than 5,000 feet above sea level and often very windy. Badwater is calmer. Try to visit at dawn or sunset, when the light is doubly dramatic.

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