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.
“A Minute Away” is a video series in which nothing much happens -- except you see the world, and hear it, and get a respite from workaday life. We’ve covered Machu Picchu, Red Square, the Yucatan, the Alamo, an Alaska float plane and the reading room of the New York Public Library, among other place. We add a new minute just about every week. So if you’d prefer a full hour away, we've got more than enough here for you…