Salt flats in Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California
© Jim Patterson/Tandem Stills + Motio
This park is worth its salt. Death Valley National Park, California
Stretching for miles below the desert sun, the salt flats of Badwater Basin shine in Death Valley National Park, California. This sweltering spot is the lowest point of elevation in North America, 282 feet below sea level. In this otherworldly landscape, the hardened mineral surface glistens like a mirror as the scorching heat dances upon it, creating rippling waves in the air. Composed of sodium chloride, borax, and other minerals, the flats' brittle crust conceals a treacherous mud layer beneath. For those who venture beyond the flats and up a mountainside, Dante's View reveals a panoramic view of Badwater Basin from a height of nearly 5,500 feet. With its surreal landscapes, Death Valley National Park serves up unique beauty in the harshest of conditions.