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March 28, 2011

National Parks: Death Valley, Badwater Basin and Natural Bridge

Filed under: National Parks, Southwest United States, The List, Travel, United States — anotherheader @ 4:11 pm

Devil's Golf Course, Death Valley

About 18 miles south of Furnace Creek is the lowest elevation in the United States, Badwater Basin.  Death Valley’s infrequent rain runoff is collected in this endorheic basin.  Usually the rainwater does not stay long.  And when the water evaporates a thick salt flat remains.

From roadside parking area, when the area is dry, visitors can walk out onto the salt flat.  Near noon on a clear day, the light reflected off the white salt is intense and hot.  In late winter, it was warm.  At the peak of summer it must be unbearable.  It is hard to imagine a more inhospitable place.

A short distance away from Badwater Basin is another easily accessible slot canyon, Natural Bridge.  The canyon and its bridge are accessible with a short hike from the parking lot at the top of the usual alluvial fan.

Of course Natural Bridge’s rock span is the prime attraction.  The Natural Bridge is a large, solid hunk of rock that crosses the dry streambed soon after the canyon narrows.  It’s certainly impressive.  But there’s more than the bridge to see on this hike.

Near the bridge, slightly further up the wash, is an interesting dry fall.  It’s one of many dry falls in the canyon.  This perfectly shaped dry fall sits in it’s own alcove off to the side of the main gorge.  The water channel is a textbook half-tube, twenty feet or so high.  Straight and symmetrical, it seems impossible that this gutter’s shape is natural.  It is another of Death Valley’s surprises and worth the hike on its own.

The entrance to Natural Bridge Gorge

A natural bridge spanning the slot canyon

A perfectly shaped dry fall in an alcove

Looking up the dry falls' shaft

More from Badwater

1 Comment »

  1. 关注你

    Comment by 李大喜 — March 29, 2011 @ 9:59 am

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