We began our visit by stopping at Dante’s View, a mountaintop overlook that offers a view of much of the valley below. At 5,475 feet, it was windy and cool enough that we needed jackets to be comfortable. The viewpoint is located right above Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the park – and in the western hemisphere – at 282 feet below sea level. Across the valley from Badwater Basin is Telescope Peak, 11,049 feet. Dante’s View offers a 360-degree panorama of the park.
|A Look at Badwater Basin|
|Panorama of Badwater Basin|
As we drove down from Dante's Peak, I took a few pictures of the scenery. We never expected the desert to be this colorful.
From there, we drove down to Badwater Basin where three buses of tourists were wandering out the walkway to the actual low point in the basin. We decided not to take the time to make the quarter-mile trek and instead satisfied ourselves with pictures of the area. On the cliff that overlooks the basin, there is a sign marking Sea Level and it’s surprising how far up the cliff the marker is.
|Us at Badwater Basin|
|Just how hot can it get!|
There is a Sea Level sign on the mountainside but they made it so small that it is really hard to find. It is really up there too - about 2/3rd of the way up the mountain! The above picture was really zoomed in.
That's a bus in the parking lot at the bottom of the above picture. The Sea Level Sign is above it - way above it. Look at the upper portion of the picture. It is two-thirds of the way up and a little above a dark spot on the left side of the picture. They could have made this a bit easier!
After Badwater Basin we retraced our steps toward the highway but drove the Artist’s Loop on the way. This is a nine-mile one-way loop through some very colorful volcanic and sedimentary hills. The side trip to Artist’s Palette was particularly colorful and photogenic. Because of the twists and turns and two deep dips in the narrow road, it took nearly three-quarters of an hour to drive the nine miles.
Right after we turned onto the Artist Loop Road, we met this guy. We think he wanted to cross the street but he had too many vehicles starring at him and he was still standing there waiting to cross when we went on up the road.
Next we went to Furnace Creek Visitor Center where we viewed exhibits and videos documenting the park. As usual, we also stamped our National Parks Passport to document our visit. Then it was off to lunch at a cafe at Furnace Creek Resort, just a block or two from the Visitor Center.
|Furnace Creek Visitor Center|
|We picked a great day to visit. It is a cool day for this area.|
After all it is a dry heat!
|Inside the Visitor Center|
We watched a video in the Visitor Center about their endangered species which is called a pup-fish. They go to a lot of trouble to keep these guys alive and I think they have about 100 of them now.
There are a lot of buildings around the Visitor Center. It is kind of a little oasis in the desert.
|The Post Office|
|Inside the Cafe Where We had some Hamburgers|