Death Valley
Badwater - Start your explorations at 282 feet below sea level. At Badwater, there are miles and miles of salt pan in every direction. Close to the road is a small, shallow pool of water. This is "bad water," salty water so named because an early prospector's horse wouldn't drink the stuff. Take a long walk out on the salt pan for a unique sensation of salt squeaking under foot. Look up at the cliffs (to the east) to spot the big white dot that marks sea level.
Note: Badwater is very hot in summer (temperatures average over 110 degrees), one of the hottest places on earth.
Devil's Golf Course - Down the road from Badwater, take a detour to the Devil's Golf Course. It's a large area of crusty salt formations, a complete miniature fantasy world of tiny crystalline pinnacles. Spend some time just peering at the amazing encrustations, like something from an alien planet. If you walk out over the Devil's Golf Course, be sure to wear closed shoes (those salt crystals are sharp).
Natural Bridge - Take a short uphill hike, about half a mile, to the Natural Bridge. The bridge is pretty impressive, 30 feet high and 30 feet thick. Under the bridge, there's plenty of gravel for play and sandstone nooks and crannies to hide in. If you continue up the narrow canyon a little bit, it's a wonderful place to shout out to hear the echoes.
Artist's Drive - Go on a scenic drive through brightly colored volcanic and sedimentary rocks, stopping to get out at the Artist's Palette overlook. From the overlook is a panorama that could be an artist's paint box, but to us looked more like an ice cream stand with mounds of pistachio green, strawberry pink, creamy white, caramel fudge rocks.
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