Death Valley National Park is famous for containing the lowest point in all of North America, and that point is found within the Badwater Basin, which bottoms out at 282 feet below sea level. Here the salt-crusted earth cracks under the sweltering heat, which can reach upwards of 125 degrees F. In some spots within the basin, small pools of salt water just a couple inches deep stand on the desert floor, yet even here life persists. These pools are the habitat of the Death Valley pupfish, a small blue or mottled brown fish that evolved to live in the hot, salty water.
Badwater sits just south of Furnace Creek, about 20 minutes drive. A sign in the surrounding mountains marks sea level, and a boardwalk leads down into the basin, past the pools and salt flats.