Badwater Springs (Saline Valley)

Badwater Spring is an odd yet interesting place along the eastern flank of the Inyo Mountains. The spring begins in lower Pat Keyes Canyon, trickling its way down a well indented wash and into the valley before eventually petering out. The water that the spring produces is murky, salty, and acidic. It is safe to assume that the water is not safe for human consumption, however it is perfectly drinkable by other animals.

Just east of the spring there are ruins of a small encampment which include a busted up corral, and the ruins of a shelter. An old fridge, backseat of a vehicle, and a stove made out of an old barrel are strung around the outside of the shelter.  Everything is being devoured by salt, from the dirt on the ground to the old busted up structural remains.

 

 

A shelter, which has been engulfed in mud and muck.

A shelter, which has been engulfed in mud and muck.

 

The spring appears to be heavily visited by the feral burros which roam the valley. Everywhere one looks there are hoof prints, dung, and even a large collection of bones.

Unfortunately the historical human activity at Badwater Springs has not been documented, making it one of the many mysteries of the Death Valley region.

For those wishing to visit, there is an unmarked road just north of the turnoff from Saline Valley Road to the Warm Springs. The road is rarely traveled, and at times completely disappears. Travel with caution.

 

Burro bones are plentiful at Badwater Springs.

Burro bones are plentiful at Badwater Springs.

 

A look at the spring in Pat Keyes Canyon.

A look at the spring in Pat Keyes Canyon.

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

  • Tim Main

    Love Saline Valley. Thanks another place to visit.