Of the fifty-nine National Parks in the United States, Death Valley is the most infamous, and the least well known. Most people assume that Death Valley is an inhospitable wasteland, with nothing of interest to see or do. However, outdoorspeople, geologists, and adventurers know that Death Valley is a location with interesting geologic features, mining history, tall mountains, sand dunes, volcanic activity, historic structures, and much more. Even if it did not have all of these things and more, Death Valley is a notable location to visit because of Badwater Basin.
The Devil's Golf Course is an area of Death Valley that is close to Badwater. While it is not quite as far below sea level as Badwater, this is an area that is also below sea level. But like Badwater, it shares a common geologic past. Over twenty thousand years ago, the valley floor of Death Valley was not barren and desolate - but instead was covered with water - a large body of water known to geologists and historians as Lake Manly. Lake Manly was full of minerals from the surrounding terrain; and over the course of time, as it evaporated, it left those minerals - and sedimentary rocks behind. Today, what remains are salt crystals from the bottom of the lake - and borax crystal formations. These crystals have grown into an extensive – and hard network of structures. As you can see from the pictures above, the crystal formations have covered the area in a network of sharp formations that are between one to two feet high and are close together. As the area is difficult to traverse on foot, one can only imagine the difficulty one would have attempting to play any sort of golf game (hence the name). While the crystals are spectacular, where myth and fact meet are with the secret pools of water that remain interspersed among the formations.