The area was named Badwater because a traveler was coming through and saw that there was water for his mule to drink; however because the water is so full of salt the animal refused to drink it and thus the name Badwater was born. A little more history on the area is as follows. Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 ft below sea level. At Badwater, significant rainstorms flood the valley bottom periodically, covering the salt pan with a thin sheet of standing water. Each newly-formed lake does not last long though, because the 1.9 inches of average rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150-inch annual evaporation rate. This means that even a 12-foot-deep, 30-mile-long lake would dry up in a single year.