From its headwaters north of Beatty, NV, the Amargosa River
flows underground in a southerly direction. Near the Dumont Dunes, it makes a big u-turn and heads north into Death Valley National Park, finally terminating in Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States. The river surfaces in a few places, around Beatty and in the Amargosa Canyon south of Tecopa, CA. At times after large rainstorms, the entire course of the river will flow above ground.
The Amargosa River and Basin provide unique desert habitats. The greater ecological setting for the river is the Mojave Desert. In one of the hottest and driest places anywhere, the river and nearby springs provide islands of water that support a variety of plants and animals. Often these animals are unique to the area – or endemic – meaning they can’t be found anywhere else on earth.