What makes a pool one of the best in the world? One could argue that it’s the size, or the décor, or the view, or the people that hang out there. But the main purpose of a pool is to get in the water. So the best pools would be those with the best water. Based on those criteria a case can be made for the pool at Death Valley’s Furnace Creek Ranch as one on the best in the world.
Furnace Creek Ranch sits in an oasis in the middle of Death Valley National Park. The Ranch is 200 feet below sea level. It gets very hot there. Daytime summer temperatures hover around 120 degrees. However, in the spring and fall the temps moderate to a comfortable 90 – 100 degrees. During this time a year the pool is a great place to be. Most pools, especially those used by the public, are heavily chlorinated. To get away from that “pool smell” you’d need to swim in fresh water like a lake or pond. That could also mean dealing with weeds and fish and sand. There’s also the ocean, with its salt and sharks. The Furnace Creek Ranch pool is fed by a warm natural spring. Daily the pure 85 degree water flows into the pool. The hot desert sun warms the water to a bath-like temperature. Air, water and body temperature are all about the same. This makes for a very pleasant pool going experience.
In addition, the view is incredible. Furnace Creek Ranch is surrounded by the Funeral Mountains to the west and the Panamint Mountains to the east. Because of the relatively abundant water there are palm trees, mesquite trees and even some grass. The park service has recently done some renovations to the pool area, so there is now more seating and more of a club atmosphere on the pool deck. Next to the pool are areas for shuffleboard, bocce and volleyball. All excellent pastimes if you can drag yourself out of the wonderful pool.
A quick side note. After the water circulates out of the pool it is used to water the golf course. Furnace Creek Ranch boasts the lowest golf course in the world, at 200 feet below sea level.