Darwin Falls Wilderness doesn’t contain its namesake waterfall, which is now in Death Valley National Park immediately adjacent to the wilderness. It does, however, contain the headwaters and drainage area for the falls. The terrain of this compact 3-mile-wide by 5-mile-long wildland consists of rolling volcanic upland known locally as the Darwin Plateau. The plateau is covered with Joshua tree. The highest elevations exceed 5,000 feet, so the area may be snow-covered in winter, but relatively cooler in summer than surrounding desert areas. The best time to hike here is in the spring, when wildflowers may be in bloom. The town of Darwin and the wilderness area are both named for Darwin French, who explored the area in the 1860s. Silver and lead deposits led to the establishment of the town in 1875, and Darwin became the center for the New Coso Mining District. Today Darwin is a quasi-ghost town with only a few year-round residents.
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