Darwin Falls

Stovepipe Wells, California 92371

Darwin Falls

Darwin Falls Professional Review and Guide

"This short hike follows one of only four perennial streams in Death Valley National Park, leading through areas of riparian vegetation en route to a spectacular and rare desert waterfall. Darwin Falls is perhaps the most uncharacteristic locale in Death Valley National Park, its setting beyond the scope of most people’s perceptions of the quintessential desert landscape. Darwin Creek is one of the four perennial streams in the park’s more than three-million-acre expanse of desert valleys and mountains. Darwin Wash drains the westernmost reaches of the park, flowing from the volcanic tableland of Darwin Bench between the Inyo Mountains to the north and the Argus Range to the south. With its ribbon of riparian greenery and echoes of cascading water in a land that sees little rain, a walk through the shadowed hallway of Darwin Wash may be the most unique short day hike in the park."

More Darwin Falls Professional Reviews and Guides

"Highlights of Darwin Falls include bird-watching along a
year-round desert stream, with a forked waterfall in a densely
vegetated canyon gorge. The delightful moist microclimate
of the falls is tucked away in a secluded canyon. Darwin Falls is nestled at the western edge of the expansion area of Death Valley National Park, adjacent to the 8,600-acre Darwin Falls Wilderness Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management immediately west of the park.

Darwin Stream is the only permanent water in this west-central region of the park. Flowing from the China Garden Spring, Darwin supplies the Panamint Springs Resort with water via a pipeline visible on both the drive and the hike to the falls. This year-round water source sustains dense willow and cottonwood thickets in the valley and canyon, as well as a thriving bird population. Swifts and red-tailed hawks soar
overhead, and are among the more than eighty bird species that have been seen here."

"This is a short hike to a delightful moist microclimate with multitiered waterfalls tucked away in a scenic canyon. Darwin Stream is the only permanent water in this area of the park.

Flowing from the China Garden Spring, Darwin supplies the town of Panamint Springs with water via a pipeline, which is visible on both the drive and the hike to the falls. This year-round water source sustains dense willow and cottonwood thickets in the valley and canyon as well as a thriving population of birds. Swifts and red-tailed hawks soar overhead."

"This hike is a radical change from the usual Death Valley outing. Right from the parking area, a streak of greenery and a glistening brook lead up the gently sloping valley floor.Hopping from one side of the stream to the other begins here, and will continue throughout the hike. Steady footwork will prevent getting soaked, but care is especially required on the smooth slippery boulders farther up the canyon. The Darwin Mountains of black rhyolite tower above the bright green grass, the willow saplings, the horsetails and cattails."

Darwin Falls Reviews

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3/16/2010
Well worth doing. Upper Darwin Falls, in particular, are incredibly scenic. However, it requires some scrambling to get past the lower falls, below which you can't even catch a glimpse of what's above...
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10/9/2005
A very different type of activity to do while in Death Valley. We never expected to see so much water while in the desert. A very fun hike up the creek. I especially liked climbing up and over things and going through the water. The falls and swimming hole are a beautiful sight at the end of the trail. If only the water had been warmer! If you have 4x4, make sure to continue up the road over the mts. and into Darwin Wash...there are a few cool remains of what used to be a mining town.
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3/20/2005
Great for a quick hike. A lot of geologic features as well. Cool, shady areas for most of hike except for the beginning potion along (at the time) a dry stream bed. Falls themselves are very impressive, especially in the type of environment they lie in.
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Trail Information

Stovepipe Wells
Nearby City
2
Distance
280 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
1 hour
Duration
Best October through May
Season
2,490 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,770 feet
Top Elevation
Death Valley National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Darwin
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018