This spring fed waterfall miraculously flows year round in this hot and dry desert. You will be surprised at the tropical setting of this area of Death Valley National Park that is buzzing with life. There are birds chirping, dragonflies buzzing and the greenest grass! It will leave you wondering whether you are still in the desert.
Distance: 2 miles (return)
Time: 1.5 hrs
Elevation: 20 feet
Best Times To Visit: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Hiking Darwin Falls
The Darwin Falls trail is fairly easy and short. You will be pleased to know that some of the hike is in the shade. Yes, we couldn't believe there were actually tree’s out in Death Valley either!
You will begin the trail hiking through a gravelly wash area which eventually leads to a narrower section of the trail that passes through a lush oasis of cottonwood and willow tree's. After this shady flat stretch, the trail begins to involve creek crossings and scrambling up a few slippery rocks!
Eventually you will reach the base of Darwin Falls where you can take a dip in the cold refreshing pool. It's a nice ending to a hot desert hike. Although I did not take a dip, Jamie did and he let me know the water was REALLY cold!
At the base of Darwin Falls is a nice area to take a rest and cool off. Maybe even have a picnic but beware there really isn't a lot of space around the pool so if you want to spend longer relaxing at the base of the falls get there early and beat the other hikers.
Getting to Darwin Falls
Darwin Falls is in the Panamint Springs area of Death Valley National Park. To get to the trail head from Stovepipe Wells, you will need to head west on highway CA190 for about thirty miles and then take a left at Old Toll road. The road out to the Darwin Falls trail parking lot is 2.5 miles and unpaved. It is very rough going and we did consider turning around a few times. We didn't think our van Kev would make it but we got there in the end.