Lower Darwin Falls Trail is a 6.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Beautiful hike. Went in November and the temperature was perfect. Does involve crossing small creeks and climbing up wet/smooth rocks so have some traction footwear.
This hike is in the Panamint Springs area of Death Valley National Park. You access the trailhead off of a long, winding dirt road. The hike itself was easy. We went 3/5/16 and there were a few small creek crossings and some rock scrambling to get to the first falls which is beautiful.
An easy-going canyon trail. If you continue past the first waterfall, you will find a second, taller fall slightly further up the trail. From there, if you're feeling more adventurous, the southern canyon wall provides a fun, class 2 scramble (with class 3 options) up to the ridge where you can take in the view from 700 feet above the canyon floor.
This is a must see in my opinion. It's a short little trek off of a service road. It's truly an oasis in the middle of the desert.
The access road to the trailhead can be easy to miss. If heading west and you start winding up into the mountains turn around when safe to do so!! it's then a bumpy drive out on gravel but only a few miles, most driving in Death Valley requires a little offroading anyway.
The trail is short and easy. It starts off sunny and exposed but quickly you reach the stream fed by Darwin Falls and become immersed in foliage. Look out for dragonflies and if you're lucky, hummingbird moths!!! So cool! The trail gets a bit rocky towards the end but wears shoes with a little traction and you're fine. The fall isn't super big still a pleasant and surprising sight to see. Worthy stop as you enter/leave Death Valley.
An oasis in the desert, Darwin Falls will come as quite a surprise after driving a hundred miles through bone-dry desert to get here. The road in is passable to most passenger cars, but don't miss the signed pullout for the falls, because the road quickly becomes steep and rocky beyond here. The hike starts out along the gravel bed of the wash, with perhaps a trickle of water here and there to cross along the way.
After a few hundred yards, the canyon narrows, the vegetation becomes more lush, and you may hear some sign of what is to come. About 10 minutes later, you'll reach the first fall, and most people don't pass beyond this point. Fact is, there are reportedly eight more falls above here, just waiting for the adventurous (and athletic) wanderer to discover them. I've posted photos of the first five falls, which are all that are accessible without moderate or better rock climbing skills (or a good wetting in the creek!)
There's a large, flat-topped boulder between the third and fourth falls, with the creek babbling along on one side, waterfalls crashing above and below, and a deep pool of clear, cool water alongside. It takes some scrambling up talus slopes and creeping along a ledge to reach it, but it's the coolest and prettiest place in all of Death Valley for a small, informal picnic.
Beautiful little canyon. Easy hike to the lower falls & definitely worth the climb up the cliffs on the left for views of the upper falls, if the exposure doesn't bother you.
Howling, cold wind ripped through us as we hit the trail head just after sunrise. Once we got into the canyon and had the wind blocked it was an enjoyable hike. We had planned on hiking to the upper falls but even with the trail guide, we couldn't figure out how to get up there without endangering ourselves. No one else on the trail. Hard to believe that much water and greenery can be found in Death Valley.
Worth it if you're driving by. Good photo op of the lower falls. If you are decent at climbing, head up to the second falls as you should have that one all to yourself.
Beautiful desert Oasis. Just amazing to see such a green place in the middle of the desert and so near one of the hottest places on earth.