Darwin Falls Trail via Old Toll Road

EASY 43 reviews
#10 of 70 trails in

Darwin Falls Trail via Old Toll Road 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 best used from March until November.

6.8 miles
823 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips




wild flowers



no dogs

1 month ago

cute little place tucked in the canyon. could use better signing at the road but overall a great day trip

Just did this trail, it was pretty easy. The temperature dropped as you get closer to the waterfall. Fun as you get to walk over some rocks to go over the little stream. We were worried about the unpaved road that gets you to the trailhead, but it was in good condition. Keep in mind this is unpaved so you have to go slower, but we were never worried our car would get stuck.

7 months ago

Let me clear the confusion.... this is not in any way shape or form 6.8 miles out and back. Not sure where this is getting the distance.... the hike DOES NOT start from highway 190. It is not marked at all off he highway so plan ahead of time. It is called old toll road near paniment Springs. You then take the dirt road for about 2 and a quarter miles to the trailhead and it is only 1 mile to the waterfall... making it 2 miles total. Just start heading up the wash. It starts to get greener and greener the further you go. You have to cross the water a few times so wear waterproof shoes... although the water crossings itself were small.. your feet could still get wet. Learned that the hard way. Waterfall itself is very beautiful! All in all.... it is a very nice experience especially considering it’s located within one of the hottest places in the world

7 months ago

Easy. Nice and scenic. Hot even in the winter. The trail is not well marked from the street. *you have to take the unpaved road for about 2 miles.

7 months ago

Super cute little waterfall and easy

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Great hike for kids. We will definitely do this again.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Drive to the start hike from high way 190. Sign is hard to see as its faded. The entrance is on the left about 5 minutes after Panamint Springs immediately after a sharp right. Drive was rocky with uneven road. Saw a Prius when we got to the start of the hike, so should be no problem with any car.

Its about 1.5 miles hike to the water fall. First part has no shade it was about 98 degrees at 9:30 in the morning the end of May. Bring lots of water!

Second part was in the grove near the water and it was an adventure. Crossing streams and climbing over rocks. Just be very very careful about the slippery rocks. Almost slip and bust my head open a couple times. Other than that, little kids can do it.

Fun times!

Friday, March 24, 2017

This trail was a welcome break from the heat of the rest of Death Valley.

I'm not sure where AllTrails got the distance from as we calculated only about 2 miles to lower falls.

We went here in mid March and saw about 15 people on the trail.

The drive in could be labeled better. Once you pass Panamint Springs resort. The left it about a mile past it. This will mark the start of a couple of miles of dirt road. It runs alongside of piping since the resort uses the water as well.

The dirt road is rough. I wouldn't say you need a high clearance vehicle, but anyone concerned about very bumpy roads will want to avoid it.

There is parking at the trail head. If you hit the 4 wheel drive high clearance portion of the road, you've gone too far. The signs at the trail start were oddly blank; however, the start is obvious.

The trail is a sandy gravel wash type material at the beginning, whose hiking consistency reminded me of sand. This changes thou when you hit more of the vegetation area.

The start of the trail doesn't prepare you for the impending change in environment. At the start, it's a desert, but the further you go, it gets greener and greener.

There was running water everywhere. You actually hike thru or over mini streams at times. Water proof shoes are recommended.

Also this trail was slippery at points and required more maneuvering over boulders than I expected. So much so that we had to pause to figure out the correct path at times since it was just giant rocks. We didn't think we'd need hiking poles, so we didn't bring them. However, we definitely missed not having them. It was more technically challenging than I expected.

We saw a decent amount of wildlife on this trail, including birds, lizards, frogs, and dragonflies.

The lower falls is an obvious 25 ft split waterfall surrounded by trees and ferns and algae. It is stunning.

The trail is well worth it!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Hike was awesome! The lower Darwin Fall is cool, but if you continue up the stream you will find two more Falls! Cheers

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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.

Monday, March 07, 2016

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.

Monday, January 25, 2016

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.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

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.

Monday, December 22, 2014

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.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

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.

Monday, April 22, 2013

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A nice little hike that crosses a stream several times, forcing you to walk across various logs and rocks over water and mud, as well as a few areas where you will have to scramble over rocks. A healthy, hiking dog could do this with no problems. The the trail ends at a pool of water - not swimming friendly - with a stunning little waterfall that forks onto a rock before spilling into the pool. The greatest thing about this trail is its abundance of shade and wildlife.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This trail is a good flat ground hike mainly in riparian forest which is unusual out in the low desert of Death Valley NP. The falls were not at peak runoff but its a good spot to sit and eat lunch. The hills around the area is a good place to cross country hike since the trail wasen't long enough for me.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Darwin Falls is a fun hike. The road is a little bumpy but a car can manage. If you want to explore ahead climb the cliffs to the left of the lower falls to reach the upper. The upper tier is pretty darn tall. But Be careful Big exposures on your way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It isn't the most exciting hike ever, but if you are in the area, it is worth a try. It's pretty short and not very intense. There are lots of plants and animals to be seen. There is some shade and a very pretty little waterfall and pool at the end of the trail. The last time I visited was in spring, so it was really pretty.

5 months ago

Friday, July 14, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

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