Darwin Falls is a spring-fed waterfall tucked away in a canyon just outside Panamint Springs in Death Valley. On our way between Lone Pine and Stovepipe Wells, we decided to take the short detour and pay this atypical desert location a visit. We slowly drove the rough road in to where a couple of other cars were parked, and then started the hike along a dried up river bed toward where the canyon narrowed.
As we entered further into the canyon, the vegetation became more lush, the temperature began to drop, and we started to hear the sound of running water off to our right. As we climbed gradually, we scampered over some rocks and crossed back and forth over what was now a shallow stream. Crossing the stream was fun and challenging at times, forcing us to balance on felled logs and slippery rocks to try to make it across without getting our feet wet. After about thirty minutes or so from when we started hiking, we crossed the stream one final time to find ourselves looking at a strong and vital waterfall pouring into a pool with greenery all around.
This was not your typical scene from Death Valley, and well worth the hike in. There are more falls higher in this same canyon, but we both agreed that we were satisfied with our hike to here, and we didn’t want to take on the rugged trail that would have led us to the higher falls.