Darwin Falls - Trail and Pool Conditions
Posted by Joel B. on August 11, 2002 at 19:04:56:
Darwin Falls was prefect.
The pools, very deep and very refreshing. You could not ask for a better place to escape the heat. Spent the night at the upper fall and had a very spectacular shooting star show and with the rhythmic sounds of the falls - just perfect.
I spent all day Saturday checking out the falls and canyons and photographing them. Hiked all the way to China Spring Gardens.
The trail leading to the lower water fall is in fair condition. Some minor overgrowth, but nothing serious. From the lower to the upper fall, be prepared to crawl under and over vegetation.
To get to Darwin Falls, travel about a mile west of Panamint Springs. You will see a sign saying Darwin Falls. This road leading to the parking lot is full of curves. Drive carefully. Very hard to see cars coming or going. Once at the parking lot, park here. Do not pass the lock gate, even though there is a road around it. You will get a ticket. From here, the trail is very easy to follow. When you enter the towering canyons, keep an eye toward the right, and high up on the ridgeline ;-). When you pass the gauging station (small outhouse like building), the lower fall is just a few minutes ahead. It will pop right out in front of you!
You will notice the temperature here almost drops about 15 degrees. When I arrived at the parking lot Friday night, it was 102 degrees. Entering this part of the canyon, 87 degrees. Saturday, in the canyons, it did averaged about 100 degrees. Again, to escape the heat, just jump in one of the pools.
From the lower falls to the upper fall, you will have to scramble over some rocks to the right. This part of the trail is very demanding and very strenuous.
The first rock you must scramble over requires you to cling on a small overhang with a fall of about 20’ below. If you are afraid of heights, do not attempt this route. You may be better off coming down from China Springs.
Once you pass this rock, you will notice the vegetation swallows up the trail immediately. All I can tell you – look hard and low. Once you get to the rock slide, the falls are just ahead. Here you will have to scramble up the rocks for about 40’. When you come to an opening, square type notch, in the rocks to your right, cut through this. You will have to do some light climbing here too.
Once you get pass this, the largest of the falls will appear.
If you are daring enough to continue upward to the other three falls, go back out the notch in the rocks. Continue upward, and follow the stream upward. There is some very thick vegetation from here upward. One area is so thick, you are better off going back and then climbing the rocks above.