The Darwin Falls Wilderness is the area adjacent to Darwin Falls, it has a unique location in the northern Mojave Desert, just west of Death Valley National Park. The Darwin falls Wilderness is a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System rooted by the California Desert Protection Act (Public Law 103-433) and guided by the Bureau of Land Management. The Darwin Falls Wilderness Area was founded on October 31, 1994 totaling up to 8,176 acres of land. The Darwin Wilderness is made up of several distinct landmarks, including The Darwin Plateau, an area between The Inyo Mountains to the north, and the Coso Range to the south. The wilderness area is also near the Darwin Hills, a mountain range in Inyo County and the Argus Range, west of the Panamint Range.
The area also holds a large variety of volcanic rock. The South Darwin Falls is later followed by Darwin Canyon. The Darwin Falls area is abundant in many forms of shrubs, Joshua trees, and cottonwoods. The prairie falcon is one of the most populous species of birds in the area. The Darwin Falls Wilderness is very similar to a desert ecosystem when observing climate, animal species, and plant species. There is also two springs located to the east of the Darwin Falls Wilderness area. It is one of the protected areas of the Mojave Desert.
Darwin falls, which the wilderness is ultimately known for, is a sort of oasis on the park's western edge, that has a waterfall flowing year-round in a narrow gorge into a large pond of cool water surrounded by trees and mossy rocks. Though swimming is prohibited to protect wildlife, the lush environment offers protection from the oppressive heat, which averages 100 degrees in May and attracts over 80 species of birds.
Death Valley was an enormous natural obstacle that pioneers, settlers, and miners alike had to face entering California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Its extreme temperatures and harsh living environments made the valley an undesirable place to settle, yet the mysterious land had hopeful 49ers exploring the desert. Death Valley National Park is the largest national park outside of Alaska, it contains the lowest, hottest, driest location in the Western Hemisphere.
Darwin Hills is a collection of mountain ranges in Inyo County and the Argus Range. The Darwin District includes several mines distributed throughout an area surrounding about nine miles in the Darwin Hills. Most of the mining operated on the mountain was done by the Anaconda Company in the Darwin Mine; however, no mines in the district are currently active today. The district is particularly famous for its amount of scheelite crystals, but the mines have also made $29 million off of lead, silver, zinc, tungsten, and copper.
The entire Darwin Falls Wilderness, was named after the famous Erasmus Darwin French, an explorer and adventurer from New York, who upon traveling to southern California opened a mining town in Inyo County. The residents there named the small town after Dr. French- Darwin, California in 1874. Erasmus Darwin French led many expeditions into the uncharted territories of Death Valley searching for the Lost Gunsight Mine, but was unsuccessful on all expeditions. The route he traveled would later lay out trails for tourists to explore the valley.
Since of 1994, The Darwin Falls Wilderness has been managed by the Bureau of Land Management in California and is a part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. Camping has been allowed inside the wilderness area; however, no motorized vehicles are allowed inside the wilderness. Vehicles must be parked outside the wilderness boundary; set 30 feet back.
The Darwin Falls Wilderness is close to the Mojave Desert and has similar trees and plants. They include: Joshua tree, pinyon pine, mesquite, California juniper, California fan palm, cottonwood and desert willow. Typical of trees in a desert environment, they need little water but they provide shade and coolness for the animals living in their habitat.
Besides trees, there are shrubs, grasses, desert wildflowers, etc., some which may be inside some tea beverages. These species include: Mojave yucca, manzanita, Mormon tea, and yerba santa.
There is a claim to be over 80 bird species in the Mojave Desert and Darwin Falls Wilderness areas. Aside from wild bird species, there is a great variety of mammals, reptiles, and even a few species of wild horses and wild burros. Ranging from quails, vultures, hawks, eagles, falcons, roadrunners, and woodpeckers for the bird species.
Mammals include the American badger, bighorn sheep, brush mouse, cactus mouse, porcupine, raccoon, etc.
In the Darwin Falls Wilderness area include many reptiles that are seen near the Mojave Desert such as lizards, snakes, and rattlesnakes such as the Mojave rattlesnake, and the western diamondback rattlesnake. Also they are western desert tortoises and common snakes such as gopher snakes, long-nosed snake, and the western shovel-nosed snake.
Finally, to finish the desert ecosystem, the Darwin Falls Wilderness includes hundreds of species of insects, spiders, butterflies and moths.
With this, the desert ecosystem can be carried out, with the labeling of which species is the predator and which species are prey.
The nearest settlement is the community of Darwin, California. Access to this wilderness is via State Route 190 through Panamint Valley approximately 30 miles east of Olancha and along the road into Darwin or down the Darwin Canyon Road. The primary access point is Darwin Canyon Road halfway between Darwin and Olancha, California.