Death Valley
Darwin Falls - A hike to Darwin Falls is to experience the miracle of year-round water in Death Valley, the driest place in North America. At the beginning of the trail, there's no indication there's any water nearby, everything is dry and dusty. Continue into a narrow canyon, and on to the falls at the canyon end. The permanent falls cascade into a pool surrounded by a thicket of trees and plants - look for plump frogs in the water, and bright blue damsel flies flying around. Don't wade or swim in the pool.
The hike is about two miles round trip, bring your picnic lunch and water. The trail is largely level, but crosses back and forth over the creek, there are some rocks to scramble over, and trees to climb under.
Eureka Mine & Aguereberry Point - Take a drive to a gold mine and spectacular panorama at Aguereberry Point.
Eureka Mine - The gold mine was first mined by Shorty Harris, who sold it to Pete Aguereberry, who mined it for forty years. Walk over to the Eureka Mine, following the ore car rails, and peer into the long dark tunnel leading into the mine. The mine is usually closed with a gate so as not to disturb bats living in the mine, but is open in spring. If it is open, you can walk into the tunnel, but bring a flashlight. Also go up the hill to see the wooden mill where rock was crushed and ore extracted.
The turnoff to the mine isn't marked by a sign, but it's a right turn at approximately 1.5 miles down the dirt road (go past three cabins, which you'll see first).
Aguereberry Point - Pete Aguereberry called it the "Great View" of Death Valley, and it is. From the point, at almost 6,500 ft, look down into Badwater in the valley below.
Tip: The dirt road to Aguereberry Point and the Eureka Mine is graded, but is well suited to a 4WD drive or jeep.
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