Lost Creek Falls, Nevada

Lost Creek Falls in January 2010

Nevada might not be the first place one thinks of when thinking about waterfalls, but there are some waterfalls in this dry state. Many of these waterfalls, though, are fleeting. They are most likely to be found in the winter and spring, and even then it appears their existence isn’t guaranteed.

Last year, when visiting the Las Vegas area in January, the creeks I visited did actually have a small amount of water flowing. This year, also in January, there was very little water at all. The waterfall on First Creek was completely dry. Lost Creek Falls had a small amount of water flowing over, but admittedly not enough to really show up well in the photograph.

If you live in the Las Vegas area or are visiting the area and are there has just been a rainfall or snow melt has occurred, that is likely the best time to view the falls. If the flow is higher, I think Lost Creek Falls might actually be pretty impressive. The falls were taller than I expected.

Directions:

  1. From Las Vegas, head toward the Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area, which is west of the city off of NV-159.
  2. On NV-159, head to the entrance to the scenic drive for the canyon. There is an entrance fee, which is definitely worth it even if the waterfall is not that great.
  3. Obtain a free visitor’s guide, and look for the area on the map indicating Lost Creek. The visitor’s guide very clearly describes the area.
  4. Begin your drive on the one-way road. You’ll definitely want to make stops along the way. After going more than halfway around the drive, you can either continue on the main road, or take a right. Take the right turn. You must go slowly as you are likely to miss this turn. If you miss it, you have to re-drive the loop again.
  5. After taking the right turn, go to the first parking area on your left, which will be for Lost Creek and the Children’s Discovery Trail.
  6. Park and take the trail for Lost Creek. Trust your instincts, as the trail does split off numerous times, often leading to other trails. The trail is VERY short, only a little more than 0.35 miles one-way. If you’ve gone any further, you’ve probably gone the wrong way.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Lost Creek Falls in December 2010 (flash floods 2 days earlier)

Where in the World is Lost Creek Falls?

Seven Falls, Arizona

Full view of Seven Falls

The trip to Seven Falls is probably the farthest I’ve trekked to see a waterfall. Roundtrip, the trail to the falls must be at least 8 miles, though it seemed much longer than that. Maybe it’s 4 miles straight shot, but there is no way to walk “straight” to this waterfall. You’re going to walk up and then down, and then repeat this process over and over again. Near the end, you’ll encounter some moderately steep switchbacks.

Seven Falls is aptly named, as I believe there are seven separate drops. You will also cross the stream seven times to get to the falls. This journey is NOT for the faint of heart. Along the way, my dad and I encountered someone who had just had knee surgery. The trail to Seven Falls is NOT appropriate if you’re in any way out of shape. Just a warning!

Directions:

  1. You want to get onto Tanque Verde Road.
  2. From Tanque Verde Road, you will turn north onto Sabino Canyon Road.
  3. Head north on Sabino Canyon Road to the entrance of the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.
  4. Enter, pay the $5 entrance fee, and park.
  5. I guess you can choose to take a tram and shorten the length of the hike. This might be advisable. You can also start hiking from the parking lot, which we did, though this adds 2 miles to the round trip. (It would only be 6 miles with the tram.)

***Bring water, lots and lots of water!

***Bring very good shoes that have a LOT of give. Otherwise you’ll regret it.

***The last section of trail to the falls involves walking only feet from some very steep drops. If you’re afraid of heights, this might not enjoy this part. (I’m speaking from experience here.)

Accessiblity: 1/10 (strenuous)
Height: ~150′
Length of Hike: 8.2 miles round-trip

Lower drop of Seven Falls

Where in the World is Seven Falls?

Lower Darwin Falls, California

Lower Darwin Falls

The only waterfall I’ve seen in California is in a location you would least likely expect to find a waterfall: Death Valley. In the Panamint Springs area, this waterfall is fed by a spring (I think). When I visited in January 2009, there was water flowing, even in the dry winter.

When I visited Darwin Falls in winter, the hike to the falls was very enjoyable. The temperature was in the low 70’s, while in the shade along the trail, it was cooler. I can’t imagine what the temperatures would be in summer. Along the trail, there were still multiple different wildflowers blooming, and some trees were even changing colors.

As a note, we visited Lower Darwin Falls. There is an Upper Darwin Falls, but I could not find the trail that led to it. These directions suggest going up a talus slope on the right side of the canyon, but there was no clear way to hike up the right side…maybe rockclimb, but not hike. We could climb up on the left side of the canyon, but didn’t really go much further, as the rock was somewhat steep. The trail to the Lower Falls is much easier than I expected. When looking at other websites, I got the sense that the trip and trek to the falls would be difficult, but that was not the case.

Directions:

  1. From Panamint Springs, drive west on CA-190 for 1 mile.
  2. On your left, you will see a dirt road marked with a sign for Darwin Falls. Take this road.
  3. You will go for about 2.5 miles down the rocky road to the parking area. We were able to drive on the road in our smaller rental car, though the most difficult part was getting into the parking lot.
  4. From the parking lot, walk through the gate and continue on the trail. As an indicator you’re on the right path, you will randomly see PVC pipe.
  5. It’s a pretty straight shoot to the falls. You might have to cross the stream once or twice, but it’s not that difficult at all. Wear hiking boots or something with grip. The trail is easy to traverse, but your shoes will get wet and they need to grip the rock.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 2.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lower Darwin Falls?