ApproachSee "Getting There" on the Main Page. The directions for getting to Hinkey summit from either the north or the south are available there.
HInkey Summit is actually a saddle and is located at the elevation of close to 7900 feet. If you have a low clearance 2WD passenger vehicle, find a spot and park. If you have high clearance, a 2WD vehicle can go further up the road that heads towards Granite Peak from the saddle. That is FR 536 and in most conditions you will be able to get about 1.3 miles up this jeep road to just past a cattle guard at elevation 8480 feet. Most vehicles will need to park here. There is an area that could be marshy after wet weather or early in the season. It was dry when we went through it and held no problems for us. However, if it was wet, we might have parked and walked. The jeep road goes further and in some conditions and with a high clearance 4WD, you would be able to drive to the end of the jeep track which ends in a sloping meadow at 8800 feet. You could camp here or at the previous location at 8480. Lots of old cow pies were everywhere so this is an area that sees plenty of cattle activity at times.
Assuming you make the 8800 foot meadow (a fence blocks you from going any further in a vehicle nor is there a need to), you have less than a thousand feet to gain the summit. You can just follow the fence line to the west and that will give you a straight shot towards the peak. Or you can contour over the small hump that is between the peak and where you are parked. No route finding difficulties are to be encountered on this peak. The last two hundred feet will require some use of hands and some easy scrambling to reach the summit. The distance from the car to the peak is less than two miles.
If you have to go from Hinkey summit or from the 8480 spot, it will be easy enough to just follow the jeep track up to the 8800 spot and follow the above directions. Directions? Just head up towards the peak, it is easy to figure out the best way to go plus several use trails lead up to the summit area. The easiest way is to follow the eastern ridgeline up and back.
HIking from Hinkey summit will add about an additional hour and from spot 8480 about 20 minutes. .
Hincky summit to Granite Peak 3 miles Elevation gain: 1900 feet
From 8800 end of road 1 1/2 miles Elevation gain: 1000 (you lose about 100 feet on the ascent)
Essential GearNo special gear needed for this relatively easy peak.
Miscellaneous InfoThe summit is precipitous on the south side but an easy class 2 route comes up the east side. In this pic, you are looking east and the route up goes left of the knob you see in the right center of this picture. We parked behind the knob and you can see some of the road snaking its way up from Hinkey Summit.
Bob Bolton enjoying a summit moment.