Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.29614°N / 117.49517°W
Additional Information County: Inyo
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 5585 ft / 1702 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Zinc Hill from Hwy. 190Zinc from Highway 190
Zinc Hill gets your attention to the south when driving down into Panamint Valley on Hwy. 190 from the Darwin Plateau en route to Death Valley. It is the northern most peak in the Argus Mountains. This is the range on the west side of Panamint Valley across from Telescope Peak and the Panamint Range. Zinc has 3 summits. The middle one is the highest.
This is a moderate day hike accessed via the road to Darwin Falls. There are sweeping views of the northern part of Panamint Valley, the Panamint Range to the east, the Nelson Range and Hunter Mountain to the north. The High Sierra rises to the west as well as the southern part of the Inyo Mountains to the northwest and the Coso Range to the southwest.

Getting There

Panamint Butte and Town Peak from  northwest ridge of Zinc HillNorthern Panamint Valley from Zinc Hill
From Hwy. 190 at Panamint Springs go 1 mile north to the (signed) Darwin Canyon Road, the road to Darwin Falls. Follow the Darwin Canyon Road past Darwin Falls trailhead (at 2.4 miles), Continue about 2 more miles to the base of the northeast slope of Zinc Hill at about 3,600'. 2WD high clearance is recommended. Hike up the wash about half a mile then left on an old mining road to a big cairn on the right. From there take a mining trail to the saddle west of the summit. This is approximately 5 miles round trip with 2,000' gain. Or you can just scramble up the more interesting and more challenging northwest ridge over the north summit to the main summit from about a mile past Darwin Falls at 3000'. This is about 7 miles round trip with approximately 3,000' gain.

Red Tape

The Panamint Range with Zinc Hill, rightPanamint Range and Zinc Hill from the Darwin Plateau
There are not permits or posted restrictions for this dayhike.
This is an old mining area so it is good to be on the lookout for any old mining hazards.


Argus Range from Towne PeakAcross Panamint Valley to the Argus Range from Towne Peak
There is a campground at Panamint Springs at 2,200' open year-round with no reservations.

Current weather conditions for the Death Valley area

For current weather and 5 day forecast click here.

Further reading on hiking desert peaks

Desert Summits by Andy Zdon is the book on hiking desert peaks in California and Southern Nevada.