Dogskin Mountain Benchmark is located in northwest Nevada, north of Reno, and near the California/Nevada state line in Washoe County. Highway 395 is west of Dogskin Mountain and Pyramid Lake is east of the mountain. Dogskin Mountain Benchmark is NOT the high point of the Dogskin Mountains. The high point is about 22 ft higher and is located almost 2 miles southeast of the benchmark. The high point located 2 miles southeast of this benchmark is way down on the Nevada Prominence list at #161 with 2,041 ft of prominence. The topography of Dogskin Mountain is Basin and Range and is similar to much of the high desert landscape of northern Nevada with the range aligned in a northwest/southeast direction.
The Dogskin Mountains are on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management Carson City District Office. The Dogskin Mountains are located in an area that is not easily accessible and is between Highway 445 and Red Rock Road. Highway 445 goes between Reno and Pyramid Lake. In 2005 the BLM thinned a herd of wild horses in the Dogskin Mountains from about 100 head to 15. The Settlemeyer Spring on the west slope of Dogskin Mountain has been fenced off to prevent the horses and OHV’ers from destroying and polluting this resource. OHV’ers use the Dogskin Mountains for their entertainment.
On a clear day you should be able to see many of the 2,000 ft prominence peaks that surround the Dogskin Mountains, including the high point of the Petersen Mountains, State Line Peak, Tule Peak, Virginia Peak, and Peavine Peak. Unfortunately, the day I visited the summit all the views were blocked by a thick cloud on the summit of Dogskin Mountain BM.
For details on the hiking trail see the Route information.
I drove to Dogskin Mountain from Pyramid Lake and these directions will get you to the west side of Dogskin and the trailhead from the Pyramid Lake Highway 445. The area can also be approached from Red Rock Road.
From Highway 395 north of Reno, take the Pyramid Lake Highway 445 exit and go north towards Pyramid Lake. Set your trip odometer when you get off of Highway 395 to 0.0. Go 16.8 miles north and turn left on paved Winnemucca Ranch Road. At mile 23.0 from Highway 395 turn left on a dirt/gravel road going west. This dirt road will pass a popular OHV site and if it is the weekend there should be dozens of OHV’ers to deal with. Pass by the OHV area and stay on the main road as it goes southwest, then west, and then northwest around the southern end of the Dogskin Mountains.
At mile 31.0 you should be in the middle of nowhere and are surrounded by sage brush. Turn right towards Dogskin Mountain on one of these roads at a complicated intersection with several smaller roads going in all directions. You will have to pass through a couple of washes and there are 2-3 different roads that go through the washes. Find one that isn’t too steep, don’t get high centered, or stuck in the bottom. Once through the wash area take the left fork that should be the main road that goes northeast directly at Dogskin Mountain. At 33.8 miles you should come to Matley Spring that has room to park and has a large bathtub water trough for livestock. Elevation at Matley Spring is about 5,800 ft. I drove another .2 mile up the canyon, but then had to stop and hike from there. I found my GPS with waypoints was handy in finding the trailhead.
No red tape for hiking Dogskin Mountain BM. Be careful with fire.
Developed camping spots in Nevada are not plentiful because virtually the whole state is open to camping anywhere you want. The closest campground that I could find is at the Pyramid Lake. The OHV area was full of campers, but there are no developed facilities there. The closest town is Reno.
You could camp at the trailhead at Matley Spring. Make sure you treat the water if you use it.
Backpack camping near the summit is feasible, but it is kind of rocky with large boulders. There is no water near the summit.
The Dogskin Mountains are accessible all year round. You must use precautions if you hike in the winter and the summer. The mountains get snow in the winter and if you want to climb in the snow, you should make proper preparations. Avalanches would be a remote happening on this mountain on the route I climbed. During the summer, the weather could be unbearably hot and lightning storms are not unusual. Be wary of thunderclouds and bring lots of water in the summer. In the spring and winter the roads can be very muddy and you should be cautious when driving to the trailhead.
The closest town is Reno.
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