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.
This route is not technical from the west. The route is fairly simple once you arrive at the trailhead. The trailhead is anywhere you stop along the road up the canyon. After you park, continue up the canyon. Matley Spring is at elevation 5,800 ft. Settlemeyer Spring is another .3 mile up the jeep road and is at elevation 6,125 ft. Continue hiking up the jeep road and go left around the fenced Settlemeyer Spring and stay left once you are above Settlemeyer Spring. You should be going almost due north now. Pass a wet area on your right where horses have trampled everything and continue up to a saddle at elevation 6,800 ft.
From the saddle you should be able to see the summit of Dogskin Mountain less than a mile away to the northeast. You should be able to see the rest of the route also. You have to cross the little valley from the saddle to get to Dogskin BM. You will see a lesser road leaving the saddle on the left follow that down to the valley and then there is an ATV trail going straight up to the west ridge of Dogskin Mountain BM. Follow this ATV trail until it ends on the west ridge at elevation 7,000 ft. Now head east cross country to the summit. I stayed on the right side of the ridge and fooeting was good without too much brush. There are many rounded boulders on the ridge and near the summit but they are easily avoided.
Total hike is about 3.9 miles, gains about 1,700 ft, and took me right at 2 hours.
The 10 essentials are always required. There is spring water in places on the trail, but it needs to be filtered. This is a relatively short hike so taking enough water should not be a problem. A GPS may be handy depending on your navigation skills.