It is easy to find the Skedaddle Mountains, but it is difficult to find a good place from which to hike the peak. There are private land areas to the east of the summit, that block the easiest approach to the summit. I drove completely around this small range looking for the perfect starting place and finally settled on an approach from the west.
From Susanville take Hwy 36 east to the junction with Hwy 395 and turn NORTH on Hwy 395. Travel 15.3 miles North on Hwy 395 to the signed paved road to Wendell and turn right or east. Stay on this road for about 3.5 miles, past a energy production plant, over the railroad tracks, and then just after a sharp right turn there is a dirt road on the left signed as 26019.
This dirt road has lots of forks and it looks like it is an OHV playground on the weekends. Stay on the main road and stay left at all the forks. Head into the canyon you see straight ahead. If you end up in a very dusty area and are driving over moguls (like I did), turn around and go back to the main road and try again.
At the last left at about 2.3 miles from the paved road the dirt road gets a little more rocky and traverses up the side of a hill towards a saddle. At 4.2 miles from the paved road there is a saddle and this is a good place to stop. A 2WD car should be able to make it here if the road is dry. Beyond here the road becomes much worse and takes you downhill away from the summit. From this saddle (elevation 5,200 ft) you can see your first objective straight ahead. The western end of Hot Springs Peak is straight ahead. The summit is out of site from the saddle. It is all cross country hiking from here.
The route up Hot Springs Peak from the west is straightforward. From the “trailhead” at the saddle, elevation 5,200 ft., head east down a little draw and then up the side of the ridge that is directly in front of you. Head up to the top of the ridge and then follow the ridgeline up to the southeast. The vegetation here is short and easy to maneuver around.
Once you reach the top of the ridge, you will be heading generally east over the first summit that is directly in front of you. This upper ridgeline will take you over 2 lower summits before reaching the highest summit.
As you reach the top of the western summit, you will be able to see the middle summit directly east. Unfortunately, you have to descend about 220 ft to a saddle and then back up to the middle summit.
There are a few obstacles to overcome to get to the middle summit. After you get down to the saddle between the west summit and middle summit, you need to head to the left and aim for a talus slope on the north side of the middle summit. You will have to break through some brush to get to the talus slope, but once on the talus, the going gets easier. At the top of the talus slope, take a look around so you can find this place when you return. It is kind of brushy on top of the middle summit, but manageable. Make your way east to the edge wher you will see the eastern and highest summit of Hot Springs Peak.
Again, you will have to descend about 220 ft to a saddle that separates the middle summit from the eastern summit. Stay near the ridgeline as it ascends up to the eastern summit. Once on the summit, enjoy the views of Honey Lake to the south, Susanville to the west, Observation Peak to the north, and Nevada to the east. Return to the trailhead the same way you came.
Total hike is about 7.5 miles with about 3,375 ft of elevation gain. I didn’t feel well the day I hiked it and it was hot. It took me about 6.5 hours to complete this hike. No trail, lots of route finding. I drank 4 liters of water and was out when I got back to the car.
The 10 essentials always. Water. Sunscreen. Shades. More Water. Don't forget the water.