Skedaddle Wilderness Study Area (WSA) lies on the northwestern edge of the arid Great Basin, and features the 7,680-feet high Hot Springs Peak, amongst other fascinating landscapes. This 99-square mile Bureau of Land Management property east of Susanville in California is a hub for primitive recreation among guests seeking memorable time away from home and the opportunity to enjoy solitude. Access to the park from Susanville is easy, however, visitors are advised to drive there in four-wheel-drive vehicles, so that the rough dirt roads will be negotiated with ease.
Besides the chance to enjoy some peace and quiet, visitors can also find pleasure in hiking to the various parts of the wilderness, as well as up Hot Springs Peak. Nature lovers can view resplendent flora and beautiful wildlife that call the park home. Good opportunities for photography are also provided. If you’re up to it, you should gear up and visit nearby attractions such as Honey Lake Wildlife Area, Biscar Wildlife Area, Eagle Lake, and Susanville Ranch Park, where additional recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, and picnicking are available.
Skedaddle Wilderness Study Area lies east of Susanville, Lassen County with the majority of the park’s areas in California, while a small portion lies in Nevada. Access to the park from the west is via Highway 395, through Wendell. The road to the WSA from Wendell will take visitors past an energy production plant on to dirt roads with lots of forks. Guests driving to the park are advised to remain on the main road and stay left at all the forks. Some portions of the dirt and rough roads can be negotiated with two-wheel drive vehicles when dry, but it’s advisable to come in four-wheel drive for easy access.
Within Skedaddle Wilderness Study Area, the use of motorized vehicles and equipment is not allowed. Therefore, all visitors are advised to watch out for signs and posts that indicate where the wilderness boundaries are, and find parking spots. Parking areas are provided around where the wilderness boundaries are located.
There are no direct public transportation services to Skedaddle Wilderness Study Area.
Merrill Campground is a pet-friendly campground in Lassen National Forest sited in a conifer forest setting composed of firs and pines. Located on the southern shore of Eagle Lake, the campground sits at an elevation of 5,100 feet and offers tent, group, and RV camping opportunities.
Within the campground, there are 57 campsites equipped with full hookup options (electric, water, and sewer) for RVs, 64 campsites equipped with electric and water hookups, and 51 campsites without hookups. The maximum RV/trailer length in the campground is 83 feet.
Picnic tables, fire ring with grill, and parking spurs/pads are provided at each campsite. Amenities include flush toilets, potable water, WIFI, and firewood. Just outside the campground is a RV dump station.
Things to do at the campground include fishing, swimming, skiing, kayaking, and boating.
Reservations are accepted for campsites during peak season from May to September.
One of the interesting places to visit after enjoying primitive recreation at Skedaddle WSA is the 0.9 square mile Biscar Wildlife Area that lies to the northwest of the wilderness. This undeveloped wildlife area features upland areas covered by sagebrush and reservoirs that serve as a water supply source for wildlife such as antelope and pronghorn.
Recreational activities here include birdwatching, wildlife viewing, and hunting. Game species present here include bobcats, coyotes, marmots, and badgers.
Hunting enthusiasts that abide by regulations in place can go after sage grouse, dove, quail, waterfowl, and deer.
The 12 square mile Honey Lake Wildlife Area southwest of Skedaddle WSA sits on the shore of Honey Lake amidst sagebrush and alkali-tolerant vegetation. This area is home to lots of migratory and nesting bird species, making it a premier destination for bird watching. Visitors get to see birds of prey, quail, dove and other wildlife such as pronghorn antelope and deer in the wildlife area.
If you have a valid hunting license, you can go after rabbits, coots, waterfowl, pheasants, and moorhens in the park.
If you’re enjoying your vacation at Skedaddle WSA and want to test your angling skills, take a short trip to Eagle Lake, just north of Susanville. This lake is the ultimate destination for trout fishing in the region, and is popular for one particular fish species – Eagle Lake Trout. This fish, which has a beautiful appearance, is highly sought-after and possesses steelhead-like fighting qualities.
Anglers also get to catch tui chub, Lahontan redside, Tahoe sucker, and speckled dace in the lake. You will require a fishing license here.
Skedaddle Wilderness Study Area offers opportunities for visitors that wish to stretch their legs to explore the entire extent of the wilderness areas. Sections of the park that many visitors would not venture to are open to exploration by the footpaths created by those that are curious about what the remote areas of the park look like.
Even more interesting hiking opportunities are available at the BLM managed Susanville Ranch Park where hikers get to see beaver ponds, cottonwoods, willows, reptiles, and other beautiful wildlife along the park’s trails.
Skedaddle WSA is a good place for wildlife and flora enthusiasts to spend time away from home.
The majority of this BLM property is covered by sagebrush and bunchgrass vegetation. In the northern slope areas of the wilderness, small aspen groves and large berry shrubs are dominant. The deep canyon areas support riparian vegetation such as wild rose and willows, as well as small grass meadows.
Birdwatchers spot raptors and songbirds in the area, as sage-grouse, mule deer, and pronghorn.
Listed as the 53rd most prominent peak on the list of Prominent Peaks in California, Hot Springs Peak is a Mecca for hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing. This peak is perfect for primitive recreation because there are no developed areas, improved routes or trail signs. So, prepare yourself well for the exercise.
The peak is sited in an area characterized by craggy volcanic mountains and expansive desert valleys, so good opportunities for sightseeing and photography are provided.