Mammoth Lakes, CA
Convict Lake Website
- Hours: Convict Lake is accessible any time, but receives a lot of snow in winter
- Cost: No fee
- Location: East of the Sierras, just off US 395 south of Mammoth Lakes
- How Long: A walk around the lake takes about 1.5 hours. Allow more time if you want to do other activities
- Best Time to Visit: Any time. In fall, aspen trees around the lake turn golden yellow
Named for escaped convicts who shot it out with a sheriff's posse here in the nineteenth century, Convict Lake is one of the prettiest lakes in eastern California, flanked on three sides by towering granite peaks and ringed with aspen trees that turn golden in fall.
Things to Do at Convict Lake
The simplest thing to do is to take the three-mile hike around the rim of Convict Lake, but fishing is probably the most popular thing to do. Convict Lake is stocked weekly with rainbow trout, and nearby Convict Lake Resort offers fishing classes and guided fishing trips, along with horseback riding and boat rentals.
You can visit Convict Lake as a day trip from any of the other area towns between Bridgeport and Bishop, but if you want to stay longer, try Convict Lake Resort. The Inyo National Forest Convict Lake Campground is just across the road from the Convict Lake Resort, with 88 sites. It has pit toilets and no hookups, but the setting is beautiful.
Getting to Convict Lake
Convict Lake is east of the Sierras, about 30 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 140 at Lee Vining and 35 miles north of Bishop. To get there from southern California, take Hwy 395 north. From northern California, take Hwy 140 east through Yosemite National Park.
From Hwy 395 near the Mammoth Airport, follow the signs east toward Convict Lake. The exit is near mile marker 21.50.