Convict Lake is about 10 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes off Hwy. 203 just opposite the Mammoth Yosemite airport. The lake is part of the Sherwin Range of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. It is known for its fishing, camping and the resort sits at the base of the dramatic Mount Morrison mountains that surround the lake. Its surface lies at an elevation of 7,850 ft. Popular are the Convict Lake Cabins. They are the only professionally, well run cabins that are right at the shoreline that are available year round. There are other Mammoth Lakes cabins available, they just are not on any lake as the shorelines inside of Mammoth are controlled by the Forest Service.
The lake was named after an ambush attempt on September 17, 1871, when a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City. Deputy Sheriff George Hightower encountered the convicts near the head of what is now Convict Creek formerly Diablo Creek and a shoot out took place. Posse member Robert Morrison, a Benton merchant and Wells Fargo agent was killed in the encounter, and Mount Morrison was named after him. The smaller mountain is called Mono Jim after Mono Jim who was part of the ambush. It's a wonderful piece of history of the old west that took place around the corner from the resort.
Today Convict Lake is known for its fishing, including rainbow trout, German brown trout, and a species of sucker fish. The lake and the cabins are extremely popular so the lake is stocked once a week during the summer with rainbow trout, supplied by nearby hatcheries. There is a trail for hiking around the lake and a trail that connects the lake to the Sierra Crest.
Located just 20-minutes away from Mammoth
Lakes makes it an easy driving tour. Head out of town on Main Street (HWY 203), turn onto the
freeway and then south on U.S. 395 about 8 miles to the Convict
Lake turnoff. Turn right and follow the road up to Convict Lake
Resort 1/4 mile past the resort and
you will come upon Convict Lake.
Create Your Own Tour of Mammoth
After exploring Convict Lake, you are in the neighborhood to explore Hot Creek and the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery. You might also want to continue exploring the Mammoth Lakes basin which has 6 lakes and the Mammoth Gold Mine.