Hike Convict Lake Mammoth

Hike Convict Lake Mammoth


From the issue Big Time

Guilty Pleasure

A giant U-shaped canyon framed by bare granite peaks rising to 12,000 feet creates a dramatic backdrop for Convict Lake. But this beauty has a turbulent past. In 1871, six escaped prisoners from Carson City holed up here and got into a shootout. Although Wild West gunfights are history, this place hasn’t changed much in the last 10,000 years. Carved by glaciers from the Ice Age, Convict Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the Sierra at 138 feet, contributing to its ultra-clear turquoise waters. With 7,850 feet of elevation, the lake is a popular fishing spot (stocked with rainbow trout) encircled by a gentle 3-mile trail. There are plenty of picnic tables along the path. A boardwalk crosses Convict Creek on the backside and passes through a grove of aspen trees. Those looking to get out on the water can rent a canoe or kayak from the marina. Go in the morning, as wind picks up in the afternoon. This convict is one dangerous beauty.

The turn off for Convict Lake is 8 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off of Hwy. 395, across from the airport. Follow Convict Lake Rd. 2 miles to the lake. Kayak and canoe rentals are $30 per hour. The trail around the lake is dog-friendly!


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