Drama-ramic Hike

Convict Lake Hike

It's not just the granite peaks—including famous Mount Morrison—encircling Convict Lake that make it such a dramatic place. Carved by glaciers from the Ice Age, this giant canyon featuring a beautiful turquoise oasis has a turbulent past—144 years ago to this date (September 17!) six escaped prisoners from Carson City holed up here and got into a Wild West shootout. That's all history now, but for those who can't resist a little drama, go on a 3-mile hike around the lake during late afternoon. The mountain scenery reflecting onto the ultra-clear waters of the lake makes for a spectacular outing. Start on the northeast side of the lake and follow the easygoing trail with mild ups and downs. Plenty of spur trails descend to the water, which is a popular fishing spot. A boardwalk crosses Convict Creek on the back side of the lake and passes through a grove of aspen trees. Towards the end of the hike there's a pebble beach with a few picnic tables, but there are plenty of places to stop all along the route (we like the halfway point shoreline area where large rocks make nice perches). Finish the loop just before sunset and watch from a viewing platform as Mount Morrison transitions to a mysterious, looming silhouette.

STAY: For a beautiful setting, easy access to adventures, and the ability to barbecue and eat in, Snowcreek Resort has a variety of options worth checking out, including pet-friendly units.

The turnoff 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. The trail around the lake is dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

  2. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

  3. Strolling With Sam

    Most people come to Samuel P. Taylor State Park for the beautiful creekside campground and picnic areas. But the hiking here can be pleasantly peaceful on a short trail featuring old-growth redwood trees.

  4. Sponsored

    Four Ways to Fall for North Lake Tahoe

    As vivid autumn colors start to line the sky and crowds begin to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking secret season takes over and is a favorite among locals. With turning leaves, crisp air, and 12 towns to explore, North Lake Tahoe is the place to disconnect.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

  2. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

  3. Rock Star Hike

    The sandstone giants of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park might be the coolest damn formations in SoCal. Explore the craggy slabs on a 2.5-mile hike.

  4. Clarity in Claremont

    The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is inaccessible, rugged terrain but there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained and feels gloriously far away, despite being close to the city.