Tucked away right off the historical 395 highway in the Eastern Sierra mountains, Convict Lake is a true California outdoor oasis! I know you are probably wondering about the name—Convict Lake? Why would I ever want to go there?! There is actually a really cool story about the lake and the surrounding mountains, though: in 1871, there was a group of escaped convicts on the run and a posse from Benton, CA was sent to retrieve them. There was a shootout by the lake where the convicts killed two posse members, one of whom was Robert Morrison, a Wells Fargo agent. The mountain above the lake was then named “Mount Morrison” in his honor. They eventually caught the convicts and brought them to justice. Just a little slice of history.
Anyways, back to the beauty of Convict Lake! The lake is not very big but is still large enough to take a boat out to fish. You can rent a pontoon boat through the resort or bring your own and launch it on site. Unfortunately, there is no waterskiing or wake-boarding allowed on the lake, but that means it is great for fishing. You can have a picnic along the lake shore and take a chilly lake dip if you are up for it! My favorite activity is hiking at the lake loop. On the far side of the lake there is a boardwalk where water from an upper lake flows down, and the water actually flows right through the trees and sometimes to the boardwalk. Don’t be surprised if you have to get your feet wet!
You can camp at Convict Lake or, if sleeping in a tent is not your thing, you can book a cabin through the resort. They are fully stocked with everything you need! Just hit the Smart and Final in Bishop before you arrive. The resort has has a convenience store where you can get essential supplies, fishing gear, and fishing licenses. The restaurant on site is amazing but a little pricey. They also offer pizzas you can order to take back to your cabin, and during the summer months, there’s a food truck cooking up breakfast burritos and other tasty morning bites.
Convict Lake is truly stunning: the water is sparkling blue and the jutting peaks of Mt. Morrison are truly breathtaking. I promise you will be in awe the entire time you are there! If you love fishing, hiking, or just being outside like we do, this spot is well worth a visit!