About this Trail
Back in 1871, a half-dozen convicts escaped from a Nevada prison and headed for what was then called Mount Diablo Lake, in the Eastern Sierra south of Mammoth Lakes, with the intention of climbing over the Sierra to the western side and escaping. Long story short, a posse caught up to the them, a shootout ensued, one member of the posse died, two convicts were hung, and the lake was renamed Convict Lake.
These days it's about as peaceful a place as you can imagine, and most of its visitors come to fish from the lakes wooded shores and boats or to enjoy the dramatic scenery. Even when it's crowded, it looks and sounds like it's empty.
There's hiking too, a relatively easy three-mile hike around the lake, as well as trails that go up into the Jon Muir wilderness and beyond.
I've hiked around the lake twice, and both times, took off into the wilderness for a few minutes just for the hell of it before I returned to the lake trail. Maybe next time...
Last summer, the big news was the bear that wandered along the shore, sending a lot of the fishermen scrambling to get out of its way.
Directions to Trailhead
From Highway 395 south of Mammoth Lakes, take the Convict Lake turnoff. You can start the hike from anywnere and loop back to your starting point. The trails into the high Sierra are at the far end of the lake.
Notes on Difficulty Rating
Easy. Some climbing, but mostly level.