Convict Lake is one of the prettiest, most accessible lakes in eastern California. The lake was named for an encounter between a group of convicts that had escaped from Carson City Prison and their Benton Posse pursuers. In the confrontation at the lake, one of the posse members, Robert Morrison, was killed; nearby Mount Morrison was named for him.
Though this scenic trail isn't demanding, you'll likely feel the effects of the lake's 7,850-foot elevation in your heart and lungs. Incredible views are a great distraction, however. You can begin the loop at the parking lot on the right side of the bridge just next to the boat launch, where you'll find an information sign by the trailhead. Follow this trail for 0.7 miles and you will come across a junction with access to the Convict Creek Trail, Lake Dorothy, and Mildred lake. Walk a little further and you will reach a picnic table and short boardwalk at the southern part of the lake. From the beginning of the boardwalk it's another 1.5 miles to the other end of the trail, where there is a bigger parking lot and a wheelchair-accessible viewing and fishing platform.
During the fall, aspen trees around the lake provide a dramatic, bright yellow contrast against the lake's blue water, and the impressive view of Mount Morrison looms powerfully in the distance. The trail does get crowded in the summer, and fishing for stocked rainbow and German brown trout is one of the most popular activities. The area becomes a wonderland in winter as the mountain is covered in snow and the lake freezes over. Note that the trail is not maintained in the winter.