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Convict Lake Loop Trail

Mammoth Lakes

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Convict Lake Loop Trail

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  • Aspen trees by the trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Boardwalk on the southern end of Convict Lake.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Aspen trees by the boardwalk around Convict Lake.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Dogs are allowed on the Convict Lake Loop Trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • First junction on the Convict Lake Loop Trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Convict Lake Loop Trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Convict Lake Loop Trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Laurel Mountain (11,818').- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Aspens along the Convict Lake Loop Trail with Laurel Mountain (11,818') in the distance.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Bikes are prohibited in certain areas.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Second parking lot for Convict Lake Loop Trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • The other end of the trailhead for Convict Lake Loop Trail.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • The boat launch at Convict Lake.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • The wheelchair-accessible viewing platform at Convict Lake.- Convict Lake Loop Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Easy access. Perfect for fishing. Dog friendly.
Cons: 
Can get crowded.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
153.00 ft (46.63 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.50 mi (4.02 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,600.00 ft (2,316.48 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

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. 

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(13 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(44 within a 30 mile radius)

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