Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
153.00 ft (46.63 m)
Trail type
2.50 mi (4.02 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great views. Easy access. Perfect for fishing. Dog friendly.


Can get crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

7,600.00 ft (2,316.48 m)


Big vistas
ADA accessible


Nearby Adventures


Due to the incredible amount of snow melt still occurring, you can only go about half way across the boardwalk (when heading toward the south shore) before you encounter a river of water moving very swiftly. It's very beautiful but I could not continue on and had to turn around.
in the winter, the lake is completely frozen
They just stocked the lake for the start of fishing season this weekend.
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