Convict Lake is located in a glacial canyon southeast of Mammoth Lakes. The lake is one of the larger lakes in the area and is also pretty deep. What makes the lake so nice is that there are some very tall mountains as the south end of the lake that provide a very majestic background. Straight back from the trailhead is Laurel Mountain at 11,824'. Slightly to the left is Mount Morrison at 12,241'. They're not only tall, but they're rugged.
So how did Convict Lake get its name? In 1871 three prisoners at the Carson City State Penitentiary escaped. The three fugitives were confronted by Robert Morrison, a local merchant and posse member, at Monte Diablo Creek, later renamed Convict Creek. Morrison was killed in the confrontation. Mount Morrison is named after Robert Morrison.
The fugitives were later captured in nearby Round Valley. Two of them were hanged in Bishop and the third, who was a minor, was sent back to prison in Carson City.
Finding the trail is simple. Walk along the lake in either direction and when the pavement ends the trail begins. As far as hikes go, this is an easy one. Total mileage is 2.5 miles. The trail is very flat with only 40 feet of elevation gain. Most of the trail is in the sun. There are very few trees along the route except for sparse trees on the east side and more trees where convict creek empties in the Convict Lake.
One interesting part of the hike is where convict creek flows into the lake. The water level is frequently high and widely dispersed, so the forest service built and elevated boardwalk over the creek. From photos I posted on the hike you can see that the trail would have been impassible, since the creek was flooding. The base of the aspens in one of my photos were all under water.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.