Check Out Convict Lake Just 5 Minutes Off the Highway


Convict Lake is just five minutes off Scenic 395, yet each year millions of visitors flash by without knowing what they are missing. You don’t even have to work to get this view; drive to the lakeside parking and get out.

Those thick, tightly folded beds of limestone on Laurel Mountain across the lake testify to the ancient sea that once covered this region. Fossils in that slaty brown rock date to 500 million years ago. And check out the classic U-shape of a glacier-carved canyon: imagine the thickness of the ice mass gouging out everything in its path (you drive up through the unsorted debris of the glacial moraines on your way to the lake).

There’s a pleasant trail around the lake, including timely bridges that allow you to negotiate the many-fingered inlet streams in the aspen forest. Take a picnic lunch. Is it too late to mention the fishing for trout, from lakeside or rental boat? And if you want colors like this, and a reflection like this, be there at dawn and cross your fingers.

Follow the signs off Highway 395, across from the airport.

Convict Lake Resort is situated on the eastern edge of the lake. In 1929 the resort was officially established as Convict Lake Camp and owned by Bill Garner. Prior to that the resort area was referred to as Raymer’s Camp. Ownership was passed to the Wenger Family in 1962 and to the current owners in 1982.

More information is available at



Mount Baldwin is seen along McGee Creek in the Inyo National Forest. JONATHAN COOK-FISHER via WIKIMEDIA COMMON