Flanked by rugged peaks and the natural wonder that is Laurel Mountain, Convict Lake is one of the most popular fishing spots in the Mammoth area. Located in the Eastern Sierras just off Highway 395, it’s also a great place to explore and enjoy nearby trails. When it comes to getting to this particular lake, you might be wondering if you have to hike to reach the lake. Here’s what you need to know before you go, brought to you by the friendly folks at ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for everything from fishing licenses to hiking gear to Mammoth ski rental.
Taking the Road Leading to the Lake
The short answer to the question above is no, you don’t have to hike to Convict Lake if your main goal is to simply get to this location. If you prefer a scenic drive, you’re free to cruise along Convict Lake Road, which runs for approximately 2 miles or so down to the lake. Hiking to the lake is entirely optional and not the only way to reach the lake.
Driving to Convict Lake
If driving to Convict Lake is what you wish to do, you’ll keep going along the entire stretch of Convict Lake Road. As you get close to the lake, you’ll be driving alongside Convict Creek. When you get to the actual lake, you’ll find the Convict Lake Resort Marina. You can rent a boat at this marina, which can also serve as a launch point into the lake.
Hiking to Convict Lake
We’ve already established you don’t have to hike to Convict Lake. That said, you’re certainly welcome to hike your way to this lake if you’re up for a more slow and steady journey. Suitable for all skill levels, the 2.5-mile Convict Lake Loop Trail is the most popular way to hike to Convict Lake.
There are a couple of different trail options for hiking. For example, Lakeshore Trail is accessible from Convict Creek across from Campground Road. The other main hiking trail here is the North Shore Convict Lake Trail, which links to the Convict Lake Trail and the more twisty and winding Convict Canyon Trail—the longest of the trails in the area that will eventually get you to the lake. The Convict Canyon Trail will take you to the Mildred Lake/Dorothy Lake Trailhead, which is close to the lake.
What to Do when You Get to the Lake
At the lake itself, trout fishing is one of the most popular activities in late spring and summer. There’s also overnight parking nearby, which can come in handy if you have plans to spend some time at the public campground that’s not far from the lake. Other things to do in the Convict Lake area include:
• Enjoying a picnic in the public picnic area
• Visiting nearby beaches, many of which are accessible from the hiking trails
• Grabbing a bite to eat at the Convict Lake Resort restaurant
• Getting any outdoor accessories you might need at the resort’s store
Whether you love to fish, bike, or hike, when you head to Mammoth, stop by and see the knowledgeable staff at ASO Mammoth. Whether they need fishing gear or high-quality ski rentals, Mammoth visitors can find everything they need at our store. Drop by on your way to the lakes or give us a call at 760-965-3444.