Convict Lake is one my favorite Eastern Sierra Lakes. It’s one of the most easily accessible, which also means it can be crowded. But most people tend to stay close to the parking area, so wander around the lake the crowds quickly thin. The lake loop trail is just under 2.5 miles and basically flat. For more of a challenge follow Convict Creek further up the canyon.
Curious how Convict Lake got it’s name? The Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board has a great write up about the history of the lake. I like the sound of the Paiute Wit-sa-nap better than Convict, personally.
If you’re going there to photograph it, dawn is usually the best time, barring dramatic thunderheads in the summer afternoons. Yes you have to get up early, but it’s well worth watching the morning light hit the peaks and work it’s way down. In the photo below, the sun has only made it’s way to the top of Laurel Mountain. The fresh snow was glowing. The nice thing about being there during winter, is there were only a couple other people there, it was so peaceful and quiet. And bitter cold. 🙂