Tioga Pass hadn’t opened up from its winter’s sleep yet, but I really wanted to get over to the east side of the Sierra. Sally was up for the adventure and we drove along those brightly colored, snowcapped mountains to Convict Lake for a few days.
Where: Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness
Distance: 2.77 Miles
Elevation Range: 7,582’ – 7,691’
Date: June 1, 2017
Map: Bloody Mountain
Dog Hike? Yes
Sally and I drove the long away around to get to the east side, down through Bakersfield, across Tehachapi on Hwy 58, then up Hwy 395 to Convict Lake. We stayed in the USFS Campground at the lake and it is a nice one. It sits at the 7,500′ elevation, has 48 sites spread up and down about a mile of paved road, both reservable and first-come, first-served campsites. I made my reservations through Reserve American (link below) about 3 weeks in advance and there was only 1 non-handicapped site available so it probably pays to make your reservations early. Convict Creek runs through the campground but the water was running fast and high so I didn’t try my hand at fishing it. But I did head down to Convict Lake as soon as I could to try my luck there. I didn’t catch any fish but I lucked out with the amazing view.
In addition to the campground, there is also a resort located at Convict Lake. I have stayed at Convict Lake Resort and they have some interesting history on their Home Page.
“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.
Convict Lake and Creek are so named as the result of an AMBUSH encounter here September 17, 1871, where a group of inmates escaped from prison in Carson City. Sheriff George Hightower eventually caught up with the convicts and a shootout took place. Robert Morrison a Benton Merchant, Mono Jim and other posse members encountered the convicts on the present Convict Creek, then known as Monte Diablo Creek. In the encounter, Morrison and Mono Jim were killed and the convicts escaped to be captured later in Round Valley. The towering peak above the lake was re-named Mt. Morrison and the smaller one below it Mono Jim.
The Indians are said to have called Convict Lake Wit-sa-nap bearing this legend. “The streams which flowed from the mountains were supposed to be filled with Pot-sa-wa-gees, water babies, who lived in spirit, but were visible to the eye, having the face of an Indian child and the body of a fish. Hi-na-nu was a wise and good man, whose spirit the Indians reverenced, and to whom they looked for guidance in earthly matters. However, he was endeavoring to capture the Pot-sa-wa-gees as they traveled up stream. When the sources of the streams were reached the water became so shallow that the water babies were in great danger of being taken by their pursuer. They prayed to the Great Spirit for aid, and in answer he caused the waters to flow up hill and to join the waters flowing down from the mountains, uniting in one large, deep lake, wherein the little spirits found safety —Wit-sa-nap, the Convict Lake of to-day.” Sierra Club Bulletin Vol. IX, San Francisco, CA, 1915, Mrs. A.A. Forbes.”
Meanwhile, Sally and I tried our hardest at fishing and right next to my fishing spot mule ears were blooming, which are the name for this big and showy flower.
Inyo National Forest shares the following rules for dogs within the forest: Traditionally, National Forests have welcomed dogs. However there are a few rules that apply to assure that you and other National Forest visitors have an enjoyable outdoor recreation experience. If you are camping with your pet, please practice the following:
- Leave vicious or unusually noisy dogs at home.
- During the day keep your dog on a leash no more than 6 feet long, or otherwise restrict its freedom to roam at will.
- At night keep your dogs and other pets inside an enclosed vehicle or in a tent.
- Developed campgrounds are for people, not animals. Please do not bring more than two dogs or other pet to any one campsite.
Map and Profile:
Prior Blogs in the Area: