Convict Lake: Unusual Name, Unusual Scenery


Convict Lake is known for its fishing and the dramatic mountains (including Mount Morrison) that surround it. Its surface lies at an elevation of 7,850 feet, surrounded by mountains that tower over it by as much as a mile.

The lake was named after an incident on Sept. 23, 1871, where a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City. A posse, from Benton, led by Deputy Sheriff George Hightower, encountered the convicts near the head of what is now Convict Creek. Posse member Robert Morrison, a Benton merchant and Wells Fargo Agent, was killed in the encounter, and Mount Morrison was named after him. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.


Nearby Mount Morrison.



Convict Lake is known for its fishing, including rainbow trout, German brown trout, and a species of sucker fish. Due to the high demand of fishing in the lake and stream, the lake is stocked once a week during the summer with rainbow trout, supplied by nearby hatcheries. There is a three-mile trail for hiking around the lake and a trail that connects the lake to the Sierra Crest.


Scene from Convict Lake.


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 1982.

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