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Almost Luxury In The Eastern Sierra, Or, The Convict Lake Lodge

Convict Lake in August

Almost everyone knows about Lake Tahoe, right?  Some people know about Mammoth. A few know about smaller Eastern Sierra lakes like June, Bass. But almost no one knows about Convict Lake. So let’s remedy that situation.

As a result of last-minute scheduling, the first trip we took after our wedding was with my family, i.e. father, stepmother, siblings, spouses, and children. We were looking for a place with not-too-“rustic” cabins, a good place to eat, and proximity to astonishing natural beauty. Meet the Convict Lake Resort.


The resort’s 28 cabins lie along this gravel loop. The best locations are either up at the top, i.e. the cabins called Laurel Ridge, Bristlecone, Minaret, and Tioga, or those right down at the bottom by the road to the lake, Golden and Rainbow.


All have little decks, with a table and chairs.


Any cabin in the luxury category has an interior like this. Pretty dang nice as mountain cabins go. The bathrooms have great tile, multi-head showers, and big jetted tubs. Of course I never use jetted tubs, as they seem like too much drama for a peaceful activity, but you might feel otherwise.


In any case, the real point is the lake itself. Featured by the way, in this Star Trek movie.

Taking out a "party pontoon" at Convict Lake.

You might think you will want to take out a large pontoon boat, the kind with a grill on the back to cook your lunch. Just remember, if you  anchor at the sandy end of the lake, you’ll drift. Don’t ask me how I know.


Remember too, that it often gets windy and even rains a bit in mountains come afternoon. Don’t ask me how I know.

The trail around the lake is pretty. And style bloggers love to dress for hiking. Don’t ask me how I know. Those Aerosoles gave their all for a walk on some rocks and I left them behind in the Sierras, honored as fallen comrades. The hat is made of SPF-fabric. The shirt belonged to my daughter; I have no explanation for the shorts and socks.


Aspens shade the trail around the lake.


But above, heading up to Lake Mildred, the trail opens to the sky.


And as it turns out, a rockslide has made the trek pretty dang impassable. Don’t ask me how I know.


Fortunately, with great foresight, the resort runs a wonderful restaurant right on site, to sooth hikers’ souls. And this I know because we ate well. A couple of afternoons under the aspens,


and one night, all 16 of us, children and adults alike, in the restaurant,


only to walk back up the road to our cabins, and say good night under an Eastern Sierra sunset. I should not forget to tell you about the scent of sage in cooling air. Even the dust is lovely.

I’d recommend the resort. For multi-generational family reunions, it would be improved by a larger, more open central area, of the sort that facilitates children playing freely while adults eat cheese and crackers and drink glasses of wine. But let’s say you snagged the Laurel Ridge cabin for group meals, and the surrounding spa cabins for everyone else, you’d likely find yourself surrounded by a cheerful loud clan, all the while soothed by a high desert quiet.

If you take out the party pontoon, however, I must disavow any responsibility.

Convict Lake Lodge

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21 Responses

  1. Love the Eastern Sierras! The 395 is my favorite highway. So beautiful and lonesome out there. Great photos! And the black socks are a nice touch. Very postal chic. :)

  2. We are actually looking for a place for a family reunion/birthday in 2015. Thanks for the good information and the great photos. (And I love the black socks!)

  3. Sand is rather poor holding ground for an anchor and you would need something like a Danforth and very weighty. Hope there were no tense moments.
    Your vacation spot reminds me of Point No Point, a local resort with rustic cabins and a view of the ocean that also has the most amazing place to dine.
    Looks like a beautiful lake with spectacular scenery.

  4. Convict lake,did convicts get taken there to break stones,or have I watched to many American films?
    Wonderful place to spend time with your family.

  5. Wow! this is a Lake District I was not familiar with. What a charming cabin and they are not terribly expensive-especially off-season. I’d love to do hard time at Convict Lake.

    1. To echo Rosie, you’re looking stylishly sturdy in that hiking outfit. LL Bean would be well advised to enlist you in a ad campaign.

  6. Beautiful, and sounds like a fun and somewhat adventure-filled trip.

    I know that area well and was engaged not too far away from there. Brings back lovely memories to see it. We’ve since moved far away but will be going back in December, this post has got me anticipating our trip even more.

  7. The solace of open spaces. Gretel Ehrlich (among others) has written about this, and it’s so true…

  8. Gosh, that looks beautiful! Quibbles notwithstanding, I bet you had a great time. I’m craving a nice weekend away somewhere rural or outdoorsy soon.

  9. The scenery is stunning, the lake.
    Do I see birch growing along the path?
    Thank you for sharing your first trip ” married ” with us!

  10. We love he eastern Sierras and would take a few days to camp at Twin Lakes when the boys were young and I was younger to be more of a good sport. :) Silver Lake is also gorgeous. I’ve heard of Convict but have never been but this looks like it would be a lovely place to enjoy. How did you know I was a party platoon kinda gal? ;) xoxo

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