Convict Lake sounded like a bad scary movie title the first time I heard it.
I was even a little skeptical about the place just based off the name to be totally honest.
However, I believe Shakespeare said it best “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet“.
Despite it’s somewhat off putting name, Convict Lake is absolutely stunning. If you’re a history buff, you might actually enjoy the background of how this beautiful location got a somewhat, well, ugly name! According to Wikipedia “The lake was named after an incident on September 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.” Apparently, the name isn’t quite as scary as we first thought, but given it’s October, we might try to make it scary anyway!
While the weather was less than agreeable for two nights in a tent, I would brave 40MPH winds and rain again any time to experience this kind of beauty. Sure, you could visit in the warmer months, but October provides the kind of colors and smells that will take your breath away. It’s just quiet enough that the deer wonder right into your camp ground and the raccoons visit you at night. Just be sure to lock up any food or remittence of food. Bears are common in the area and even animals as cute as raccoons can be quite aggressive if they feel threatened. So, make sure to take advantage of the locked trash cans located throughout the camp site.
Speaking of deer, the wild life has grown accustom to visitors and given the local hunting rules, have come to trust the visitors on the camp sites. So much so, that when I approached a doe to take photos, as I came closer and closer to my surprise she stood unafraid. In most cases, you’re lucky to get within 10 feet of a deer before they prance off spooked. At one point, I sat in the bushes to get a closer shot and three deer came to visit me, sniffing and even licking my face. I was literally petting them like they were your common house cat! Of course, I caution here that you should not feed the wild animals and keep in mind that they are in fact wild and unpredictable. Honestly, even knowing all of this, I just could not resist. I was in complete awe and childlike amazement at the opportunity to pet a deer! I mean, a real life in the wild deer! It was the absolute highlight of the trip in my opinion.
If you’re not lucky enough to pet a real wild dear, take the 2 hour hike around the incredibly beautiful lake and you’ll feel like you won the lottery of beauty. This time of year provides crisp clear views and even a little snow fall on the peaks. Light rain fall produced the most incredible rainbow, which lasted well over an hour above the lake from mountain to mountain long. The photos really take themselves with the famous Mount Morrison as your back drop, you cannot go wrong. There are a multitude of activities you can do here if photography isn’t your thing from hiking to horse back riding and of course some of the best trout fishing around. Their facility is conveniently equipped with clean restrooms and paved roads leading up to each camp site. You can choose to bring an RV or simply drive up and set up your tent. Each camp site has it’s own picnic table and fire pit, which includes a grill atop as well. Please be sure to check the local fire advisories based on weather.
It will run you about $23.00 a night to book your camp site and an additional $5.00 per added car. This makes for an incredibly affordable family weekend trip. Available activities will vary depending on the time of year, be sure to check. You can easily book your trip with Recreation.gov or if camping is just not really your thing, book a room at the Convict Lake Resort where you can stay in a cozy and beautiful cabin. The resort has a five star restaurant, which I am told is amazing! Unfortunately, I was unable to dine there last time as a wedding had booked the restaurant all weekend. Make sure to book early if you go that route, they are now offering reservations for weddings and can fill up fast. In fact, we looked into booking a cabin and they were all full for this weekend! So, when we make it back for a cabin stay or to try out the restaurant, I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes.
Have you ever gotten that close to a deer?