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Convict Lake Campground Inyo National Forest California

Convict Lake Overview

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Convict Lake Campground has 88 campsites and is set in a beautiful Sierra Nevada canyon with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and 167-acre lake.  None of the campsites have hookups. Convict Creek flows through the campground and there are also shrubs, aspen and cottonwood trees growing along the creek. The campground is generally open from mid April through early October (weather permitting).

Campground amenities include vending machines, flush and vault toilets and a general store nearby. Campers can pay for showers at the Convict Lake Resort. A dump station is also located on Convict Lake road about 1/4 mile from the campground. Cell service is not available at the campground.

There are 48 reservable campsites and 40 first-come, first-served campsites at Convict Lake campground. The reservable campsites are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 43, 44, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 55, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 72, 75, 76, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87 and 88. All others are first-come, first-served. Each campsite has a table, fire ring and grill. Most sites also have food storage lockers. Firewood is available for sale.

Convict Lake is a very popular fishing and hiking destination with many other outdoor recreational opportunities for the family including biking, rock climbing, winter sports and wildlife viewing. There is also a general store, boat / equipment rentals, bait shop and restaurant.

Convict Lake History

Convict Lake used to be called Diablo Lake before Moses Black and Leander Morton escaped with about 29 others from the Nevada State Penitentiary back on September 17, 1871.  Seems there was quite the shoot out between the possess and outlaws close to Convict Creek. Black Morton and another of the convicts escaped toward Bishop, but the law soon caught up with them. They were eventually “lynched, tried and hung” by vigilantes.

If Convict Lake is full, you may try Old Shady Rest campground located in the nearby town of Mammoth Lakes.

Make a Reservation for Convict Lake

  • Bait Shop
  • BBQ Grills
  • Boat Launch/Ramp
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boat Rental
  • Camp Store
  • Campground Host
  • Campsite Tables
  • Cell Service - None
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Equestrian trail
  • Fire Pit
  • Fire Rings
  • Firewood Available
  • Food Storage Locker
  • Grills
  • Pets OK
  • Picnic Tables
  • Rentals
  • Restaurant
  • Restrooms (Flush Toilets, Vault Toilets)
  • Showers
  • Visitor Center
  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Boating (non motorized)
  • Canoeing
  • Creek
  • Fishing
  • Fly Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Horseback riding
  • Hunting
  • Kayaking
  • Lake
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nature Trails
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Stargazing
  • Swimming
  • Walking Trails
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Winter Sports
Convict Lake Road
Crowley Lake, California 93546
760 924-5500
Lat / Long:

37.59889, -118.85083

Make a Reservation

Convict Lake sold out? Get an alert when a campsite becomes available at Convict Lake!

Create Campsite Availability Alert
Best Campsites

6, 15, 16, 24, 26, 29, 33, 40, 52, 53, 57

Campsite Types
  • ADA
  • Cabin
  • RV
  • Tent
  • Trailer
# of Campsites:


Campsite Vehicle Size:

20 to 45 feet.


Mid April – Early October



Convict Lake Photos & Video

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Convict Lake Bathroom
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Convict Lake Sign
Convict Lake View
= Our Favorite Campsites

Convict Lake Comments & Reviews

Visited Convict Lake Campground lately? We'd love to hear about your adventure. Did you find us useful? Did we forget something? Anything our community should know before heading out to Convict Lake?

68 Comments on “Convict Lake”

  1. Vince Maes says:

    Super friendly camp hosts, clean campground, and disinfected restrooms (nice).

  2. Kees Teurlings says:

    Do you have a place for a RV-trailer of 20′ from June 20. till June 21.

    • Hi Kees,
      There are two Convict Lake Campground sites available for June 20 arrival and June 21 departure. Both will fit your RV-trailer of 20 feet. You’ll need to go to the Convict Lake campground page (HERE) and click on the ‘Make A Reservation’ button/link to check availability and make your reservation.

  3. I’m interested in seeing if there are unreserved/first come first serve sites available for the weekend of June 30- July 1, 2018. I don’t see the campground hosts number to contact for this information.

    • Hi Stacy,
      You may try the information number for Convict Lake Campground:760 924-5500, or you can try calling the Convict Lake Resort Marina at 760 934-3800. They may have a # for the campground host.
      That weekend should be really busy up there – the weekend before the 4th of July holiday, so whatever first-come, first-served spots will go quick. I’d advise arriving on Thursday to improve your chances.

  4. Lauren Adelaida Villa says:

    looking for a recommendation on which campsite to pick at convict- looking for something that is shaded and close to the water – either lake or creek and with a bit of privacy. any suggestions?

    • KARYN GINER says:


      • Hi Karyn,
        ReserveAmerica.com handles reservations for Convict Lake campground. Reservations are on a 6 month rolling window. For example, if you want to arrive on April 29, 2019 then the first day you can try and make a reservation is 6 months prior at 8am PST. So that would be October 29, 2018. It’s too early to try and make reservations as the system will not accept reservations (for April 29, 2019 arrival) until October 29th. On that date, click on the ‘Make A Reservation’ button from the Convict Lake campground page HERE.

  5. Hi site #63 mentions , “lakefront “ from the map it seems it is not ~ is this a typo on the description ?

    • Hi Davide,
      I’m not seeing where there is a reference on our site that campsite #63 at Convict Lake campground is lakefront. None of the campsites are on the lake. The campground is actually about 1/4 mile from Convict Lake.

      • Thank you , I figured none of the sites are on the lake , but for some reason on recreation.gov ~ it specifies proximity to water “ lakefront , … Thank you for the response

      • You’re welcome Davide.

        None are close to the water, but as I said – about a 1/4 mile walk will get you to the shore. Pretty views from every campsite though!

  6. Hello, we are interested in camping at convict lake from T 8/7-F8/10. What are the chances that there will be first come first served sites available? I can’t figure out how many of these sites there are.

    • Hi Wan,
      There are 48 reservable campsites and 40 first-come, first-served campsites at Convict Lake campground. The reservable campsites are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 43, 44, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 55, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 72, 75, 76, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87 and 88. All others are first-come, first-served.

      If you prefer to try for a reservable campsite, click on the ‘Make A Reservation’ button to check availability and make a reservation from the Convict Lake campground page.

  7. Hi does site 11 have a bear box ?

  8. Bob Metts says:

    I use a wheelchair and my wife helps me shower. Can I work this out this Sunday, Monday or Tuesday at Convict Lake Campground?

    • Hi Bob,
      CampsitePhotos.com is not associated with the campgrounds listed on our site. We provide the photos of each campsite, campground info and reservation links.
      Convict Lake campground does have ADA restrooms and showers, but you may want to call the campground to double check regarding your question: (760)924-5500

  9. Al lopez says:

    We plan to stay with 25′ RV arriving today(8/27/18) and stay till Wednesday, is there water & electric hook ups?

  10. Gene Gray says:

    The last site available on our trip window was site 55. I reserved it and noticed at the bottom it said there was no bear box. Is that true? I might want to reconsider this site.

    Thank you

    • Hi Gene,
      Not sure what website you were on that said campsite #55 at Convict Lake had no food storage/bear box, but if you check out the photo (HERE) – there is a food/bear storage box at campsite #55.

      • Hello,
        I read that information on recreation.gov website during the reservation process. I contacted the forest service and they said to go by the information they provide. They also suggested that the photo is outdated. I don’t know. Any chance for an updated photo of the sites? Thanks

      • Hi Gene,

        We just triple checked and all Convict Lake campground campsite photos listed on CampsitePhotos.com are accurate and correct. The photos do show the correct/updated campsite. The thumbnail photos on Rec.gov site are small and poorly shot so you really can’t get a good view of the site based on the Rec.gov photos.

  11. Thanks for the assurance. Thank you!

  12. Hi what campsite number are the ones at the end of the campground. We need 4 sites together.

    • Hi Deanna,

      Campsites 56, 57, 58 and 59 are at the end of Convict Lake campground. Camping is first-come, first-served during the winter months.

  13. Hi Bob
    Do you have shower Facilitie in campground?

  14. Michelle Williams says:

    We are having a family reunion at the end of June. Most of our family is staying in cabins. Can you suggest a campsite that is closest to the cabin area? Thank you so much and Happy New Year!!!

    • Hi Michelle,
      If you are walking from your campsite to the cabins, the closest Convict Lake campsites would be 36-42. You’d access a short (100 yard) trail from those campsites over to the cabins. If you’re going to drive, then you’d want sites 2, 3, 4, 5, 87 or 88. It’s about a 1/2 mile drive from these campsites to the cabins.
      Have a great trip!

  15. Camp Ranger,

    I am looking for a campground site map which is printable.
    I’ve been on the reservation site and the map shows sections then with zoom you can view individual sites. I’d like a map with all sites, showing restroom locations, amenities, etc. I like to mark these maps up for my use and future reference. Thank you

    • Hi Craig,
      Unfortunately we have not been able to find a map of Convict Lake campground either (other than the one on the reservation site). Once the snow clears, we will try and get a photographer back up there to see if they have one at the campground we can photograph.

  16. Ray Irons says:

    We have a reservation for site #69 from Sun May 25 -Sat Jun 1st. I wanted to know if there is anyplace in the campground where I can top off my fresh water tank. We will be coming from over 200 miles away and If I can get fresh water in the campground, I won’t have to travel with a full load all the way from home.

    • Hi Ray,

      We’re not sure if there is water available for trailers/RVs to top off their tanks. There are water spigots at Convict Lake campground though. Might be best to give the campground a call to ask: 760-924-5500

  17. Does anyone know how the first come first served sites work? Do you just drive around to see which of the sites are open? Or is the host available 24 hours to assist?

    • Hi Carmina,
      You can either drive around Convict Lake campground and see what first-come, first-serve campsites are available (usually vacant with no ‘reserved’ ticket on the post), or you can check in with the Camp Host. If you do claim an available site, the Camp Host will come by to collect payment. Hope this helps!

  18. Hi. I will be visiting for the first time and want to camp Thursday, September 5. There are many sites to choose from. Can you recommend a few numbered spots for a great one night experience? Thank you so much!!!

    • Hi Joe,
      Convict Lake is a really great place to visit and camp. Our favorite Convict Lake campsites are: 6, 15, 16, 24, 26, 29, 33, 40, 52, 53 and 57. Have a great time!

  19. Hi,

    Looking for sights near one of the restrooms. Is there one close to #38 and #43? Thanks, asking for a friend…:)

    • Hi Matt,
      The Convict Lake campsites closest to restrooms are: 5-6-69-8; 72-64-65; 32-27-33-34; 49-50-51-48, and 44-43-38 are also fairly close to one.


    We are looking to tent camp, but a lot of the sites look very small. Our tent is quite large (20 feet x 10 feet). Are there any particular sites you would recommend? Thank you!

    • Hi Michelle,
      Convict Lake campsites that are good for large tents include 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 15, 17, 32, 48, 50 and 62. These should fit your 20×10 tent).

  21. Brian Pence says:

    We are considering a family trip to the area in late October, and may stay at Convict Lake. What is the weather like there in October? Are dogs allowed in the campground and on the trails (properly leashed and controlled)?

    • Hi Brian,
      Convict Lake will see high temperatures in the low 60s and low 30s in October. The area also gets about 3 inches of rain. An early winter storm may swing through and drop some snow, but that’s rare in October. Dogs are allowed in the campground (on a leash). Dogs are also allowed on the main beach (with a leash), but if you walk a bit further around the lake they are allowed off leash.

  22. Hi there,

    We have booked site #80 for an upcoming trip as it as the only one available. There will be about 5 people and 3 small to medium sized tents, do you think we will have room for all of them? Is there sufficient shade anywhere? It is hard to tell from photos I have found online.
    Also, how often are bears spotted at the campgrounds and has it ever been a problem if all recommendations are followed?
    Are campires allowed at this time of year? Thanks so much 🙂

    • Hi Kris,
      Yes, you can have up to 2 vehicles and 6 people in campsite #80. The designated tent pad area is about 20×20 feet. You may be able to fit 3 small tents in the area, and there may be room between the table and parking pad area for another. Bears do frequent the area, but have not been a big problem yet this year. Campfires are allowed in the fire pit. Have a great time!

  23. I am planning a trip for the middle of September and was wondering how accessible the lake is to those who have trouble walking. We plan on doing some fishing so we’d need to get pretty close naturally.

    • Hi Cody,
      The entrance to Convict Lake campgrounds is a few hundred feet from the lake, but campsites further back in the campground are about 3/4 of a mile. There is a day use parking area next to the lake with a nice trail down to the water. There’s also a trail around the lake and you can easily access the lake from any point to do some fishing. Here’s an aerial view:
      Convict Lake Aerial View

  24. Hello! We currently have campsite #55 booked for an upcoming trip and we’re having a hard time figuring out if our 18×10 tent would fit on the pad. We’d prefer to have it in the dirt so we can stake it down. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Rachel,
      Sorry we didn’t have a very good picture of site #55. I’ll get a photographer to reshoot that campground soon. I checked on Rec.gov, and they didn’t have details as for the tent pad space. However, I took a screen shot of the aerial view and it looks like you’ll have room at end of parking spur for your tent:
      Convict Lake Campsite #55 Aerial View

  25. hello, Whats the cellular data signal like? i have Verizon and I’m wondering if I can get signal to use the internet while I’m there.

    • Hi Rebeca,

      Not sure about the Verizon cell phone coverage up at Convict Lake campground. I heard it is ‘spotty’, but not sure. I recommend calling the Convict Lake Resort to see what they say: (800) 992-2260

  26. The Campground details say there are showers and a dump station but my husband says that is not true. Can you advise where they are located.

    • Hi Candy,
      Unless the changed their policy, campers can pay for showers at nearby Convict Lake Resort. Also, according to USFS website, there is a dump station located on Convict Lake Road about 1/4 mile from the campground.

    • Hi Candy,
      Unless the changed their policy, campers can pay for showers at nearby Convict Lake Resort. Also, according to USFS website, there is a dump station located on Convict Lake Road about 1/4 mile from the campground. We plan on reshooting the campground later this fall and will try to confirm.

  27. What’s the process once you arrive at your campsite? Is there a check-in process of any kind? Also, how do the first come first serve sites work in terms of payment? Thank you!

    • Hi Brett,

      Once you arrive, you can swing by the camp host (if there is still one there). If not, you can take any available campsite that is not reserved and/or have equipment in it. Either the ranger or camp host will come by to check you in and collect payment.

  28. What are my chance on getting a 2 sites on the weekend of july 9th-11th on a first come first serve and when is the best time to arrive

    • Hi Gerry,
      Convict Lake will most likely sell out all weekends through the summer. I recommend arriving Thursday for a chance to get a campsite over the weekend. If Thursday is not doable, then early Friday morning. Best of luck.

  29. Gerry Palomo says:

    What are my chances to get a spot on first come first serve on the week of July 9th-11th

    • Hi Gerry,
      Most likely Convict Lake campground will be full the weekend of July 9-11. I doubt you’ll get a site with a July 9 arrival as most who come up for the weekend get there on Thursday.

  30. Hi, my father and I plan on coming up for 3 days this September after the 15th in the middle of the week. We’d like some flexibility on the exact dates if possible though. Would it be easy enough to get a first come first serve site without worrying about the campground being full at that time of the year in the middle of the week or should we make reservations to be sure to get a site?

    • Hi Jason,
      You’ll have no problem getting a campsite with a mid-week (September) arrival at Convict Lake. There should be plenty of first-come, first-serve sites, as well as reservable campsites available. Have a good time up there!

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