Hot Creek Geologic Site

Hot Creek Geologic Site is located near Mammoth, Lake just off the 395 Highway in Mono County, California. The stream originates from Twin Lakes in Mammoth and continues on to Lake Crowley. The site is located near and a beautiful cold water stream which is located over a geothermal vent. Warm water is heated from a magma chamber located about three miles below the earths surface and bubbles up into the steam warming the water.

Hot Creek located off the 395 highway near Mammoth in Mono County, California
Hot Creek located off the 395 highway near Mammoth in Mono County, California

The Hot Creek does offer excellent fishing opportunities and popular among fly fisherman. Fishing used to be limited to barbless hooks.

No Swimming

The stream is now closed to swimming becuase “Earthquakes can cause sudden geyser eruptions and overnight appearances of new hot springs at Hot Creek.  Water temperatures can change rapidly, and so entering the water is prohibited. ” Reports of hot water geysers up to 6 feet tall in 2006 and rapidly fluctuating temperatures apparently caused the closure of the stream to swimming.

My grandfather used to point out that some hot water vents where not in the same locations as when he was a child. Perhaps, within my life the hot springs area has become too dangerous to swim.

J Rathbun

As a child and young adult, the stream was open to swimming and my family did this routinely on almost every trip. I recall active conversations about the possibility of an geyser eruption which would kill us and we understood the risk of swimming. However, we also understood the possibility of an such an event was very remote when one considers the geologic time tables. My grandfather used to point out that some hot water vents where not in the same locations as when he was a child. Perhaps, within my life, the area has become too dangerous to swim.

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Convict Lake

Convict Lake is located on the east side High Sierra Mountains in Mono County, California below Mount Morrison (12,241 ft). The serene lake is nestled in a serene canyon and offers great opportunities for boating, hiking, fishing and camping. Overall, the lake if an oblong shape, and carved from the hard rock from glaciers and at 140 feet deep, it is one of the deepest in the area. Paiute Indians called the lake Wit-sa-nap

Another beautiful day at Convict Lake, in the High Sierra Mountains
Another beautiful day at Convict Lake, in the High Sierra Mountains

Some History

Originally known to Europeans as Monte Diablo and named Convict Lake after an prison escape on September 17, 1871 in near by Carson City, Nevada. About half of the twenty nine convicts followed Charlie Jones, who use to life in the area, into the area on Monte Diablo (Convict) Creek a few miles away from the lake. While camping near the creek, the party killed a local man.

The killing prompted the local community to form a posse on September 22, 1871 which encountered the convicts at the creek where a gun battle ensued. By November 1, the convicts were either captured, or dead and many of them executed on the way back. Convict Lake is certainly a well deserved if not macabre name.

Today

Today, the lake has all anyone could ask of a lake in the High Sierra. The lake and stream offers great fishing of Rainbow Trout and Brownie Trout.

It was like a scene from “Grumpy Old Men”, when a man walked into the store in a tuxedo while I am purchasing a fishing license.

J. Rathbun

There is a small boat rental shop near the north end of the lake. A trail circumnavigates the lake and offers a great hike and many places to picnic. In some areas around the lake the trail is inundated with California Wild Rose which offers a blast of pink in a green hedge.

California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) found around Convict Lake, California
California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) found around Convict Lake, California

Visitors to the lake may enjoy camping, fishing, hiking and boating. A small general store can help stock up your supplies or buy a fishing license.

For those not into camping, there is a nice small resort at the lake were you can rent a cabin, and on my last visit, a wedding was hosted there. It was like a scene from “Grumpy Old Men”, when a man walked into the store in a tuxedo while I am purchasing a fishing license. The resort is a decent size, meaning that it is not too large and does not detract from the scenery.

Overall, Convict Lake is a great place to camp and visit, and I just can’t wait to get back.

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Convict Lake Campground

Convict Lake Campground is a wonderful location to camp in the amazing High Sierra Mountain near Convict Lake in Mono County, California. The campground is located about 100 yards from Convict Lake and some of the sites will have views of the lake. Those sites which do not have a view of the lake must simply take in the wonderful rugged High Sierra Mountains as their back drop.

A deer walking the road into Convict Lake Campground
A deer walking the road into Convict Lake Campground

The campground is situated so that Convict Creek runs down its length on one side. The small creek offers a wonderful sound track to some of the campsites. It’s easy access allows you to walk from the campsite to the creek in about 10 seconds. This is a nice place to fish, or just take a nap in the afternoon. I can speak from first hand experience that bear will also use paths near to creek to enter and egress the campground.

I can speak from first hand experience that bear will also use paths near Convict Creek to enter and egress the campground.

J. Rathbun
Convict Creek offers fishing and a few spots to take a nap.
Convict Creek offers fishing and a few spots to take a nap.

Overall, I have enjoyed every stay at this campsite, and each visit is memorable. The campground offers great access to all of the activities at Convist Lake and a good place to jump off when exploring the Eastern Sierra.

Depending upon the time of year, you may need to make reservations. My past few trips were hunting for Fall Colors and in October the camp ground typically has some good first come first serve camp sites. The campground is typically serene, quiet and a wonderful place to be.

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Lone Pine Campground

Lone Pine Campground is a wonderful campground in the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in Inyo County, California. The campground is located between Line Pine Creek and Inyo Creek just a few miles west of Lone Pine. The campground is located the site of the old Rock Creek sawmill. This sawmill once operated at this location from the 1930s thru the 1950s.

Mt Whitney looms large over the High Sierra, outside of Lone Pine, California
Mt Whitney looms large over the High Sierra, outside of Lone Pine, California

Lone Pine Campground is a great place to stay. It is very scenic located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The sites are reasonably large and suitable for trailers. The Whitney Portal National Recreation Trail begins at west end of the campground. There is fishing in the nearby Lone Pine Creek and lots of outdoor activities.

The creek is of special significance to me personally. My grandfather taught me how to fish is the cool waters of the stream just about 50 feet away from our campsite. I was about five years old and remember placing my line in the waters in a nearby pool. My memory is that within 15 minutes I caught my limit of 10 fish, at that time. My dad to this day maintains that they recently stocked the stream, however I continue to maintain that this was early skill on may part.

This campground is a known bear active area, so safe food handling and trash disposal should be observed to protect yourself and the bears.

Campground Summary

NameLone Pine Campground
LocationLone Pine, Inyo County, California
Latitude, Longitude36.5974524,-118.1870643
Elevation5885 feet
Sites42
AmenitiesVault Toilet, Bear Boxes, Tables

Directions

Located on Whitney Portal Road, six miles west of the town of Lone Pine, California.

Lone Pine Campground Map

References

Twin Lakes Campground

Twin Lakes Campground is a beautiful campground located in the Mammoth Lakes area of the High Sierra in Mono County, California. The campground offers views of the lake, and is quite popular due to its location on the mountain.

Twin Lakes Campground, Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes, California.  Photo by Paul Wight
Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes, California. Photo by Paul Wight

The lake offers tremendous fishing and opportunities for hiking and enjoying the picturesque scenery. The fishing at Twin Lakes features Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout and on more than one trip, my evenings were spent watching sunsets while fly fishing. The peak season is from late May to early September each year.

The campground offers access to many nearby activities including Devils Postpile, Reds Meadow, Rainbow falls and Hot Creek. Campsites typically share parking and the sites are reasonably flat. Tall pine trees offer shade from the high altitude sun.

This campground is in bear country and typically bears activity is fairly high. All food and scented items must be stored in the lockers. All trash must be disposed of in the bear proof trash receptacles. Do not store food, trash or scented items in your vehicle.

Campground Summary

NameTwin Lakes Campground
LocationMammoth Lakes, Mono County, Californi
Latitude, Longitude37.6162715, -119.0121571
Elevation8589 Feet
Number of Sites92
AmenitiesCampfires Permitted, Flushable Toilets, Pet-friendly, Picnic Areas, RV Sites, Reservations Accepted, Tent Sites, Tables, Bear Boxes

Twin Lakes Campground Map

Resources