Taboose Creek and Convict Lake
This was a quick trip up to the Eastern Sierra, staying only one night at Taboose Creek campground. The original plan was to cut in at Lone Pine and stay in the Alabama Hills, but I decided to change destinations on the way. The main destination of the weekend was Convict Lake, and the further north I could go without hitting snow or ice, the better.
Date Range – January 15-16
Campground – Taboose Creek
Distance – 251 miles
Closest Town – Big Pine, CA
I first tried to go down Glacier Lodge Road in Big Pine, towards Sage Flat campground. It’s usually open all year, but because of all the recent storms in the mountains, the road was closed off due to fallen rocks. From there I decided I was close enough to try and go north to Bishop and stay at Bitterbrush campground. Because it was late at night, I wasn’t able to see all the snow beginning to pile up on the side of the road. I finally got to Bitterbrush, only to find that the whole campground was under multiple feet of snow.
Sunrise over the Eastern Sierra
From there the best bet for a campsite was just south of Big Pine, at either Goodale or Taboose Creek. I decided to stay at Taboose Creek for the first time, and it was completely empty. I got a spot right next to the creek and enjoy the silence of the night. The morning brought an amazing view of the sun coloring snow-covered Sierra peaks in a bright orange hue. The top of Mt. Whitney was barely peaking over the eastern ridge and was the first piece of the range to see the sun.
After breakfast, the goal was to go north towards Convict Lake. I had seen it before in the spring and fall, but never in winter when it’s frozen over and covered in snow. The roads began to get icy around the turn off of Highway 395, and almost all of the left-hand turn lane was covered in 4 feet of snow. Convict Lake road was moderately icy, but it was starting to melt quickly with the sun already being up for a few hours.
Convict Lake was incredible. Around the outside there was about three feet of snow built up, so powdery it wouldn’t even hold together in a ball. The view was serene, as the frozen white lake sat completely still in front of Mt. Morrison and Laurel Mountain. On the other side, snow melt had Convict Creek flowing strong, adding an unexpected element of sound with rushing water.