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“Great experience if you plan ahead”

Ross Lake National Recreation Area
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Attraction details
Owner description: Peaceful area great for picnicking and hiking.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

Boat-in camp sites need to be reserved. For canoeists, plan to put in on Diablo reservoir, then get shuttled by truck up to Ross. Very different experience.

Thank moley99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"ross lake"
in 14 reviews
"nice view"
in 3 reviews
"beautiful area"
in 2 reviews
"picnic"
in 3 reviews
"miles"
in 5 reviews
"diablo"
in 4 reviews
"dam"
in 4 reviews
"trail"
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21 - 25 of 30 reviews

Reviewed November 5, 2012

Again, night travel on our bus tour. Scheduled a stop to cook at their campground facility. Great covered space and surprise! A full kitchen! It was separate from the campers so we didn't disturb anyone. There from about 9pm to midnight.

Thank MotherHubbard123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

When the sun is shining, the lake is an emerald dream. No matter what you choose to do, you'll be enchanted. Cross the bridge over to the North Cascades Institute to enjoy the lake from the boat launch of the Ross Lake Resort. Several hikes start from here.

3  Thank rootsandshoots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2011

Ross Lake NRA is a part of the North Cascades National Park Complex. A lot of it lies around Highway 20, but there are other places off the main road you can get to as well. We stayed mainly within the vicinity of the highway and I'll use this review to name some highlights within the NRA that don't have their own review pages.

1. North Cascades Visitors Center-Just outside Newhalem. Visitors center mainly talks about the mountains and wildlife. There are a lot of short trails that take off from the vicinity of the center and Newhalem. These include Skagit River Loop, Sterling Munro overlook, and the Rock Shelter near the center. Ladder Creek Falls and the Trail of the Cedars take off from Newhalem. All are easy. There is climbing of stairs at Ladder Creek Falls. The Skagit River Loop is the longest at 1.8 miles. Sterling Munro is very short but has a nice overlook. Rock Shelter is an old historic Indian site. Trail of the Cedars is mainly a nature walk but there are some interesting signs as well. The National Park Service and Seattle City Light also offer walking tours of Newhalem which are very informative as well. Newhalem has quite a history.

2. Seattle City Light Skagit Tours- After a nice lunch made from local foods and a short walk or bus drive, the tours of Diablo Lake are scenic and wonderful. It takes you upriver to a very small peek of Ross Dam. Lots of history and scenery to behold. Off Highway 20 around MP 126. Drive over Diablo Dam and then go right to the end. Reservations needed.

3. Gorge Creek Overlook-Nice, short loop trail near MP 123. One side of the highway you encounter a nice view of Gorge Lake and Dam. Other side of the highway is a beautiful waterfall.

4. Thunder Knob Trail-Colonial Creek Campground. Parking is on Highway 20. This is a nice stroll up to some viewpoints. The first one on the left after 1.8 miles is the best one. No trees blocking your view of Diablo Lake and some of the peaks. It is a 3.6 mile round trip with a 400 foot elevation gain, but it doesn't feel like it. Nice trail to take friends on when they are visting the area.

5. Diablo Lake Overlook-Just up the road and hill from Thunder Knob. If you don't feel like hiking, this is the viewpoint for you. More views of the lake and more mountains to enjoy. Lots of interpretive signs and restrooms are available. A must stop on the highway.

There are some overlooks of Ross Lake on maps as well even though they are not marked on the highway. Just look for some interpretive signs up the road from Diablo Lake and you'll have some nice views of Ross Lake. We had a very clear day and Hozomeen Mountain was in view and that is almost Canada.

Very scenic area. Don't forget the camera.

19  Thank Rainier72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 30, 2011

Just back form a wonderful week on Ross Lake. What would I have liked to know before we left for our trip? 1. Canoeing gear rented from Ross Lake Resort is of high quality and appropriate for the conditions. Though they do not rent dry suits. Traveling with young-ish children, I do recommend them. The suits also made for much more pleasant and longer-lasting swimming sessions. 2. I estimate that for every hour you canoe up-lake, it will take you three hours to canoe down-lake (back to Ross Lake Resort and the dam). We had fair and pleasant weather, but still, even the moderate breeze was enough resistance to give one a good workout. 3. The poop shacks (aka outhouses) are right next to the camping spots. Be prepared for a pungent odor unless you are lucky enough to land a spot at a distance, or upwind. Also, just because you reserved a "group site" be prepared for not enough sites to set up your tent. We spent a night at a "group site" that had two tent pads. We were a gorup of seven with a total of four tents.

13  Thank burgluroonie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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