Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington, United States

4.5 (45 reviews) Spent Ranking #9 in North Cascades National Park National Parks

Crystal Blue Waters

Peaceful area great for picnicking and hiking.
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, Washington, United States, Postal Code: 98283.

Current local date and time now

Sunday, March 03, 2024, 2:21

User Ratings

4.5 based on (45 reviews)



  • 5D. Liu 5:00 PM Aug 29, 2021
    Incredible Place to Visit
    Spent 3 days on Ross Lake and Lake Diablo. Incredible Scenary and Place to Visit. Rented a Canoe on the way here from Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham and was able to canoe both lakes. HIghly recommended.

  • 5Rainier72 5:00 PM Aug 27, 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.