Your Ultimate Guide to Getting to Ross Lake Resort: Travel Tips, Activities, and More

Ever dreamt of a serene escape nestled in the heart of the North Cascades? Ross Lake Resort is that dream come true. But getting there can be a bit of a puzzle. No worries, though. We’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re an adventure junkie seeking the thrill of a boat ride or someone who prefers the scenic route, we’ll guide you through the best ways to reach this hidden gem. Let’s demystify the journey to Ross Lake Resort, ensuring your trip is as smooth as the lake’s glassy surface.

So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to navigate the path to your next great adventure. You’re just a read away from unlocking the secrets to a stress-free journey to Ross Lake Resort.

Key Takeaways

  • Ross Lake Resort is situated in the heart of the North Cascades and can be accessed via boat or foot. It’s close to cities like Seattle (174 miles) and Vancouver (157 miles). Planning your journey from these points of origin will help ensure a smooth trip.
  • Preparation for the trip should include packing essential items, such as waterproof clothing, solar chargers, insect repellant, fishing gear, and a camera. Understanding the best time to visit Ross Lake Resort is also crucial, with the summer time from July to September usually being the most agreeable for outdoor activities.
  • Traveling to Ross Lake Resort involves a bit of adventure. It can be reached by car from Seattle, Vancouver, and Spokane to Diablo Lake. From there, you will need to either hike or take a boat to reach the resort. Public transportation is also available through Skagit Transit from Burlington to Newhalem.
  • Special restrictions and permits are required when visiting Ross Lake Resort due to its location within the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. This includes a wilderness permit for overnight stays in the backcountry and a boat permit for private boaters.
  • Upon arrival at Ross Lake Resort, transportation to the resort can be arranged either by boat from Diablo Dam or Colonial Creek Boat Ramp. Hiking trails such as Pyramid and Pyramid Lake Trails, Big Beaver and Little Beaver Trails also lead to the resort.
  • Once at Ross Lake Resort, a wealth of recreational activities await, from hiking along picturesque trails to canoeing or kayaking on the lake. The resort offers several well-appointed cabins and bunkhouses providing basic amenities. Water taxi services and boat rentals are also available.

Understanding the Location of Ross Lake Resort

Immersing yourself in the tranquility of Ross Lake Resort starts with comprehension of its locale. Grasp the geography and recognize its closeness to some significant cities and towns.

The Geography of Ross Lake

Nestled deep within the North Cascades, Ross Lake Resort truly exemplifies seclusion. It’s situated on a narrow stretch of land, bordering the turquoise waters of Ross Lake. Wrap your mind around the overarching mountains that surround the resort, privileging it with an unparalleled beauty. Often, visitors liken the intense color of the lake to gems like emerald and sapphire, emphasizing its unique allure. This impressively scenic location, combined with the lush forest surroundings, confidently secure Ross Lake as an exquisite natural oasis.

Proximity to Nearby Cities and Towns

Map your trip effectively to Ross Lake Resort by acknowledging the distances from the nearest urban centers. With Seattle at an estimated 174 miles to the West and Vancouver (CA) about 157 miles North, plan your journey accordingly. Closer yet, you’ll find towns like Burlington and Sedro-Woolley, both less than 100 miles away. Here’s a comprehensive chart to help you visualize your trip:

LocationDistance (in miles)
Vancouver (CA)157

Bear in mind, these distances represent the drive till Ross Dam trailhead, your final driving point. From there, the resort is accessible via boat or foot, adding an extra layer of adventure. This isn’t your average resort – it’s a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Preparing for Your Trip to Ross Lake Resort

In orchestrating your journey to Ross Lake Resort, preparations become vital. This section aims to help you perfect the puzzle pieces of your upcoming trip. Specifically, we’ll delve into what essential items to take along, and also discern the best times to visit.

Essential Items to Pack

Primed for the wild elements of the North Cascades, your gear list for Ross Lake Resort ought to exhibit durability, practicality, and versatility. Include gear like waterproof clothing as unpredictable weather is a hallmark trait of the region. Additionally, as Ross Lake Resort lacks electrical outlets in cabins, solar chargers emerge as a saving grace.

Remember, also, that insects can be a nuisance here. Consequently, inclusion of bug spray and protective head nets is prudent. For anglers, fishing gear joins the essentials; Ross Lake is ever-inviting to those yearning to snag trout or salmon from its sapphirine depths. Lastly, don’t forget a quality camera. You’ll want to capture the unmatched beauty of your surroundings.

  • Waterproof Clothing – Weather changing rapidly from sunny to stormy is quite common here. Therefore, pack waterproof jackets and trousers.
  • Solar Chargers – Given the absence of electricity, solar chargers are invaluable.
  • Insect Repellant and Head Nets – Ensure comfort by guarding against the many insects in the area.
  • Fishing Gear – For those who enjoy fishing, Ross Lake is home to numerous fish species.
  • Quality Camera – Capture the scenic delights of your resort stay with a good camera.

Understanding the Best Times to Visit

Determining the optimal time to visit Ross Lake Resort is both critical and subjective, dependent on your preferred activities and personal tolerance for varying weather conditions. For instance, on one hand, every July to September, the weather is usually most agreeable for outdoor activities. On the other hand, those who don’t mind chilly temperatures may find quiet solace during the off-peak season.

Here’s a quick seasonal breakdown.

  • Summer(June – August): Experience long, sunny days and warm temperatures. Ideal for boating, fishing, hiking.
  • Fall(September – November): Crisp air, colorful foliage. A perfect setting for photographers and anglers.
  • Winter(December – February): Mostly closed due to harsh weather. A season for the tranquil-seeking, off-peak adventurer.
  • Spring(March – May): Unpredictable weather but with fewer crowds, and a paradise for wildflower lovers.

With this information, plan your trip to Ross Lake Resort and tune into the serene rhythm of nature while nestled within the jewels of the North Cascades. Preparations play a significant role in accomplishing a stress-free and extraordinary visit to this hidden gem.

Traveling to Ross Lake Resort

When it’s time to set out on your journey, know that reaching Ross Lake Resort requires a bit of adventure. Accessible only by boat or hiking, it lays claim to a unique, true wilderness experience.

By Car: Routes and Directions

Planning your car journey allows you to start your adventure on the right note. Here are a few routes and directions you’ll have to consider.

  • From Seattle: Head east on Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway. You’ll pass by the scenic Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and several captivating viewpoints. Route 20 takes you directly to the shores of Diablo Lake, where you’ll have to park your vehicle.
  • From Vancouver, BC: Head south on BC-1 E and cross the US border. Switch to Route 9, then Route 20. You’ll encounter Diablo Lake after passing through the North Cascade’s prominent peaks.
  • From Spokane: Head west from Spokane on US-2 W. Transition to Route 97 and then Route 20 to reach Diablo Lake.

Once at Diablo Lake, prepare yourself for a hike or a boat ride across the water. Remember that cars are not permitted beyond this point.

By Public Transportation: Schedules and Tips

Public transportation to Ross Lake Resort adds an extra layer of complexity, but it’s doable. Skagit Transit operates a seasonal service (late spring through fall) from Burlington to Newhalem, near the trailhead for Diablo Lake. Keep in mind that you’ll need to hike or boat from here to reach the resort.

Follow these steps to plan your trip:

  1. Depart from Burlington daily around noon with Skagit Transit’s Route 750.
  2. Arrive in Newhalem after approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  3. Hike or use a boat service to reach Ross Lake Resort.

Remember, it’s crucial to check public transportation schedules in advance, as time may vary seasonally.

Restrictions and Permits Required

Ensuring you’re well-informed about restrictions and required permits is essential. As Ross Lake National Recreation Area is part of the National Park Service, you’ll require a wilderness permit for overnight stays in the backcountry.

Hiking routes, such as the popular Ross Dam Trail, are open year-round, but seasonal closures may occur due to weather conditions or wildlife activity. Be sure to check with the North Cascades National Park visitor center for the most current trail conditions and restrictions.

At Ross Lake Resort, private boaters can access the resort, given they possess a boat permit, available at all North Cascades National Park visitor Centers. Remember, motorized boats must use 10 horsepower motors or less. Restrictions apply to the type of fishing gear used, so it’s best to verify current regulations before you embark on your fishing expedition.

Arriving at Ross Lake Resort

Your arduous journey could culminate into a magnificent experience at the Ross Lake Resort, located in the lap of the North Cascades.

Boat Transportation to the Resort

Engage with nature on your voyage by opting for boat transportation. Straddled between the mountains, Ross Lake is an elongated, reservoir accessible by boat from two launch points: the Resort Ferry from Diablo Dam, and the Colonial Creek Boat Ramp if you’re arriving from the North.

Do remember, ferry operations vary seasonally, typically operating from late June through the end of October, with daily service from July through September.

Use the Resort Ferry, it’s a 60-minute ride, breathtakingly envelops you in the beauty of the North Cascades. The schedule to her call is solely dependent on permit-only parking availability near Diablo Dam. Ferry charges, standing at $25 per adult and $20 per child, could limit your budget, but the scenic beauty compensates for it.

Arriving from the North, it’s possible to paddle into Ross Lake Resort in your boat through the boat ramp at Hozomeen Campground. This route, though, has its constraints as it’s unattended by ferries and accessible only via Silver-Skagit Road from Hope in British Columbia due to road closure at the international boundary.

Hiking Trails Leading to the Resort

Not a fan of the water? An alternate solution comes in the form of scenic trails leading you into the heart of Ross Lake Resort.

From Pyramid Lake Trailhead at Diablo, hike into the resort via Pyramid and Pyramid Lake Trails. It’s a steep 2-mile trek, so keep your hiking boots on. An overnight stay allows for a smoother experience with authorized backcountry camping on Ross Lake. Be ready, though, for the Wilderness Permit, an absolute requirement for every overnight hiker.

The adventurous spirit may lean towards the Big Beaver and Little Beaver Trails. Intricate pathways along towering cedar trees, moss-laden Hemlocks and lush ferns guide you into Ross Lake’s southern end. These trailheads, accessible from State Route 20, quite conveniently connect you with Seaplane Base Shuttle, if that’s more to your liking.

Whether it’s by boat or boot, Ross Lake Resort awaits your arrival, enveloped in the serenity of the North Cascades, promising an unforgettable wilderness experience.

Things to Do Upon Arriving at Ross Lake Resort

Recreational Activities at Ross Lake

Engage in a wealth of recreational activities at Ross Lake once you’ve finally arrived. It’s a paradise brimming with diverse opportunities for all to relish. Hike along the picturesque lake trails, notable ones include Big Beaver and Little Beaver trails, offering supreme views of the lush wilderness and diverse wildlife. Rent a canoe or kayak from the resort and paddle across the cool waters of the lake. It’s a magical, serene experience you’ll cherish. Take on an angling endeavor, Ross Lake houses various species of fish such as rainbow, cutthroat, bull trout, and kokanee salmon. Remember, a Washington State fishing license remains indispensable for any fishing activity, ensuring legal compliance and conservation efforts.

Services and Amenities at the Resort

Ross Lake Resort ensures comfort during your stay. It offers numerous well-appointed cabins and bunkhouses, each equipped with basic amenities for a comfortable, rustic wilderness experience. Kitchen facilities, equipped with utensils, allow you to prepare meals while soaking in the picturesque views of the lake. Note, groceries and supplies wouldn’t be found within the resort premises. Proximate urban areas, like Newhalem or Marblemount, furnish ample supply opportunities. To address transportation needs, the resort provides water taxi services, allowing ease of access to various hiking trailheads and other points of interest around the lake. Additionally, boat rentals, including motor boats and canoes, guarantee thrilling water adventures. Wi-Fi isn’t available throughout the resort, promoting a digital detox, hence pack your stay with activities to take full advantage of the beautiful natural setting at Ross Lake.


So, you’re all set to make your way to Ross Lake Resort. You’ve got a clear understanding of the travel routes, the need for permits, and the restrictions in place. You’re ready to immerse yourself in the recreational activities the resort offers, from hiking the Big Beaver and Little Beaver trails to kayaking or canoeing on the lake. You’re even prepared for a digital detox, knowing there’s no Wi-Fi. Just remember, there are no groceries on-site, so plan accordingly. With all this knowledge, your trip to Ross Lake Resort is bound to be a memorable one. It’s time to pack your bags and set off on your adventure.

Ross Lake Resort in Washington State is a remote and scenic getaway offering a range of outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and canoeing. Access to the resort typically involves a combination of driving and a boat ride, with the most common route being from the town of Diablo, where visitors can take a boat shuttle across Diablo Lake to reach Ross Lake, as noted by Washington Trails Association.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Ross Lake Resort located?

Ross Lake Resort is a secluded haven located in the North Cascades.

What should be prepared before visiting Ross Lake Resort?

Prepare for a trip to Ross Lake Resort by understanding the necessary permits and restrictions outlined for the Ross Lake National Recreation Area.

What recreational activities are available at Ross Lake Resort?

Ross Lake Resort offers numerous recreational activities such as hiking on Big Beaver and Little Beaver trails, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

What amenities does Ross Lake Resort offer?

Ross Lake Resort provides amenities including cabins, kitchen facilities, water taxi services, and boat rentals.

Is there a grocery store at Ross Lake Resort?

There is no grocery store at Ross Lake Resort. Visitors are advised to bring their own supplies.

Does Ross Lake Resort have Wi-Fi?

No, Ross Lake Resort doesn’t offer Wi-Fi. It promotes a digital detox experience for its guests.