Frequently Asked Questions

Below are are several frequently asked questions that people have about Ross Lake Resort.

How old is the resort?
Ross Lake Resort was created from the remains of the floating camp used by the crews of workers logging the valley as it was flooded, around 1952.

How do you get to Ross Lake Resort? How long does it take to get there via the Diablo Lake Ferry?

How to Get Here.pdf

There are two main ways of getting to the Resort. Firstly there is the Ross Dam Trail with a parking lot and trailhead at mile marker 134 on Highway 20. Follow this trail, about ¾ of a mile, until it spills out onto a dirt road. Turn right and proceed toward the Lake. Before the bottom on the left you will see a post that says 'resort phone.' This marks a short trail to a pole with a telephone box and our number posted inside. We will tell you to go to the wooden dock at the end of the road and we will pick you up in a boat and take you to the Resort for $3 a person each way. If you have more gear than you can carry, you may want to take the Diablo Lake Ferry.

The ferry makes two trips per day during the months we are open, once at 8:30 am and once at 3:00 pm. To get there turn onto the Diablo Dam Access Road, close to mile marker 127 on Highway 20. Drive across Diablo Dam and follow the road to the right. Look for the Ross Lake Resort parking signs next to the second dock. Haul your gear down the steps and wait for the Ferry. Be there early, it will leave promptly! The fare is $10 per person, one way, cash only. The Ferry will not take boats, kayaks or canoes. The Ferry will take you up Diablo Lake to a landing where you and your gear get onto a flatbed truck to take you up the haul road to Ross Lake. A boat will come from the Resort across the lake to pick you up. We charge $12 per person round-trip for the truck fare. Pack your goods in durable containers for this trip. Tagging helps keep things sorted. It takes around an hour one-way from your car to the resort via the Ferry.

Are pets allowed at the resort?
No. The owner has his own dogs, and wishes to avoid conflicts. There are working cats at the resort for rodent control, and one was attacked by a guest's dog. Please make other arrangements for your pets.

When was the dam built?
Construction of Ross Dam Began in 1938. Its current construction was completed in 1949. As designed, Ross dam was supposed to be 125 ft. taller, but territorial and environmental issues indefinitely delayed the final phase.

Who owns Ross Lake Resort?
The resort is privately owned and operates under a concession contract within North Cascades National Park. The current owner is Andy Walker.

What is the elevation of Ross Lake?
When full, the elevation of Ross Lake is 1602.5 ft. above sea level.

How long is Ross Lake?
When full, Ross Lake is 22.1? miles long.

How deep is Ross Lake?
When Ross Lake is full, it is 488.4? ft deep at the bottom of the Dam.

What peaks are seen beyond the dam and how tall are they?
There is a spectacular group of peaks visible above Ross Dam from the resort's cabins. From left to right they are: Colonial Peak at 7771 ft., Snowfield Peak at 8347 ft., Paul Bunyan's Stump at 7400 ft., Pyramid Peak at 7100 ft.

Does anyone stay at Ross Lake Resort during the winter?
Yes. Our floating buildings require constant attention as the lake level fluctuates throughout the fall winter and spring We typically keep a skeleton crew of three or four to shovel snow, adjust cables, build wooden boats and generally keep an eye on things.

Does the lake freeze up?
Typically, no. Sometimes Ruby Arm and some shaded coves will develop a thin sheet of ice

How far does the Lake level drop?
Seattle City Light makes a decision of how far to draw down the lake based upon available snow pack, power demand, and flood control requirements. Typically, the lake will be down between 75 to 125 feet from full at its lowest in the early spring.

How old are the logs under the docks?
Many of the float logs supporting our docks and buildings are old-growth red cedar used in the original floating camp that became our resort nearly 60 years ago. Some of these are more than 3 ft. in diameter and hundreds of years old.
Where does the water come from?
Our drinking water is supplied by a spring charged by water that percolates through Sourdough Mountain.

Where does the sewage go?
Our sewage system relies on holding tanks on each float that all pump to a larger floating holding tank, which pumps to an underground holding tank on shore, then to a drain field on the hillside above.

Do you generate your own power?
No. We receive power from Ross Dam, for which we pay regular Seattle City Light rates.
Why isn't there a pay phone?
We have only two phone lines available to us, both though Seattle City Light, which is why we have a 206 area code. We need both phone lines for business, and try to limit outgoing calls from guests (You're here to get away from all that, aren't you?) Cell phone coverage is not yet available. Satellite phones do work, however.

How do you get your supplies and fuel to the resort? Can I drive there? How do you get your supplies and fuel to the resort?
The haul road connects Ross Lake and Diablo Lake and does not connect with the highway. Our trucks and all other heavy equipment come by barge up Diablo lake

How can I get my own boat on the lake?
The resort will portage kayaks and canoes, plus motorboats under 14' and light enough to lift, via flatbed truck from Diablo Lake to Ross Lake. Put in at Colonial Creek campground and make way five miles up Diablo Lake. Look to starboard after the canyon for a gravel ramp just beyond the second dock, there is a phone at the base of this dock just before the stairs with the resorts number. Call for portage between the hours of 8 am – 4pm (best time is between 10am and 1pm). For one vessel we charge $40. For more than one kayak or canoe: $30 per vessel. For all motorboat: $40. There is a public boat launch at Hozomeen campground on the north end of the lake. To get there, take the Silver/Skagit Road south from just west of Hope, British Columbia. Follow this gravel road 60 km to the Hozomeen Campground. Border crossing regulations apply. Bring at least two spare tires for your rig and for your boat trailer.

What type of fish are in the lake?
Ross Lake has a native population of Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout. Please refer to the Washington State fishing regulations pamphlet for specific rules regarding fishing. Fishing at Ross Lake opens July 1st and runs until October 31st. Ross Lake is a selective gear fishery; only artificial lures with single barbless hooks are permitted. No bait or scent allowed. You may keep ONE Rainbow Trout 16 inches or longer per day with a three fish bag limit. Dolly Varden or Bull Trout are protected and must be released. Mostly people troll their lures from our rental boats. There is good catch-and-release fly fishing further up some of the lake's tributaries.

What are the current fishing regulations?
Season runs from July 1 to October 31.   Native Rainbow Trout limit is 1 fish at least 16 inches.  No live bait - artificial lures only.  Dolly Varden (aka Bull Trout) are protected and must be released.  Always check the Washington State Fishing Regulations for Ross Lake Reservoir before you cast!

How do you fish around here?
Slow trolling from a motorboat is best. Many people have started using a fly rod with a full sinking line (5-6ips) or a medium action rod; 8-12lb leader varying the weight up to a 2oz sinker. Use streamer fly, needlefish, or another lure. Single barbless hooks only and no bait/scent allowed including eggs and power bait. Best fishing is in shallow water along the shoreline. Gently release any trout less than 16 inches long. Daily catch/keep limit is ONE rainbow trout. Some people have stuck with a more traditional way and troll with flashers (pop gear) and lures.

What hikes can I do from the resort?
The Big Beaver trail is accessible from the resort. Follow it northeast to Big Beaver Creek or southwest to Ross Dam. Through the resort's water taxi or rental boats, all of the trails in the north unit of the North Cascades National Park are accessible, and only a guidebook could describe them all.

What animals might be seen in the area?
      The most frequent animal you will see (and hear) are the little Douglas Squirrels native to these woods. Next most often seen are the somewhat hybridized Blacktail Deer. There are a host of little animals you will see on occasion: Chipmunks, Snowshoe Hares, Mice, Pikas, Marmots. Uncommonly, you will encounter a black bear. Most rarely you will glimpse a cougar or a bobcat.  

What birds are commonly seen on the lake?
Many bird species make Ross Lake their seasonal home, and many more come for a visit. Most often you will see Loons, Canadian Geese, and Western Grebes. Osprey nest along the lake and take fish without regard to size or limit. You will see Bald Eagles, Blue Herons, Water Ouzels, and an array of small waterfowl including Merganzers, Goldeyes, Coots among others. Seagulls come to ride around on driftwood. Kingfishers work some of the inlets.

Equipment Rentals
Ross Lake Resort rents motorboats, canoes, kayaks, and fishing rods to cabin guests, campers and day visitors .
View our equipment rentals »
Recreational Activities
Fishing, Hiking, Backpacking, Tent Camping, Kayaking, Canoeing, Tours and More.
About our recreational activities»
Local Transportation
Offering Truck Portage between Diablo Lake and Ross Lake for canoes and kayaks, transportation across the lake and more.
More about Ross Lake transportation »
Map and Directions to Ross Lake Resort
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to Ross Lake Resort »

NPS Ross Lake Trail Map
Job Opportunities
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