Frequently Asked Questions
Below 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 a floating camp used by crews of workers logging the valley as it was flooded in 1952.
How do you get to the resort?
Please visit our getting here page that contains detailed information on how to get to the resort.
Are pets allowed at the resort?
Dogs are not allowed for guests staying at the Resort but dogs on a leash are welcome for day-users and campers.
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 snowpack, power demand, and flood control requirements. Typically, the lake will be down between 75-125 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 built in the '30s that became our resort. 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. From there it enters an underground holding tank onshore and finally ends up in 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 payphone?
We have only two phone lines available to us, both through 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?
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 personal watercraft on the lake?
Please visit our portage services page to get detailed information on how to get your personal watercraft to Ross Lake.
Fishing on Ross Lake
Always check the Washington State Fishing Regulations for Ross Lake Reservoir before you cast! Ross Lake has a native population of Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout. Bull Trout or Dolly Varden are protected and must be released. You may also see Brook Trout which are not native to the lake itself but have washed down through creeks and streams from higher elevation ponds. Fishing 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 and you must use a knotless net. Most people troll their lures from our rental boats. There is good catch-and-release fly fishing further up some of the lake's tributaries.
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. The 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 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 Mergansers, Goldeyes, Coots among others. Seagulls come to ride around on driftwood. Kingfishers work the inlets.