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Ross Lake Resort Washington

ROSS LAKE RESORT (North Cascades National Park)

The most incredible resort that you’ve probably never heard of is Ross Lake Resort, which is located deep within the infrequently visited North Cascades National Park. This might be one of the best-kept secrets in the country, which is why the same visitors return year after year. It’s floating on the edge of an aqua lake, with breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks, and there are plenty of recreational activities. 

In 1952, Ross Lake Resort was founded in the American state of Washington. Mid-June through October is the seasonal opening period for Ross Lake. Within North Cascades National Park, the Ross Lake Resort is privately owned and run under a concession agreement. Between the Northern Cascade Mountains of Canada and South-Western British Columbia, there lies a large reservoir called Ross Lake. 

The Lake is 23 miles (37 km) long, 1.5 miles (2.5 km) wide, and rises 1,604 feet (48.9 meters) above sea level. It is oriented north to south. Fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking are popular activities at Ross Lake, a key recreation area in North Cascade. Particularly well-known here for trout fishing. Many boat-in and hike-in campsites surrounding the lake are open to campers. A free, first-come, first-served backcountry camping permit is required and is available through the National Park Service at Marblemount. 


Ross Lake is a large, historic lake. Sunlight and warm days offer ideal viewing conditions. When viewed from Highway 20, Ross Lake in Washington County is spectacular as it is through the North Cascade National Park. However, the highway comes to a stop in the winter because of the snow. This secluded lodge is located in the North Cascades National Recreation Area on the border of Ross Lake and is only reachable by hike or ferry. 

Simple furnishings, running water, electricity, and either electric or wood-burning ranges are all features of the cabins. Some have refrigerators and microwaves and are situated right on the water. Nine people can sleep in the largest cabin. Two cottages share a propane grill, and the resort offers fishing rods, canoes, and motorboats for hire. Visitors need to bring their own meals since there is no restaurant or store. You can still enjoy Ross Lake and some of the resort’s recreational activities, such as fishing, backpacking, tent camping, kayaking, and canoeing, even though the resort is fully booked for the remainder of the year.

History of Ross Lake Resort

The history of the resort is illustrious. Families have come here for generations to stay in the cottages and fish for the bull, rainbow, and Dolly Varden trout in the lake. The glaciers of North Cascades National Park have risen, melted, evaporated, and fallen over hundreds of millions of years, their movement sculpting the rough mountain landscape. The uninhabited wilderness is teeming with wildlife, gushing with waterfalls, and breathtakingly beautiful mountain ranges.

As of the mid-1950s, when Jack Kerouac and Gary Synder slept there on their way to work as fire lookouts, the lodgings at Ross Lake Resort had been used as a base camp for the U.S. Forest Service since they had been built in 1937 to accommodate workers building Ross Dam. By the time Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder stopped there to recuperate on their way up to fulfill their duty to fire post duty in the middle of the 1950s, it had already served as a base camp for the U.S. Timberland Benefit. Since those enchanted times, Ross Lake Resort has utilized the cottages and a nearby marina as a holding pattern.

How to Get to Ross Lake Resort?

The trailhead parking area of Ross Lake Resort is located on the north side of the road at an elevation of 2,150 feet. To get there, you must first travel for three hours to Diablo Dam. You can either park at the Ross Dam trailhead or go down a difficult trail to Ross Dam, where you can pick up a lonely telephone hotline to Ross Lake Resort, or you can take an alternate way aboard two ferries that transport you to Ross Lake.


You’ll be taken there in a motorboat by someone else; either way, the journey there is an exciting new adventure in itself. Most people, even if it means lugging all of their bags and meals along the way, choose the woodland hike because it is less expensive ($28 per person) and takes less time. The visitors are required to carry their own meals for the duration of their stay because there are no local restaurants or shops at this hotel.

Ross Lake Resort: Cabins

Ross Lake Resort, located in the heart of the North Cascade Mountains, is made up of 15 floating cottages, including twelve lakefront cabins, three bunkhouses, and a marina. Seasonal hours are from the middle of June until the end of October. Join their waiting list or check their last-minute availability table if you’re wanting to make a reservation.

Even the lodgings float on the water, and supplies are transported by barge: The resort’s wood-shingled cabins and docks, which were originally constructed to accommodate logging operations, are directly on Ross Lake and are supported by enormous red cedar float logs that are more than 3 feet in diameter. Your front porch’s blue waves lap against it while you sit on the terrace with a view of a line of powerful mountains (the largest, Snowfield Peak, reaches 8,347 feet).


You can spend your days admiring beautiful views or you can use the lodge as a launching point to explore Ross Lake National Recreation Area and North Cascades National Park. To access the trailheads scattered around the lakefront, you can rent one of the resort’s motorboats, canoes, or kayaks. Alternatively, you can trek from your cabin because the Big Beaver Trail runs past the property.

A floating cabin serves as the crew quarters. Due to the lack of a road, our staff must hike to and from the lake each day of the workweek. Ross Lake provides a variety of lodging options. Their cabins are completely equipped with kitchens, baths, electricity, and hot water. They also supply linens, towels, dinnerware, and cooking utensils. There are no eateries on-site, so plan ahead and bring your own food.

Types of Cabins in Ross Lake Resort

  • Little Cabin:  A little bit more compact and cozy than Modern Cabins. This charming cabin has a full kitchen, bathroom, one queen bed, and one bunk bed in addition to wood burner heat. Ross Lake Resort charges $230 per night for up to two people, with an extra $17 per night for each additional guest.

  • Modern Cabin: This cottage is the ideal getaway because of its large picture windows that frame Colonial and Pyramid Peaks. Our modern cabins provide a roomy dining and living area, a full kitchen, a bathroom, and either electric or wood heating. Between two and three twin beds, plus a bunk bed made up of 1-6 individuals. Ross Lake Resort Rates: $250 per night for up to two people, with an extra $18 per night for each additional guest.

  • Private Bunkhouse: For larger groups, a private bunkhouse is excellent. They provide a sizable combined kitchen, dining, and sleeping area, a full kitchen, a bathroom, and heating from a wood stove. The bunk beds, which can sleep four or five people each, are ideal for gatherings. Prices at Ross Lake Resort: $320 for 1-2 people per night, plus $20 per additional person per night.

  • Peak Cabin: Making family memories is easy at Peak Cabins. The open loft in this roomy two-story cabin features a queen-size bed and two twin beds. On the bottom floor, there is one bedroom with a twin bed and a bunk bed. There is a full kitchen, a bathroom with a bathtub, a sizable living/dining space with a pull-out sofa bed, and wood burner heat in this cabin. For up to 9 persons, this option is ideal. Ross Lake Resort rates are $410 per night for up to two people, with an additional $22 per night for each guest.

How to get a Reservation at Ross Lake Resort?

You must diligently join up on the queue each year in order to acquire a cable reservation at Ross Lake Resort. Sign up on the backlog the year before you want to stay. The queue gets emptied at the conclusion of each season, so you should join up each year. You should be very explicit about what you want because the resort filters the queue in that manner. Although it may need some flexibility to get a reservation, there are other ways to explore and enjoy the lake.


Booking a year in advance is strongly advised for tourists who want to stay in resorts. Even though the resort is consistently fully booked for the whole season, cancellations do happen. If something unexpected arises, it usually happens at least 30 days before the scheduled arrival date because hotel guests have 30 days prior notice to cancel and receive a refund of their deposit. The best chance to get in is now because the majority of cancellations occur late in the season, in late September and early October.

Call them between late April and early May when the majority of cancellations occur to secure a spot before they are listed online. Don’t miss out on visiting Ross Lake Resort even if you can’t make a reservation to stay there. You may hike there for the day, rent a kayak, and have lunch at one of their picnic tables that are perched on a floating platform. Regardless matter whether you are staying at the resort or are just dropping by out of curiosity, the hotel staff is welcoming and friendly to all guests.

Ross Lake Resort Trailhead

In 1952, the Ross Dam was finished, containing the Skagit River and creating the 22-mile-long Ross Lake. To reach the top of the dam, the trail drops. Find the ruins of an old cement road after you reach the dam’s west side. For the Resort and Big Beaver routes, the trailhead is to the right. The lake is now on the right side of the path, and on the left, a steep slope with sporadic rock walls. The resort reappears at the summit of a hill.

The Ross Lake Resort has a water taxi service that can take you to any trailhead along the lake, making it a fantastic starting point for tours around the lake. As mentioned above, follow the trail to Ross Dam. Then, head north while keeping Ross Lake on your right. Look and listen for birds and other wildlife while taking in the peek-a-boo views of Ross Lake via the trees, creeks, and waterfalls that flow into the lake.

For up-close views of Ross Lake, take a little detour to Green Point, or keep going all the way to Big Beaver Creek’s mouth. Big Beaver and ancient, densely populated old-growth forests are to your west. If you have the energy, hike up Big Beaver for a few more miles; otherwise, take in the sights of the lake before returning the way you came. As an alternative, you might think about hiring a water taxi from Ross Lake Resort to Big Beaver Creek, spending some time exploring, and then taking the trek back to Ross Dam.

Fishing at Ross Lake Resort

 Fishing is permitted in North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area for the purpose of providing for public enjoyment and customary and traditional use. Fishing is regulated to ensure that it is managed in a way that avoids unfavorable effects on park resources.


Fishing license rules must be adhered to by visitors who wish to fish inside the boundaries of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. You must get a fishing license prior to reaching the park complex as they are not sold at any of the visitor centers or information desks there. The three best fish to catch in this lake are rainbow trout, eastern brook trout, and cutthroat trout. You can read more blogs on our wesbite about other popular destinations. 

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