- Ross Lake National Recreation Area divides the two units of the North Cascades National Park. It extends 24 miles and is two miles at its greatest width encompassing 12,000 acres. The National Recreation Area includes 117,000 acres and all three of Seattle City Light's power projects. It also provides the corridor for the popular North Cascades Highway. This scenic route across the Cascade Mountains affords travelers many recreational opportunities.
Recreation - Recreation opportunities abound throughout the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The area is accessible via the North Cascades Highway, a popular summertime scenic drive. The highway leads 30 miles through the southern portion of the recreation area. A portion of the highway is closed by snow generally from mid-November to April. Trailheads litter the southern landscape of the highway providing hikers the opportunities to head off into the park's far reaches. Also along the roadside are self-guiding trails, exhibits and information and camping facilities.
Seattle City Light sponsors regular, scheduled tours of Diablo Lake and Ross Dam hydro facilities. The reservoirs provide spectacular water gateways to the more remote parts of the park. Food, lodging, gasoline, boat and motor rentals, tackle, licenses and basic camper supplies are available in the recreation area. The only launch facilities on Ross Lake are at its north end, at Hozomeen, reached by a 39-mile dirt-and-gravel road from Canada.
Climate - Cool temperatures and lots of precipitation characterize the weather of the western slope of the Cascades. The mountains capture and hold the moisture laden clouds from the coast until they dump heavy moisture on the range and become light enough to pass over the high peaks. Low elevations around the lake provide higher air temperatures for boaters. The mountains around the lake experience cooler temperatures rarely reaching above 80 degrees F during the hottest summer months. Be prepared for cool, wet weather even in summer. Recommended clothing includes rain gear and layers for warmth.
Ross Lake National Recreation Area lies between the northern and southern units of the North Cascades National Park. The site encompasses Ross, Diablo and Gorge Lakes along the Skagit River. The northern boundary of the recreation area lies on the Canadian border of north central Washington. The site lies amidst the Cascade Mountain Range.