Explore the most popular birding trails in Ross Lake National Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

too much road noise

Hiked on 7/27/2018

Nice hike.

The dust was bit out of control!

I love Diablo Lake, gazing at that water will give you sweet dreams. This hike was well worth the two year wait.

hiking
15 days ago

Such an amazing hike! We took the ferry which left at 3:00 P.M. to the other side of the trail. My group and I are fast walkers so we finished the hike in about 2.5-3 hours but we did wander quite a bit off the trail. It’s up hill to start but has moments of flat and downhill. I do have to say the views are absolutely breathtaking from this hike. However if you are afraid of heights do note this has thin parts right next to the edge. The water bellow is so blue green that it’s worth every second!

hiking
16 days ago

This beginning of this hike was pretty steep. The trails were not the best, there were a lot of roots and loose rock. I would not recommend young children for this one. It was nice and quiet however, I think we only passed 6 people the whole trip. There are many shaded sections so it was nice to escape the heat. Coming back down was really dicey in some areas, you really have to pay attention the the roots, loose rocks and other hazards. Unfortunately there was much of a view, but if you are looking fir more forest, this may be the hike for you.

All Trails. Please adjust your mileage on hikes. I have noticed you consistently under rate the mileage. Today’s CLIMB to Pyramid Lake was a total of 5.25 miles. This is a steep climb all the way to the lake. The lake itself is small, but the beauty of this hike more than makes up for the small lake.

hiking
26 days ago

This hike is nice but know that it is not for any good views. We only did half of hike to the top as the last half of the hike just goes back down to the lake with no view. There is a ferry that you can catch if you decide to hike all the way to the bottom that will take you back to the trail head. The trail is well maintained and easy enough to follow. It is mostly uphill the whole way until you reach the top. We were there last week when the smoke was thick and heavy. In order to get the view you have to drive up to Diablo Lake Overlook.

hiking
27 days ago

Hiked this on 8/21, and despite the smoky haze the views were still beautiful.

Didn’t hike this route in its entirety, but started off of Hwy 20 and hiked the ~1.25 miles down to the dam (not shown on the route), and then hiked over to Ross Lake Resort and back clocking in around 5.5 miles total.

The portion of the trail between Hwy 20 and the dam features a nice little waterfall, and past the dam there’s great views of the lake while hiking through the woods.

A nice hike in the woods with an overview of Diablo lake at the end - however when I did the hike this afternoon (8/20) there was so much haze that you couldn’t see much of a view.

wonderful trail

Good hike with the family when camping nearby.

hiking
1 month ago

5/28/18. to the border and back, East Bank trail to Lightning Creek to Hozomeen lake trail: 70 miles round trip of serious hiking with a heavy pack. Some things to look out for: east bank trail has quite a few trees over it, but passable. the creek crossing at Roland campground you either have to go boots off and knee deep or look upstream and you will see a log going over 10' above the creek. be careful, this is just a log and not flattened; scootch across and don't run the risk. before the first footbridge east bank hugs the cliff face beware of a place where the trail has fallen off to a pylon log below. there are holes in the dirt between the log and where the trail used to be so use caution as you get across, the soil is very loose. from there it's smooth sailing through the foot bridges to lightning creek. lightning creek trail is deceivingly difficult. the climb is much longer and higher than what you would think with lots of dicey goat trail cliffside sections when you get near the top. the decent on the backside to deer lick cabin is smoother, but a fairly quick decent so be sure your shins and knees are ready for it. watch for the trail to cut to a bridge before you get to deer lick cabin. it's boarded up which kind of sucked because it would be a great place to rest after the wicked climb lightning creek trail tuned out to be. if you can push it get to nightmare camp, it looked cool even though I didn't stop. everything is smooth past the lakes, no time to stop in but I plan to one day. no rangers or border patrol up at Hozomeen campground, just a bunch of cool Canadians having a good time. stayed at international point campground for a day, which is a nice clean car/RV style grounds. tooled around the Skagit side then headed back all the way to the trailhead with a stop overnight at lodgepole on the lake. all in all it was an awesome trip. I would rate it as semi-difficult.

Super easy, good for kids. Amazing views

hiking
1 month ago

Really nice hike and beautiful views.Easy.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike with a beautiful pay off.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice moss on trees. Good variety of trees.

hiking
1 month ago

large parking lot at trail head. Black bear was blocking trail about 2 miles in, standing over whatever it was eating and squared up to our group of four. After a very brief staring contest, we backed off and returned to trail head. Best part of trail was that it's flat and shaded - good for covering ground on a hot or rainy day.

on Thunder Creek Trail

hiking
1 month ago

July 19, 2018: This is a nice walk but leaves you feeling like you should have gotten more bang for your buck. We did about six hours on the trail with an 11- and 13-year old, covering about 16-17 km round trip. Overall the trail is fairly flat, but I rolled my ankle a couple of times on rocks or roots—we were wearing running shoes. At the beginning the trail seems like it had a lot of potential as the river is near by, but after the 4th of July trail turn off, the trail stays under the canopy of trees and out of view of the river, although you can hear it. About 6-7 km in, there’s a couple views of the mountains overhead. The variety of plants is outstanding, but there was rarely a peep from birds. The little streams you cross along the way are nice and provide a great place to stop and enjoy a sandwich. My wife thinks we should have taken 4th of July as the park trail pamphlet suggests that it is the trail with the views.

Went last night and had a blast great walk

Nice hike with some climbing not too steep. Beautiful views of lake and surrounding mountains.

Nice wooded walk. But not a whole lot to see. We were going to go up 4th of July but visibility was poor so we did this instead

on Thunder Knob Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike and views but road noise from Hwy. 20 on much of the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

My 5 stars are for the trail and spectacular views, but I agree with a previous reviewer that this is not an easy trail for everyone. I am a very fit 70-year-old and found it quite a challenge. It took me 2 hours to reach the summit and 30 min to come down.

Great trail with amazing views. Had two bear sightings in the first 10 miles. There are a number of downed trees currently obstructing the trail. There are also a number of Creek crossings, some of which are a little more iffy than others nothing was impassable or too bad as long as you're careful though. Elevation gain is easy, I'm guessing the rating is just because of how long the trail is.

backpacking
2 months ago

Just backpacked to Thunder Camp and day Hiked to Fourth of July Camp via Fourth of July Pass and McAllister Camp via Thunder Creek. We’re some bears in the area but trails are well kept

hiking
2 months ago

Nice, simple and easy hike. Views of the lake are pretty but not as great as the lookout point just further down the highway. Trail head was tucked back in the campground so it gets a lot of traffic.

hiking
2 months ago

If your looking for a destination hike like some lake trails provide this is not it. I had high expectations of a glorious view of pyramid peak from the lake. It wasn’t there. The lake is more like a deep pond with some logs floating about. What was cool about this hike was the old growth forest that you will reach about half way into the hike.

We were a bit disappointed that there was no shore to access the lake to do a little fishing. Much smaller lake than we were anticipating. Pretty much up hill most of the way .

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike on July 3rd. It was a beautiful day in the NCNP, easy parking. We clocked 7.8 miles round trip and 1750 ft elev gain. The best way to do this hike is to look up the ferry schedule and hike in one way (wish we had known this ahead of time.) Cost is $10 cash per person. I even saw several people with dogs planning to take the ferry, but I don't know the rules.

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