Looking for a great trail in Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington? AllTrails has 23 great hiking trails, trail running trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 9 moderate trails in Ross Lake National Recreation Area ranging from 3.4 to 41.7 miles and from 1,122 to 5,990 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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backpacking

kid friendly

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"The North Cascades are Calling!" Less than three hours from Seattle, an alpine landscape beckons. Discover communities of life adapted to moisture in the west and recurring fire in the east. Explore jagged peaks crowned by more than 300 glaciers. Listen to cascading waters in forested valleys. Witness a landscape sensitive to the Earth's changing climate. Help steward the ecological heart of the Cascades.

One of my best hikes in years. Lovely trail. Exceptional forest with terrific variation. The lake is a delightful gift at the end of the hike.

on Diablo Lake Trail

hiking
6 days ago

This is a really good trail to do in between harder hikes you may have planned for the North Cascades area. It was quiet, the trail was well maintained, there's not that much elevation gain, etc. If you want a good view of the lake, the lookout will be more ideal. But we did this trail on our last day in the park and at that point we had already spent a decent amount of time already staring at Diablo Lake from the lookout.

Came at dusk - the trail is wonderfully lit up at night with lights on the waterfall - five stars!

hiking
9 days ago

Great trail to a small lake. Easy 1500 feet elevation gain with the first hundred yards the steepest. Trail easy to follow.

hiking
12 days ago

The view at the top was very disappointing! It is also very tricky to get on to the right path for the trail! But overall it was a pretty decent hike! Once you get to the top you can either go down through the normal trail or choose the other path that will lead you down to the water and you can pay a ferry ($10 per person/only cash) to take you back to the parking lot.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

Water flowing at the start that needs to be walked through. We should have started earlier in the day. The trees are more sparse toward the top so was pretty hot. Had no problems with the dog.

This trail was amazing! It is child friendly but not for strollers. You can go clear down to Ross dam. It’s a easy hike with awesome views!

hiking
off trail
16 days ago

there is a different route you walk and take than what is actually showing on this app.

hiking
17 days ago

Nice viewpoint, well marked, heavily trafficked due to camp ground at bottom. Also limited parking

Road to trailhead had some big dips but manageable. The hike just to Thornton lake was longer that AllTrails posted. We did the hike up to trapers peak first which was one of our favorite views. Then we did the hike down to Thornton. If you only did the hike to Thornton it would be a long ways for a lake view that you could get on a separate trail for less distance so I highly recommend doing trappers peak

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

We hiked this trail on August 29 with a 7 yr old and a 10 yr old. About four hours round trip. They both were little champions, and had tons of energy to spare. The lake is pristine, views were exceptional, there is a unique little outhouse, follow the signs... quite lovely and very unused. The entire park was so pristine and at the same time impeccably maintained... It seems in the USA, they don't log their parks before they claim park status... Our family was very impressed and eager to explore more American maintained sites.

hiking
blowdown
21 days ago

hiking
bugs
21 days ago

We walked to the beginning of the trail from Ross Lake campground. Overall it was close to 15-18 km round trip from the camp site. Elevation was 371 m according to my Apple Watch. The trail is unimpressive until you get to the lake which is nice and warm and beautiful. Trail is Steady up and up but at nice rate. We made it up in about 2 hours down 1 h 37 min and haven’t seen a single person during the hike.

hiking
muddy
22 days ago

Tbh not a fun hike. The view is rewarding, but it’s definitely not an 8 mile hike. More like 11 and vertical both ways. Tiny steep switchbacks, mud, and you’re in the trees most of the time so the only reward is the view at the top. It’s also up a SUPER steep dirt road. I barely made it, so I wouldn’t recommend without 4WD or at least all terrain tires.

hiking
22 days ago

Lots of rocks and roots. Trees blocking the trail are easy to go over or under. Nice walk in the woods.

walking
22 days ago

Cute little trail that I was able to do with the best friend and her little kiddos. Great if you have small children. Beautiful trees and moss and mushrooms. Would definitely do again with the kids!

hiking
23 days ago

If you want the iconic view you have to drive to the lookout. You’ll see some patches of the lake between the trees on this trail. Beautiful but disappointed we had to drive to ultimately get the best view

hiking
23 days ago

Really beautiful trail! It’s easy to miss the beautiful look out and walk to dam but whole thing is amazing and fairly flat trail!

hiking
scramble
25 days ago

Trail was real demanding all the way to the top and a scramble toward the bottom

It was fine. Cute tail, but the view at the end was disappointing and mostly obscured by trees

backpacking
26 days ago

Great trail! Parked at Colonial Camp ground, walked through the RV camping area to find the trailhead and more parking(whoops). Camped at Neve Camp, we didn't want to be too far in since this was our very first backpack camping trip ever! Glad I chose Neve Camp instead of Thunder Camp when I got our backcountry permit at the ranger station, had to choose one or the other then. Neve Camp had much more space and was located practically on the creek whereas Thunder Camp was smaller, tighter and farther from the creek,but not by a whole lot. Did not see any bears or even any sign of bears. Overall distance for us was 5.4miles. Also a huge perk, when getting backcountry permit at ranger station, they offer free bear canister rentals! Will definitely be going back to try out some of the farther camp sites!

hiking
27 days ago

This trail was absolutely beautiful. I recommend not doing it at the hottest part of the day. The views are so incredibly worth it.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
28 days ago

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Road up to the trailhead is a bit rough at times with a lot of washout/bumps. I would recommend a vehicle with a bit more clearance. We brought a Prius for gas mileage and between the low clearance and zero guts, we got stopped a few times and had to back up for a running start at some of the sections. The trail starts very gradual for at least 2.5 miles and then you get onto a forest path with a lot of rocks and roots to step over. This is where the elevation gain starts. It definitely seems to go on for a long time but there were plenty of berries to keep us distracted. The lookout over the lake was beautiful and it’s worth going out on the big rock. Sun position was perfect around 2 (in mid August). The trail down to the lake is a bit overgrown and questionable. Also very steep, but short enough. I will mention that this app says it is 8.3 miles and even if you only go to the first lake, it is at least 10.8 total. We also fished and caught a bunch of rainbow and cutthroat (pretty small ones). We also hiked part way up to Trappers Peak for the view of all 3 lakes and the mountain ranges. So beautiful but definitely an interesting “climb”.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Was driving back from Mazama and decided to do a quick "3.4 mile hike" before heading back to seattle. I got 2.5 miles into the hike and felt no where near the lake and had to turn around because i was running out of day light. As other people have suggested the mileage on this hike is very wrong. BY the time i got back to my car i had done 5 miles.

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