Added by Stephen Bellrichard
- Breathtaking views
- Short hike: About 2 miles round-trip
- Year-round accessibility
- Lots of parking
- Duration: 1-2 hours
This is a short hike at just under 2 miles round-trip, with little elevation change. The trail begins at a parking area, alongside Washington Route 20. The hike takes you through the forest to an overlook of both Ross Dam and Ross Lake, before making the final descent down to the dam. The trail is in good shape and has a few creek crossings with bridges that make the process of crossing easier. Be sure to follow the signs to get down to the dam, because eventually the trail turns into an access road for the dam. The views from the top of the dam looking east and west are breathtaking. Down below the dam is the east end of Lake Diablo, and looking behind you to the east, you can just barely make out the floating cabins at Ross Lake Resort.
Ross Dam can be accessed at almost any time of the year, depending on your comfort-level with snow. This spot is a very popular hiking destination in the summer, however it’s nearly empty in the winter. Highway 20 closes for the winter roughly 200 feet past the trailhead parking lot, making this the furthest “easily-accessible” hike along this route during the winter months.
- Ross dam is 540ft tall and 1,300ft long and spans the Skagit River to form Ross Lake
- Original construction was completed in 1940
- Ross Lake is 23 miles long and extends north into Canada
- The Dam is operated by Seattle City Light, and is part of a three dam series through the Skagit Gorge. The other two dams are Diablo Dam, directly below Ross Dam, and Gorge Dam, further downstream
- Ross Dam can generate up to 460 MW of electricity
- Hydro-electric dams provide approximately 92 percent of the electricity used in Seattle
Getting There: * Turn off I-5 at Burlington and drive east on Highway 20 for roughly 68 miles * The parking lot is on the left-hand side immediately before the gates that close the highway
- Northwest Forest Pass
- Hiking Boots, however the trail is well maintained so almost any shoe would be okay.
- Warmer layers during the winter months.
- Water + snacks
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Explore Teddy Bear Cove
Washington / Teddy Bear Cove Parking
On Chuckanut Drive (State Route 11) pull off onto a small, unmarked, one-way road that offers parking for Teddy Bear Cove before quickly rejoining the road.
Backpack to Grand Park in the Olympics
Washington / Obstruction Point Trailhead
The beauty of many of the north coast trails in the Olympic Peninsula is that your car does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.