• View from Sourdough Mountain Overlook  A view looking down onto Diablo Lake. Photo Credit: NPS/Michael Silverman, 2010.

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

Boating and Fishing

Kayaking in Ross Lake
Photo by Parrish, courtesy of REI


On March 15, a debris avalanche occurred at the head of Diablo Lake, rendering unusable a local access road that connects Diablo Lake with Ross Lake. Due to continued instability and rockfall in the debris slide area, as well as ongoing construction, the road’s lower section is closed to boaters and paddlers and a new road segment has been constructed. See map of closure area and new facilities.

Please use the new portage dock for all canoe and kayak portage activities (note: do not use the ferry dock). The portage is 1.2 miles over a gravel road, with an elevation gain of 525 feet, elevation loss of 100 feet. Ross Lake Resort will continue to offer portage service, although it is no longer possible to portage power boats, or any other boat that can not be carried, between Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. The new road segment could not be constructed down to lake level, so boaters must carry their boats and all gear 100 yds on a trail to the vehicle turn-around.

A new phone has been installed on the Diablo Lake end of the portage for visitors to call and request portage service from Ross Lake Resort. Note that the new phone is located at the bottom of the stairs of the larger dock. For portage questions or updates regarding portage service call Ross Lake Resort at 206-386-4437. For all other questions, contact the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount at 360-854-7245

The Ross Dam Trail (milepost 134 off State Route 20) could also be used as a portage route to Ross Lake if need be, although keep in mind that this is a rocky, switchbacking trail that descends one mile and 900 feet to reach the lake.


The Skagit and Stehekin Rivers attract whitewater enthusiasts for rafting and kayaking. Find a local outfitters in our Accommodations and Services Directory to help you plan your trip.

Kayaking, canoeing, and motor boating are options on large lakes. The Ross Lake Resort rents motorboats, kayaks, canoe, and other equipment for Ross Lake and limited paddle rentals are available at Stehekin on Lake Chelan. Ramps and launches are located at Gorge Lake, Diablo Lake, Lake Chelan and the north end of Ross Lake at Hozomeen.

Personal watercraft (jet skis, etc.) are not allowed in any part of the North Cascades National Park Complex.



Fishing anywhere in the North Cascades National Park Complex is subject to all WA State fishing regulations and requires a valid Washington State fishing license. The Skagit River, one of Washington's major watersheds, is home to seven species of anadromous fish (five salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout) and freshwater trout and char. At Ross, Diablo and Gorge Lakes you may fish for native naturally occuring rainbow trout. Download our new Fishing Guide to the North Cascades (PDF) for ideas on fishing opportunities in the North Cascades.

Lake Chelan has fresh water cod, trout and kokanee (land-locked salmon.) The Stehekin River offers rainbow and cutthroat trout.

In order to protect spawning fish populations, it is necessary to comply with special regulations including closures, seasons, catch limits and gear restrictions. This information is available at ranger stations or from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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