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

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

Lake and River Conditions


On March 15, 2010 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.



Reservoir water levels fluctuate. Strong winds are common on all the lakes. Gorge and Diablo are open to fishing year-round with WA state fishing license. All WA state fishing regulations and license requirements apply. Backcountry permits are required year-round for all boat-in sites and may be obtained at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount.

Lake Chelan

Current level(1,100 feet = full pool)

Open to fishing north of Stehekin August 1 to March 31; south of Stehekin year-round. Washington State fishing license required. Dock Pass (fee) required between May 1 and October 31 for use of all docks including Forest Service facilities on the lake. Passenger ferry service between Chelan and Stehekin runs daily in summer, a few days weekly during winter months. Contact the Lake Chelan Boat Company for current schedules and rates or call (509) 682-4584 for more information.

Diablo Lake

Current level

Lake level can fluctuate daily 1 to 5 feet.(1205 feet = full pool).

Lake levels can fluctuate daily. At times of low water, the boat launch at Colonial Creek Campground can be difficult for powerboaters to use. Check with current level to be sure you can launch. Open to fishing year round with Washington State fishing license. Boaters use caution in securing boats, as lake level can fluctuate several feet in a short time. Backcountry permit required for boat-in campsites. Tours of the lake are offered through Seattle City Light Skagit tours. Call (360) 854- 2589 for more information.

Gorge Lake

Current level

Lake level can fluctuate daily 1 to 3 feet.(890 feet = full pool).

Open to fishing year round with Washington State fishing license. Water levels fluctuate.

Ross Lake

Current level

Usually at full pool between July 4 and Labor Day.(1602.5 feet = full pool)

See Ross Lake usage levels chart to determine if specific boat launches and docks are usable at the current lake level. Boaters should be watchful for tree stumps below the water surface, especially when water visibility is poor. Any level below full pool has potential hazard. Fishing season is open July 1 to October 31 and Washington State fishing license required. Licenses are not available at ranger stations but can be bought at Ross Lake Resort at the southern end of the lake. Backcountry permit required for boat-in campsites.



Skagit River

Present flow at Newhalem.

Within Ross Lake National Recreation Area: open to fishing June 1 to February 28. Washington State fishing license required.

Stehekin River

Present flow.

Open to fishing July 1 to October 31. Washington State fishing license required.

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