Notice to Boaters
To maintain and improve the current visitor experience, visitor safety, soundscapes, and water quality, all motor boats operating within the Ross Lake National Recreation Area now require the exclusive use of four-stroke engines, direct-injection two-stroke engines, or equivalent technology. For details, refer to the Ross Lake NRA General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.
Ross Lake can be accessed via a gravel road from Hope, British Columbia on the north. Two graded-cement boat ramps at Hozomeen are normally usable from mid-June through September. There is no direct road access from the south, but canoes, kayaks and other portable craft can be launched on Diablo Lake at Colonial Creek Campground and boated five miles to the end of Diablo Lake. Boats and gear must be portaged around Ross Dam over a mile long gravel road with switchbacks (520 foot gain/120 foot loss). Ross Lake Resort also provides portage service for portable boats, rents out small power boats, canoes, and kayaks, and provides water taxi service on the lake.
Ross Lake is a reservoir with changing water levels. The lake is generally at full pool from July - September. Docks are not usable at low water levels. See the table below for an elevational chart that shows when docks and ramps are usable.
Ross Lake Elevations for Boat Dock and Ramp Use (Note: Full pool: 1,602.5')
CampingNineteen boat-in camps are available along the shores of Ross Lake. All Ross Lake campsites are equipped with fire-rings, picnic tables, vault toilets, and bear-resistant food storage boxes. Some have docks. A backcountry permit is required for any overnight camping at these sites.
Food Storage and Cooking
Although most people never see them, grizzly and black bears, mountain lions, and wolves can be encountered along the lakeshore--along with many smaller critters who might be interested in your food! All food, garbage, cooking items, and anything else with an odor must be stored securely in the provided food storage lockers whenever you are not in camp actively cooking. Even deer are may be attracted to your camp, especially to salty items, so store everything appropriately at all times! This applies to camping on the islands as well, as most animals, including deer, bear, and cougar, can and do swim. Be sure to pack out all leftover food and garbage, and keep a clean camp.
Campfire rings are provided at all the sites along Ross Lake. Use these best practices to protect the lake and reduce your impact:
Thank you for helping to care for the lake and protect the park for all to enjoy. Learn more about Leave No Trace in the park.
Even in summer, the water temperature in Ross Lake seldom gets above 50°F (10°C). Falling in the lake or getting caught in a sudden storm can rapidly bring on hypothermia, the lowering of body temperature to a point at which the body can not maintain its own heat. Always carry raingear and extra food, and be prepared to make an emergency camp or for sudden weather changes.
Commerical ServicesRoss Lake Resort is open June-October and is the only lodging facility on Ross Lake. There is no direct road access to the resort--hike or boat in only. The resort rents paddle and motor boats, and operates a water taxi service to all major trailheads and camps along the lake. The resort also provides portage service between Ross and Diablo Lakes. Contact the resort directly for information on these services.
Last updated: September 24, 2020