Ross Lake National Recreation Area
Hozomeen Mountain, Ross Lake National Recreation Area
Ross Lake National Recreation Area is a 117,575-acre property that surrounds (and includes) three reservoirs operated by Seattle City Light. The property mostly stretches north along the eastern side of the North Unit of North Cascades National Park, then turns southwest and follows the Skagit River to divide the National Park in half. To the east is Pasayten Wilderness in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests. To the north (in British Columbia) is Skagit Valley Provincial Park. About 74,000 acres of Ross Lake National Recreation Area are included in the 634,614 acres of Stephen Mather Wilderness.
Ross Lake National Recreation Area serves as the major access point for most of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. The primary road into the area is Washington State Road 20, also known as the North Cascades Scenic Highway. Because snowfall in the area has been known to set world records, the road is usually closed from November into May.
Entry to Ross Lake National Recreation Area is free to all. Most developed camp sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are available only for the group sites at Goodell Creek and Newhalem Creek and in Loop C at Newhalem Creek. The Colonial Creek and Newhalem Creek campsites run $12 per site per night, the Goodell Creek campsites $10 per site per night. Hozomeen and Gorge Lake campsites are free. Backcountry camping requires possession of a free permit. (Prices subject to change without notice)
Generally, the North Cascades Visitor Center in Newhalem is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. The Park and Forest Information Center in Sedro-Woolley is open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm. The wilderness Information Center in Marblemount is open Sunday through Thursday, 7 am to 6 pm and Friday-Saturday from 7 am to 8 pm. The Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin is open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm. The Chelan Ranger Station is open Monday through Friday (except for federal holidays) 7:45 am to 4:30 pm. The Glacier Public Service Center in Glacier is open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm. The Methow Valley Ranger District in Winthrop is open Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 7:45 am to 4:30 pm. The Skagit Information Center in Newhalem is open Friday through Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm. I say "generally" because schedules are liable to change with seasons, individual weather events and Congressional budget cuts...
Upper left photo courtesy of Seth Cowdery, CCA 2.5 License
Bottom photo is courtesy of the US Forest Service