Ross Lake

North Cascades: Ross Lake

Trip Details

Make your way alongside Ross Lake in the beautiful North Cascades and marvel at the the vivid blue-green water of the lake, the beautiful waterfalls and wildflowers, and the abundant wildlife that call this rugged landscape home. Unlike most trails in the North Cascades, our Ross Lake route keeps the trip beginner friendly with moderate inclines, short distances, and lots of time to explore, play, and experience the breathtaking gifts of the Skagit watershed. On the last day, from nine miles out, a water taxi will pick you up and drop you off only 3 miles down trail from the vehicle, for a unique experience only this trip offers.

We provide all needed gear, including boots and clothing if notified 4 weeks ahead of time. Food from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day is provided, and we will send you a menu and food options form to fill out before your trip. Transportation is provided from the meet location in Edgewood and back.

  • Day 1: Gear fitting and orientation, cultural history stop, camp near trailhead
  • Day 2: Backpack 2.8 miles to first camp 
  • Day 3: 3.7 miles to next camp
  • Day 4: 2.2 miles to last camp
  • Day 5: Water taxi back to first campsite, 2.8 miles back to trailhead. Return to Tacoma area around 5-6 pm
Learning Goals
  • Leave no trace
  • Gear management
  • Plant and wildlife identification
  • Basic backpacking skills such as cooking, campfires, filtering water, first-aid
  • Map reading
  • Local geography
  • Cultural history
  • Meet Location: Sahale Outdoors, 5007 Pacific Hwy E #19, Fife, WA 98424
  • Meet Time: 9 AM
  • Pick-up Location: Sahale Outdoors, 5007 Pacific Hwy E #19, Fife, WA 98424
  • Pick-up Time: Approximately 4-6 PM, guides will reach out to guardians to communicate ETA
Gear Provided
  • Tent
  • Backcountry sleeping pad
  • Multi-day backpack
  • Sleeping bag
  • All meals from lunch the first day through lunch on the last day
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes 
  • First-aid kit and satellite phone
  • Group kitchen and food service gear
  • Water bottles
Packing List


Lake – Wildlife – Boat experience

Difficulty Level

Easy-Intermediate: 1800 feet of elevation gain, 12 miles over four days, no technical skills needed.


Five days

2024 Schedule:

July 29-August 2: Middle School – FULL

August 12-16: High School – FULL – See our Hannegan Peak location for additional August high school dates.

Explore our other trips or contact to be added to the waiting list

Price: $900 per person

Includes gear rental, food, transportation, and all entrance fees, permits, and passes.

25% of the total trip cost is due at sign-up, with the remainder due one month before the trip date. You are welcome to pay in installments, contact to set up a payment plan.

Our mission is to make outdoor recreation accessible to all. If you cannot afford the total trip cost, send us a brief message to request a sliding scale pricing form.

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    Photo Gallery

    Indigenous Land

    Upper Skagit

    “When I was young, the first time I saw the dewatered Skagit, I would say that was a life-altering moment for me. This is terribly wrong…[It would be a] disservice to our ancestors that sacrificed so much if we don’t make this work, if we let these salmon go by the wayside, if we let our culture degrade.”

    Scott Schuyler, Upper Skagit Tribal Elder

    The eleven predecessor bands that compose today’s Upper Skagit tribal nation include the Nuwha’ha, Nookachamps, Bsigwigwilts, Bsxwexwehwa’1, Chobahahbish, Sabelxu, Saylayotsid, Shayayotsid, Kwabatsabsh, Sahkumehu, and Skaywih. Members of these bands carried on fishing, shellfishing, hunting and gathering activities from the saltwater areas all the way to the mountainous upper reaches of the Skagit River, adjacent areas and, for hunting and gathering, even into Eastern Washington. Upper Skagit people hunted game (including deer, elk, cougar, and mountain goat), on mountains and high locations, at streams and lakes, at meadows and on the plains.

    Today, the Upper Skagit, along with the Sauk-Suiattle, the Swihomish, and other Skagit river area tribes, are fighting for the state of Washington and Seattle City Light to open the upper 60 miles of the Skagit River to chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout by removing dams or building fish ladders for the three hydroelectric dams that currently provide power to the city of Seattle. At present, there is no way for these endangered fish to travel past Gorge Dam, Diablo Dam, or Ross Dam, the three Skagit River Hydroelectric Project dams that fully block the Skagit river beginning at the historical sacred “Valley of the Spirits,” which is now de-watered or flooded by Gorge Dam.

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