Ross Lake National Recreation Area : Things You Should Know Before Visiting

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Most tourists all over the country and Canada want to visit North Cascades National Park. What a tourist finds out when he gets there is that the National Park is the least accessible part in this corner.  Majority of tourists spend their  time checking out the more popular Ross Lake National Recreation Area with parts of the area accessible from right off WA-20 North Cascades Highway. Ross Lake NRA among others includes Gorge Lake, Diablo Lake, and Ross Lake. You will enjoy a couple of small hikes and take a look in some overlooks during your visit to the place. The Ross Lake NRA also has ample facilities  for paddling, fishing, camping, and great hiking opportunities.

Few excellent campgrounds to try in the NRA are Colonial Creek off WA-20 North Cascades Highway or Hozomeen, accessible by a gravel Skagit Road from North from Canada. If you are the one who loves  solitude like Jack Kerouac, you would want to walk your way to the top of the majestic Desolation Peak. The view of Ross Lake from the peak is quite impressive. However hiking to the peak requires stamina and good preparation.  You have to hike 6.8 mile on 4400 foot elevation after roughly 16 miles on the relatively flat East Bank trail. Of course there are other ways to go to the pick like crossing the Ross lake via boat. But hiking is real thing to do.

The Ross Lake Resort is an attractive place to stay in Ross Lake NRA. The scenery  is too amazing to be put in words.  You can  reach the resort  by hiking to it or taking a ferry from the Diablo Lake. The price of ferry ticket is $16 dollars and it will take around one hour via ferry from the Diablo Lake, which is situated near Newhalem. It is to be kept in the mind that  resort is open from June to October only. You have to book well in advance.

The only flip side about the place is that the entire National Park Service Complex consisting of of North Cascades National Park, and the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas is not the most accessible place to go. During the winter the highway is closed.  To experience the hidden  cool treasures of the area you have to  take time and plan well. It requires  effort to get to them. At the end you will take immense satisfaction that your effort is worth it.

Lodging in and around Newhalem

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Newhalem is located three hours northeast of Seattle city. Because of heavy snow in the area and since the highway 20 is closed from November to April every year, Newhalem receives relatively less visitors. Limited accommodation availability in the area is due to this reason. Of late number of visitors, especially the riders, kayakers, boating lovers and hikers, are flocking to the place in increasing number. It is important to plan your trip beforehand.

There are host of towns like Winthrop, Marblemount, Roockport, Mazama and Darrington nearby but they are somehow far from Nehalem-Diablo region. Majority of visitors don’t know the exciting resorts, campgrounds and cabins that exist in and around Newhalem. The entire North Cascades region is a place for adventure and your stay should commensurate with your adventure  spirits.

Don’t be conventional when you visit North Cascades region. There is thrill of taking ferry boats to reach your cabins across the lake. Why to stay in Hotel/Lodge in far places when you can park your car right near either side of road and spend an unforgettable nights in a campground. Cabins and campgrounds are the ideal  places to stay when you are going for adventure or recreational activities.

Newhalem Campground and Goodell Creek Campground by the overflowing Skagit river bank are the best places to enjoy the essence of North Cascades region. Newhalem Campground is open only in summer. Newhalem Campground has self contained recreational vehicle and has abundant facilities to meet the needs of visitors. The campground though is on first-come first-serve basis but can be reserved for group visits. There is also an exciting evening ranger programs.

Goodell Creek Campground is smaller compared to Newhalem Campground. It is located at north bank of Skagit river. There are even running water and vault toilets facilities available, which is certainly rare in campgrounds. Each site of the campground provides a covered picnic area.

There are two other campgrounds in Diablo – a 10 minutes ride from Newhalem. The first one is Diablo Lake Campground, which operates on first-come first serve basis. Shower facility is not available. There is also evening program conducted by National Rangers during Summer. The place is good if you want explore trails. The other is a free campground goes by name George Lake Campground. It has only six campsites and they cannot be reserved. The checkout time is noon and so it is important to arrive early.

The Hozeman Campground, located in a secluded place, is a great place This is located on the northern shore of Ross Lake. It is particularly suitable for tourists coming through British Columbia, Canada.

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However the best place to stay is Ross Lake Resort. The place is a bit far from Newhalem. It is located in Ross Lake’s southern shore. Tourists can park their vehicles near Diablo dam and take the passenger ferry. Upon reaching the opposite side you have to take the resort truck, which will take you to Ross Lake. The cabins in the resort is well furnished with bathing facilities. However, there is no restaurants. Visitors have to cook their own food. Kayaks, canoes and motor boats are available on rent basis.

The above are some selected places, from where you can easily access the hidden trails, glaciers, lakes, dams and waterfalls that are abundant in and around Newhalem.