Ross Lake stretches across 23 miles north toward the Canadian border. In keeping with the wild terrain, it's accessible only by trail or water. Part of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, the lake formed as a result of the Ross Dam, an ambitious hydroelectric project from 1937 that was designed to generate electricity for the fast-growing Seattle area.

You can hike down to the Ross Dam from a trailhead on Hwy 20. The trail descends for 1 mile and crosses over the dam.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Diablo Lake

8.17 MILES

Just south of Ross Lake, Diablo Lake is held back by the 389ft Diablo Dam. A pullout off Hwy 20 known as the Diablo Dam Overlook provides incredible views…

2. North Cascades National Park

14.27 MILES

The wildest of all Pacific Northwest wildernesses, the lightly trodden, 1000-sq-mile North Cascades National Park (inaugurated in 1968) has no major…

3. EC Manning Provincial Park

20.95 MILES

This 708-sq-km provincial park, 30km southeast of Hope, is a hint of bigger – much bigger – things to come as you head east away from the farmlands of the…

4. Baker Lake & Lake Shannon

29.95 MILES

Just north of Concrete are two reservoirs formed by a pair of dams on the Baker River. Washington's largest colony of nesting osprey is found at Lake…