East Bank Ross Lake TrailEast Bank Ross Lake TrailEast Bank Ross Lake Trail




A Whatcom County hike


Note: The trailhead is accessible by car only when the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) is open.

   1. Driving instructions: From Sedro-Woolley drive east on State Highway 20 to near milepost 138. There is a large parking area here.

   2. Data: This hike is in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The hike description below is for a 7.8 mile-round trip hike with a total elevation gain of about 1500 feet. SWITMO gives it a rating of moderate.

Hike Description:

The hike begins near the toilet facility and goes downhill about 0.1 mile to Ruby Creek and a large stock bridge. As the hiker looks upstream one sees the confluence of Panther Creek and Ruby Creek. Do not take the Happy/Panther trailhead which is at the north end of the parking area. That is a different hike.

Once down to Ruby Creek, cross the bridge. The PNT goes left, uphill. The trail that goes off to the right is the Ruby Creek Trail and this is a nice hike along Ruby Creek to Canyon Creek, about 3 miles upstream.

After going uphill a ways, the trail levels off onto an old roadbed which is the result of a 1930’s road building attempt to link the Skagit River with Harts Pass.

The trail meanders, going in and out of small canyons. At about the 2.8 mile point there is a four-way intersection. Going straight ahead and eventually down hill about 0.5 mile takes the hiker to Ross Lake. This is a nice turn-around point. At the main intersection, the trail that angles off sharply to the right goes up the steep Little Jack Mountain Trail. The PNT goes less-sharply right, going gradually uphill to the Hidden Hand Pass at 3.9 miles from the trailhead.

The PNT continues beyond Hidden Hand Pass but this is a good turn-around point for the day hiker.

Source: USGS

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