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Why Is Ross Lake in Washington Green?

The North American landscape is full of stunning scenery and travel-worthy sites. The vast size of the continent lends itself to a variety of landscapes.

Perhaps one of the most notable scenic areas to visit within the United States is the Pacific North West, especially the part that extends into Canada. This joining of the countries is where we find Ross Lake in Washington state.

Let’s take a look at what makes this particular spot so interesting.

Where Is Ross Lake in Washington? 

In the mountains of North Washington, Ross Lake borders Canada and is close to 23 miles long. Within the U.S., you can find the lake within the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and in Skagit Valley Provincial Park in Canada. 

How Was Ross Lake Formed?

Ross Lake was formed after the creation of Ross Dam in Washington. Construction on the dam began in 1937 and ended in 1949. The Skagit River cuts off at Ross Dam, breaks off, and creates Ross Lake. From that point, the lake flows from Washington into British Columbia. 

Pro Tip: Ross Lake isn’t the only lake worth visiting in Washington. We uncovered How Cold Is Lake Roosevelt, Washington (and Can I Swim in It)?

Man doing yoga pose in front of Ross Lake.
Enjoy the stunning views of Northern Washington at Ross Lake.

Why is Ross Lake in Washington Green?

Due to its location, Ross Lake is in the middle of several other bodies of water. One such body of water is Diablo Lake. Diablo Lake is on the Skagit River, between Ross Lake and Gorge Lake. Throughout the year, the glaciers surrounding the lake grind down rocks from the surrounding area to create a “glacier flour” that turns the lake into a vibrant turquoise green.

Because of its close location to Ross Lake, at certain times throughout the year, the “flour” from the glaciers makes its way into Ross Lake. It turns the water a similar hue to that of Diablo Lake.

How Deep Is Ross Lake in Washington?

Like many of the lakes located on the Skagit River, Ross Lake is quite deep. At its deepest point, it’s 540 feet deep. 

View of Ross Lake and surrounding mountains.
Ross Lake is known for its vibrant green color.

Can You Swim in Ross Lake?

In thinking about whether or not Ross Lake might be a great destination spot for you, you may be wondering if you can swim in Ross Lake. If so, you’re in luck! Along the shoreline, two major sandy beaches are specifically for swimming.

These beaches are at the two main camping sites on the lake. Though you’re able to swim, it’s important to note that, due to its location, the water in Ross Lake is cold year-round.

It may not be the most pleasant for swimming. 

What Kind of Fish Are in Ross Lake? 

In addition to its hiking trails and stunning scenery, Ross Lake is well known for being a great place to fish. Though there are a few other minor fish types in the lake, Ross Lake is most known for its population of rainbow trout. Visitors and locals alike visit the lake year-round to enjoy the recreational fishing that the area provides. 

Pro Tip: We uncovered What is A Fishing License (and When Do You Need One) to make the process easier for you.

Couple sitting in innertubes on Ross Lake
Cool down on your adventures by enjoying a relaxing swim in Ross Lake.

Can You Launch a Boat on Ross Lake in WA?

Due to its location on the Skagit River, Ross Lake is a popular destination for boaters. At a few of the campsites along the shore, boat owners get ramps and roads that allow them to launch their boats onto the lake. This is a particularly popular spot during the summer season with campers and locals.

Can You Kayak on Ross Lake?

Maybe you have major interest in some water activities but owning and operating a full-sized boat isn’t your thing. Ross Lake is perfect for a little bit of kayaking or canoeing. With the lake and surrounding area known for its great recreational activities, you’ll surely find many others like yourself enjoying a warm day treading the water. 

Is Ross Lake in Washington Worth Visiting? 

So, now that we know a little more about what to expect from Ross Lake, is it worth visiting? We definitely think so. Whether you enjoy a good hike in the mountains or a chilly dip in the lake, Ross Lake has something for everyone.

With its lake-side campsites to its close proximity to a few of Washington and British Columbia’s charming towns, there’s no shortage of places to stay in the area. Perhaps Ross Lake in Washington could be your next dream destination. 

Is a trip to Ross Lake in your future? Tell us in the comments.

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