Ross Dam & Big Beaver Creek


Backpack - Ross Dam & Big Beaver Creek

Backpack 3 days and 2 nights along Ross Lake, hiking up to 28 miles and gaining up to 3,500 feet. Enjoy lakeside camping and massive old growth forests. While open to all Mountaineers, this trip is designed to offer extra coaching and skills/gear practice for Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) students.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 28.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 2,200 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 to 2 mph

9:00 AM June 22, 2018 at North Cascades National Park Wilderness Information Center, 7280 Ranger Station Rd, Marblemount, WA 98267 (tentative)

Tree Huggers and Lake Lover’s rejoice! We will backpack along spectacular Ross Lake to our lakeside campsite where we will spend 2 nights.  On our middle day, we will hike up Big Beaver Creek through the country’s largest remaining stand of western red cedars (some more than 1000 years old).  Our tentative schedule is:

Day 1:  Park along Highway 20, cross the Ross Lake Dam, then hike along the shores of Ross Lake 8 miles, gaining about 1000 feet, to our camp at Big Beaver Camp for 2 nights.

Day 2:  From our camp at Big Beaver Camp, we will hike with day packs only up Big Beaver Creek, possibly as far as 39 Mile Creek before returning to Big Beaver Camp.  Up to 12 miles, gaining up to 1000’

Day 3:  Hike back to our cars, 8 miles, gaining about 1500 feet. 

Expected low overnight temperatures will be in the 30s. You should check the current weather report shortly before departure: .  Rain is always possible, and you should bring rain coat, rain pants, and pack cover and clothes that will keep you warm when wet (no cotton!). The trip is subject to change or cancellation if the predicted weather is unusually poor.

Conditioning:  This trip requires good conditioning.  We will average about 1.5 to 2 mph on the trail, including breaks.  This should not be your first backpacking trip. 

Cost:  I paid $20 for our permit.  Each person’s share of this cost will depend on the number of people on the trip.  Total permit cost per person will be between $3 and $7 per person, depending on how many sign up.

Other gear notes:

  1. Bear canisters are not required. Big Beaver Camp has a bear box for food storage. I plan to bring my Ursack.
  2. You should bring some method of water purification.
  3. Bugs are certainly possible; bring bug repellant.
  4. To reduce pack weight, you should consider sharing gear, especially stoves, cooking pots, water filters, and tents. About 2 weeks before the trip, I will send an Email to all. If you are interested in sharing any items, Reply All to this Email, describing gear you would like to provide for sharing or if you are interested in sharing another’s gear. Sharers should make arrangements directly with any interested people.

Ross Dam & Big Beaver Creek

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports