Key: 2008-05-31:     2008-06-01:    

Big Beaver Creek on Ross Lake in NCNP

An overnight trip to Big Beaver Creek Campground on the shores of Ross Lake in N. Cascades National Park

Begin Date:

End Date:

2008-05-31: 8.68 mi
2008-06-01: 8.35 mi

Total: 17.03 mi

Maximum Elevation*:
2243.52ft (684.547m)

Minimum Elevation*:
1443.2ft (440.855m)

Gallery for this adventure:
Click here

* This is derived from GPS data and can have major discrepancies due to poor GPS reception.

Trip Report:

Saturday morning we packed up and hit the road at about 9AM. We only made a couple of stops on the way (One to get some extra foodstuffs and another to acquire our back country permit from the National Park Service in Marblemount). That got us to the trail head by about 12:00PM. After about 15-20 minutes getting situated, we hit the trail.

The weather on the hike in was superb. Only wispy high clouds were to be found in an otherwise blue sky. The temperature was a bit warm, but we weren't complaining at all.

The trail takes you down to the Ross Lake Dam from highway 20 at which point you need to cross it. That was actually quite an experience walking across something so big and imposing. It really puts you in awe.
Here is a pic of the dam:
Lakeside view of the dam.

After crossing the dam the trail goes through a couple switch backs as it makes its way toward the Ross Lake Resort about a mile in.

Once past the resort the trail winds around the point and back towards the bay that serves as the inlet for Big Beaver Creek. The forest also gradually changes from very arid climate filled with mostly lodgepole pine and the occasional wildflower meadow to a much more wet climate full of cedar, douglas fir, and hemlock.

At the 3 mile point on the actual Ross Lake Trail (The trail down to the damn doesn't count as part of the Ross Lake Trail), you come to the junction with the Sourdough Lookout Trail.

Eventually the trail approaches what is now a very loud Pierce Creek and crosses a nicely placed bridge over about a 40 foot falls. Here is a pic looking down the falls:
Raging Waterfall.

The trail continues until finally reaching Big Beaver Creek, which at this time of year is a very large river. Here is a pic:
This is why the bridge was so big!

Shortly thereafter we reached the campsite. The time was about 3:30PM so we had made rather good time considering how much we stopped to take photos and what not.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking the shore and nursing Jason's tender ankle that he rolled a bit shortly after reaching camp. Sasha took the opportunity to get wet and then subsequently roll in the fine sand, which of course warranted a trip back into the water courtesy of Tracy.
Throwing dogs that roll in the sand back into the water for a rinse!

As dusk approached we cooked our dinners and played cards. Unfortunately we also watched the clouds roll in, ruining any chance of a sunset we might have had.

That night as we had predicted, we got a few showers. Luckily we had the foresight to throw on the rain fly, so really it wasn't a big deal.

The next morning we got up at about 7:30AM, had a bite to eat, broke camp, and were back on the trail home by 8:10AM. We made great time back up the trail until we were stopped dead in our tracks, by a black bear also using the trail. We slowly backed up making lots of noise, but this only seemed to heighten the bear's curiosity. HE just kept coming at us for another 150 feet or so before finally deciding that we were not something he wanted to eat, or even investigate. Here are a couple pics of the bear:
Black Bear on trail who was not as scared of us as we were of him!

Black bear still on the trail after lots of shouting. Luckily he got tired of us yelling and went way up hill off the trail so we could get around him!

After the run in with the bear we gradually made our way back to the dam and shortly beyond it, the car. We arrived at the trail head at about 11:00AM feeling good about our trip, and happy we got out for a good weekend's worth of fun.