East Bank Trail
The East Bank Trail is 31 miles (50 km) long and entails moderate elevation gains. Lowland forests and lakeside views makes this an excellent choice for family day hikes, an extended backpack or a stock trip. At mile 16 (26 km)the trail leaves Ross Lake, looping east around Desolation Peak through a remote mountain valley.
From the East Bank Trailhead, it is a short descent to the Ruby Creek Bridge. This quiet place was the scene of a gold rush in the 1880s, with every foot taken up in placer claims. A few signs of these activities can be found today; look for sites and interpretive plaques near the bridge. Across the bridge turn left, west, on the East Bank Trail. (To the east is USFS Trail #736, which connects to the Canyon Creek Trail and others that head into to the Okanogan National Forest.) In a short distance the trail widens. This is the end of a road-building attempt made in the 1930s to link the Skagit River with Harts Pass.
Hidden Hand Pass
Descending through forests for several miles from Hidden Hand Pass, the trail reaches the shores of Ross Lake and continues with fine lake views and opportunites for swimming, camping and fishing along the way. A favorite place to enjoy this lake setting is from the high bridge across the mouth of Devil's Creek Canyon. Lightning Creek camps are reached 16 miles (26 km) from State Route 20. From here a side trail heads toward Desolation Peak (described on a separate hand-out).
Lightning Creek Valley
Highlights along this section of the East Bank Trail are two very beautiful and different lakes. Willow Lake is a long shallow basin, a perfect habitat for water-related plants, mammals, birds, and insects. The trail parallels the lake, with a spur trail down to the meadowy area on the north end. Two miles (3 km) north of Willow Lake is a half mile (.8 km) side trail to Hozomeen Lake. Hozomeen Lake is deep and clear, the perfect reflective foreground for the granite spires of Hozomeen Peaks which rise to the north. The lake is closed to use during early summer to protect nesting loons. Gray wolves have been observed in this area. This is truly a place to protect and appreciate.
There are many boat-in and hiker camps, as well as stock camps, along Ross Lake and the East Bank Trail. Backcountry permits are required for all overnight stays at these sites! Fires are permitted where fire grates are provided. Use only dead and down wood, and do not burn trash. This area becomes very dry in mid-summer. Please be careful with fire! Many animals, including black bear, live in this rich habitat. Hang your food and keep a clean camp. Keep the permanent residents healthy and wild!
For Additional Information Contact:
Cascades National Park
For more information visit the National Park Service website