Posted on 10 Comments

Ross Lake

Ross Lake is a short hike near Balfour, BC. The trail leads to a quiet sub-alpine lake with fishing and backcountry camping opportunities. It’s a great location for new hikers.

Trailhead: Redfish Creek FSR
Distance, round trip: 3.5km
Elevation: +238m
Season: late June to early October
Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead & Driving Directions

From Highway 3A near Balfour, turn onto Beggs Road and follow it 1.4km until it turns into Redfish Forest Service Road, crossing Laird Creek. Continuing following Redfish FSR higher, forking right at the Redfish Research Area at 3.0km. The road climbs high, and 4WD high clearance is recommended.

At 11.0km, stay left, following the sign for Ross Lake. At 11.3km, cross a bridge. And at 12.6km, reach the junction for Ross Lake and White Lady (picture below):

Ross Lake junction

You can now choose to park at the switch-back or drive up the left fork on the 4WD HC road for the last 0.5km to the trailhead. This last bit of road was rough and overgrown in 2018.

Up the Ross Lake Trail

The trail starts off wide and gentle, then narrows into a steady climb. The route is bordered with overgrowing huckleberry bushes which were just starting to produce small green berries in early July.

As we neared the top, we crossed the bottom of a rockslide and then within 40 minutes were at the lake.

View of Ross Lake where the trail ends

The trail ends with a backcountry camp spot at the shore of the lake. A cool breeze was blowing off the clear blue water – it’s a lovely place!

Hiking Around Ross Lake

There are patches of faint trail going counter-clockwise around the lake. We followed this boot path for a while and had a bit of a bushwhack around the perimeter, climbing up and down deadfall.

Walking along Ross Lake

Our original plan was to bushwhack up to the ridge beyond and make our way to the summit of Mt. Yuill. However, we chose a route that was thick with rhododendron and made very slow progress as we fought our way uphill. After about an hour of bushwhacking, we called it quits and had lunch on a small meadow.

As we hiked back down, we came to the upper lake higher above Ross Lake and found better access for the ridge (next time!).

View over Ross Lake from the far shore

We retraced our footsteps around the lake and followed the trail back down. Although this is a short hike, it’s a great summer destination and the ridges offer some interesting opportunities for experienced hikers willing to get off-trail.

Bog Laurel growing along the lakeshore
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
5 1 vote
Trail Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

I would highly recommend something higher than a 2wd low clearance vehicle going up this road. I took my car up there Last summer, and only made it to about KM6 before I had to turn around.

Access Road Conditions
High clearance
Access Road Vehicle
2WD High Clearance
Tracey Mozel
Tracey Mozel
3 years ago

Had a lovely hike into Ross Lake yesterday for a picnic lunch. The road is rough in places, but our Subaru Outback made it with no problems. Note, however, that there is active logging up on Redfish Creek FSR this summer, and the road is closed Mondays to Fridays.

The trail itself is somewhat overgrown, with quite a few trees down across it that you need to clamber over.

Trip Date
Trail Conditions
Decent; a bit overgrown with several big trees down across it.
Access Road Conditions
Active logging; the road is closed M-F.
Access Road Vehicle
4WD Low Clearance
2 years ago

Anyone know if there is still active logging and weekday closure for red fish creek fsr in 2022?

1 year ago
Trail Rating :

Went in today….was a fantastic day! The easy rating tricked me tho….while it was an easy trail footing and clearance wise, it was alot of uphill!!! Didn’t realize how steep until our way down. Not terrible, but just surprised me with the easy rating. My Tacoma made the drive easily, and the trail was clear and lovely. Thank you

Trip Date
1 year ago

2023 Update: Access road still needs a high clearance 4WD as a lot of washouts/bars. We parked at the suggested slope 500m from the sign. The trail itself is well maintained and not overgrown. It’s a wonderful place and worth the short and steep ascent!

Trip Date
Trail Conditions
Access Road Conditions
Access Road Vehicle
4WD High Clearance

[…] 11.0km, fork right, ignoring the sign for nearby Ross Lake. At 11.1km, fork left, ignoring the signed Redfish FSR East. The road gets narrow and ascends over […]