Ross Lake : A Guest Blog By Rylann McCarthy

Posted on: June 15, 2021

Ross Lake: Whitney Lakes Provincial Park

Whether you are looking to dip your paddle in the water or get down to earth with the stunning hiking trails and views, Whitney lakes Provincial Park contains an escape like no other. Ross lake is no exception to the beauty that can  be found in our local Lakeland, and was only the start to my ventures through this beautiful escape. At fist glance I wasn’t expecting much, however, from the water the lake transformed and within was found unique bays and endless surprises. One paddle stroke to another I was lead with curiosity and suspense as I paddled along side the local wildlife. Today we will venture together through the splendours of Ross lake. We will cover my exclusive, on water, reviews and give you the inside advantage to launch points, points of interest,  and need to know information. Gear up, and join me as we journey though one of our Lakeland’s best kept beauties. 


Welcome to Ross lake. A lake with all aspects of a paddlers dream. Hidden away in the southeast corner of Whitney Lakes Provincial Park is rare combination of crystal clear waters, astonishing shorelines and wildlife. In all of my paddling journeys I haven’t come across a lake like this one. At first glance it is just a typical lake. As you look more closely you will find this lake is painted with beautiful deep blue waters, surrounded by the spectacular views of Canadian spruce trees. The sky speckled with birds and shorelines crafted to perfection, a beauty only mother nature could create. From the water, Ross lake, is further transformed. One of the biggest reasons I paddle is that is gives me the ability to see more spectacular points of the lake from a different perspective. The peaceful and natural movement allows you to get closer and more involved with nature than you have ever been before. Ross lake comes to life from the water. My eyes are greeted with the beauties of the shorelines, as I watch waterfowl glide along and wildlife come down for a drink of water. These are views that are rarely captured from the shore.  


No matter your skill level, this lake has amenities for you. Ross lake is one of my go-to paddling destinations on a stormy day. Whether you are in a kayak, canoe or on a stand up paddle board (SUP), you will find a protected shoreline that is calm in any weather condition, keeping you safe and never pushing you out of your comfort zone. Ross lake makes a perfect half day trip for those who are looking for a quick paddle in the morning or the afternoon. It will take you approximately two to three hours to paddle the entire length of the lake. However, if you are like me, you will pack a lunch and turn this lake into an entire day of adventures. This lake is suited for a flat water style craft; meaning I would recommend paddling a kayak, canoe or SUP that is longer that 10 feet. This is because you will track better and be able to adventure further with ease. Ross lake is also largely known for its fishing and features an excellent boat launch for fishing boats complete with cleaning station. It is the perfect destination to cast away early in the morning, late in the evening or set up for the day or weekend.  


Whitney Lakes Provincial Park is a beautiful destination to disconnect from reality. Unplug your phones, recharge your mind and revitalize your soul. My favourite paddling destinations are the locations that help you get away from it all. The trip out to Ross lake was just that. Down a windy highway, adorned with lush trees lining the ditches. Then exit the main highway into the provincial park, away from society and away from civilization. No sounds of traffic or construction from the big cites, just the sounds of the birds and the trees rustling in the breeze. 


Nothing else in the world maters. The roads to Ross lake are paved and in excellent condition. Suitable for all vehicles (SUVs, Cars, Trucks, RVs etc). Arriving at the Provincial Park, you will find easy access to campsites and launch points . Cellular service in the area is decent, enabling directions right at the tips of your fingertips (directions to the launch are provided for you in Paddling Maps). There are two main locations to launch. The boat launch on the west end of the lake or from the the campground’s public beach. The boat launch is in excellent condition equipped with a large parking lot, a dock, fish cleaning station and public restrooms (a big bonus for those who do lots of backcountry paddling).


Ross lake is popular for fishing, so be aware that the boat launch may be busy depending on the time of year, but it is still an excellent place to launch from. The distance from the parking lot to the water is within a minute’s walk, so you will not have to carry your boats/boards very far. Please note: this launch location will be the only launching option if you are paddling in the early spring and or late fall due to the campsites opening and closing dates. Launching from the campsite is optional; however, if you are not camping there I would recommend launching from the boat launch as the beach is often very busy and has limited parking. Pack up the vehicles, load up the tents and trailers. On the east end of Ross lake, you will find the perfect get away for the weekend, Ross lake Campground. Fully equipped for your every need, it is the perfect place to relax an unwind. Camp under the stars and within the trees. Each campsite is beautifully guarded by nature giving you privacy and the feeling of isolation. The campsite is surrounded by endless hiking trails and has a beautiful golden, sand beach for you and your family to enjoy. The campsite is open for reservations from June 1st until September 8th. Campsites are available through advanced booking and rates range from thirty to forty dollars a night. To get Google Maps directions to either of the launch points or campsite please visit Paddling Maps. 


Some views can only be seen from the water. As a paddler and photographer I strive to capture and experience the essence of this beautiful place I call home, The Lakeland. Ross lake was like no other destination I have visited. It was more than its picture perfect deep blue water and lushes green trees. From the water the shores came to life. The birds swimming along with the wildlife on shore venturing down to the water front for a drink. I have never experienced such a peaceful moment, and never would have if I hadn’t have been in a kayak. I paddled along full of curiosity and suspense. Each shoreline and bay was unique in its own way. One moment I was paddling through the reeds and the next I was weaving through the trees lining the shores in the water. On the upper north end of the lake, is a tucked away oasis. Around the corner as I paddled into the bay, the waters went calm and the birds sang. I floated along the shore as I watched squirrels down by the water while a couple of great grey owls fly into the trees. Completely different from the rest of the lake I paddled through the trees and back onto the main portion of Ross lake. Definitely a must see for any of you that paddle out at Ross lake (point of interest highlighted in Paddling Maps). The lake has three beautiful golden sand beaches perfect to spend the day on or dock for lunch. Surrounding the Ross lake is over thirty kilometres of stunning hiking trials that trek through the lushes green trees, with fantastic views and terrain, which connect you with the four lakes of the Provincial Park.  


Ross Lake is the perfect destination to dip your paddle in the water for a peaceful paddle or get down to earth with the stunning hiking trails. Ross Lake is no exception to the rare beauty that can only be found in the lakeland area. Whether you are looking to get in a quick paddle or escape for the day or even the weekend, this lake has it all. From beginners to experts, this lake will keep you engaged and wondering what is around the next corner. With endless surprises and unique shore lines, load up and venture out to Ross lake. For directions and more information on launch points please visit Ross lake on Paddling Maps, and for more information on Ross lake Campground or to book your escape visit Ross lake Campground. See you guys out on the water. 




Rylan McCarthy 

Behind the Travels (Facebook Paddling group)  

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