Ross River Dam

Ross Park has a viewing platform with informative signposts overlooking Lake Ross. The area has facilities for picnics or barbecues, as well as public toilets.

Ross River Dam
Cover photo from Townsville City Council

Location - Townsville, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - ~5 km return, depending on where you turn around
Duration - 1 hour return
Grade - 2

UPDATE: With plans to upgrade the water treatment pipeline, a three-staged approach has been implemented to utilise Ross River Dam for recreational activities. Stage one, to be introduced by June 2024, will allow for non-contact activities, including land-based fishing and walking. Stages two and three could start by June 2025 and open the site to commercial and recreational boating, fishing, and water skiing. A recreational area will be built near the current quarry and boat ramp (across the dam wall where the Rockwheelers have hosted previous events like Dam Dark and Hot Rock 8hr).

The Ross River Dam was constructed in 1971 initially for flood control and is now a significant water supply for the region. This rock and earth-filled embankment dam is located in the upper Ross River and is 8.7 kilometres in length and 35 metres high. The Lake Ross reservoir has a capacity of 250,000 megalitres with a catchment area of 750 square kilometres with a controlled gated spillway. A pumping station supplies the water to the Douglas Water Treatment Plant, where the water undergoes aeration, sedimentation, rapid sand filtration, and chlorination treatment before being pumped to the reservoir, where the water is distributed across Townsville. You can find the current water levels on the Townsville City Council website.

Visitors can view the informative signposts, the spillway, and the dam from a viewing platform at Ross Park. At the base of the dam and on the banks of the Ross River is Ross Park, part of Riverway, with facilities for picnics and/or barbecues, as well as public toilets at this location.

There is a gravel track directly next to Lake Ross, which you can walk along as far as you like. The embankment offers good views over Lake Ross and the surrounding mountains in the background.


Follow the Riverway Drive through Kelso to the end. There are large brown signs with "Lake Ross Dam" on them. Walk up the service road to the top of the dam wall. From the spillway, follow the dam wall along the top as far as you like and turn back. You can also start halfway along the dam wall in the next car parking area, which has stairs up the embankment.

It's an excellent place to walk your dog after work and watch the sunset over the mountains. Watch the rock wallabies jump amongst the rocks and spot some varied birdlife.

Mountain bike trails

The Townsville Rockwheelers held many mountain bike events out of the dam, including popular races such as Dam Dark and Hot Rock. However, these mountain bike trails were closed in 2019 due to the 100-year flood, and plans to reopen them are underway.

Camping and Swimming

No camping and no swimming is permitted at Ross Park/Lake Ross.

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