Washington Nature July 08, 2016
You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Experienced This Beautiful Lake In Washington
Diablo Lake is an absolute must-see near the North Cascades. This beautiful, bright reservoir along the Skagit River is best known for its vibrant turquoise color, and can be easily reached just off Highway 20 in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area.
The water gets its vivid, turquoise hue from surrounding glaciers that grind rocks into a fine powder (or "glacier flour") - which is then carried downstream into the lake.
It's a popular place to go kayaking, canoeing, camping and, of course, hiking for splendid views of the lake, surrounding peaks, and historic Diablo Dam. At 389 feet tall, the dam was completed in 1930 and was thought to be the highest in the world at the time.
You can see the bright opaque water from the Diablo Lake Overlook (just off the North Cascades Highway, at Milepost 132) - but it's way more exciting to view it along the Diablo Lake Trail. The route follows above the lake's northern shore for about 3.8 miles (or 7.6 miles round-trip).
After only about a mile-and-a-half, there's a side path that leads to the overlook with sweeping views of the lake, Diablo Dam, as well as Colonial and Pyramid Peaks. If you keep going, you can also continue on to the more popular Ross Lake Trail, and Sourdough Trail.
Luckily, we have plenty of great camping options by this lake, as well as a few boat-in campgrounds (Thunder Point, Buster Brown, and the secluded Hidden Cove). One of the most popular and scenic places is Colonial Creek, which offers 142 cozy sites by the shores that are all first come, first serve.
This stunning reservoir actually serves as a part of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project (managed by Seattle City Light). During the summer, Seattle City Light even offers daily boat tours over the brilliant turquoise water. (You can find more info about their tours
If you’re looking for a mountain lake on the Olympic Peninsula, check out the lovely
Lena Lake. Have you been to Diablo Lake before? Where else do you like to explore by the North Cascades?