Quote of the Month:

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

Diablo Lake

Parent Category: Attractions
Created: 01 September 2015

Photo of Diablo Lake, North Cascades Region

Address: Diablo Lake, Washington 98283, USA

Pictures below will take you on a virtual tour around this amazing lake. Enjoy the views!


Don’t let the name of Diablo Lake deceive you! Going there and thinking about the hell (as “Diablo” means “devil” in Spanish), you make it into heaven. Unique, outstanding, fascinating, enchanting – all these words cannot fully describe the real beauty of this place. 

But this heaven was created not by God, but by people in 1930 when the construction of Diablo Dam was completed. At that time Diablo Dam (with its height of 389 feet) was the tallest dam in the world. Nowadays the view of this huge dam displays an amazing mix of wilderness and civilization.

Photo of Diablo Lake, North Cascades Region 

Thus, Diablo Lake is not a natural lake, but a reservoir, artificially created by Diablo Dam, and it is situated between the Ross Lake and Gorge Lake. All these three lakes belong to a Skagit River Hydroelectric Project, which was developed by J.D.Ross (the second superintendant of Seattle City Light) in 1917.

Diablo Lake is now one of the most beautiful lakes in the North Cascades Region offering a wide range of recreation options. 

If you cannot live without hiking – the trailhead of Diablo Lake Trail is just for you, starting from the parking lot of the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center and stretching forward along the northern shoreline of Diablo Lake. We wrote about it in one of our previous articles. If you admire the view of the lake from the Diablo Lake Trail, you’ll find the lake, surrounded by numerous mountain peaks, looking like a bowl. 

Photo of Diablo Lake, North Cascades Region 

If you are limited in time and/or not a fan of hiking, there is a big viewpoint just along the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20), which is a great vantage point opening for you the majestic beauty of turquoise waters of Diablo Lake encircled by green mountain hills covered with dense forests. An unforgettable sight! By the way, the exceptional turquoise color of the lake originates from the silt grinded from the rocks by surrounding glaciers and brought to the lake through creeks. 

There are also boat tours offered by Seattle City Light, which will allow you to enjoy the serene view of gorgeous mountain peaks around the lake from a different angle. 

Photo of Diablo Lake, North Cascades Region 

Diablo Lake is also well-known and popular among kayakers and canoeists. There are three boat-in campsites on the lake: Buster Brown (with 3 sites available), Hidden Cove (with 1 site), and Thunder Point (with also 3 sites). Each site has a table, a fire grate and a pit toilet. 

If you decide to camp at one of these campsites, you will need a free permit, which you can get at North Cascades Visitor Center.  

Fishing is also a very popular activity here. But you will require a Washington State Fishing License. 

Photo of Diablo Lake, North Cascades Region 

Though it’s quite a long drive, people are coming to Diablo Lake to relish the divine beauty of the admirable lake and awesome mountain peaks surrounding it, explore the result of man-made work represented by Diablo Dam, or to experience a fabulous hiking along the fantastically scenic Diablo Trail. Whatever type of recreation you chose - Diablo Lake will not disappoint you.

These pictures were taken in August, 2013


GPS coordinates:

Diablo Dam:   48°42'51"N  121°07'52"W

Diablo Lake Lookout:  48°42'36.1"N 121°05'42.0"W

Diablo Lake Trailhead: 48° 43.093' N  121° 7.095' W


In order to get directions click on the link below



Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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