North Cascades Highway - Diablo Lake Vista Point


What? :

Enjoy the views of Diablo Lake and the surrounding mountain peaks from this location.

Not matter what are your plan and how much time you have this is a must stop location on your North Cascades Highway drive.

On a clear summer day when there is no wind the view from this point is breathtaking. The lake surround you on both side with his blue turquoise watercolor and the large, massive, and spiky mountain are towering above you and the landscape is covered with the local forest.

I visit here when there was no wind at all and the mountain reflection in the lake water was perfect.



Where? :

Located alongside of North Cascades Highway, milepost 131.7.

Drive 11.2 miles east of Newhalem and take the clear and marked turn to your left.

If you are coming from the east this is 31.1 miles west of Washington Pass Observation Site.

Google Map Link



When? :

Check Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) what are the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) status. The road may be partly closed for the winter season.



Due note 1: There is a large parking lot that can also fit RV and trailers.


Due note 2: Picnic Table and Toilet are available.


Due note 3: Free of charge


Due note 4: If you want to get more information on the park, stop by the North Cascades National Park Visitor’s Center in Newhalem.


Due note 5: The lake is a popular place to kayak or canoe, the water may be cold for swimming.



My thoughts:

This location provide amazing view of the lake and the mountains, and I spend here at least 30 min.

I stopped here both on my way east and when coming back to Seattle at the afternoon. When I stopped here at late morning there was no wind at all and no cloud and the lake water were completely flat. A perfect reflection of the mountains into the lake calm turquoise water.

When coming at the afternoon the change in weather (clouds and wind level) change the view dramatically.



The visit:

From this high looking viewing point, you will enjoy the lake views from both sides and see the high mountains that rise around the lake from all it sides.

On the distance you can see the historic Diablo Dam top section with arches stractures.


Diablo lake is one of three lakes in the area that are manmade as part of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. The three large dams are holding the lakes water and are used for power generation. The two other lakes are Ross Lake to the northeast and Gorge Lake to the west.


The distinctive turquoise color of the lake is the result of suspended fine rock particles that enter the lake when glacier melts, especially during the late summer months. The small rock particle (like flour) float in water for a long time and they reflect mostly green light.

The rocks are eroded by the glacier and flows into the water through glacial streams that are feeding the lake.

The color is impressive manly on clear sunny days where you have good sunshine reflection from the lake.

When I visit here there was a wiled fire running in the mountains on the other side of the lake and during the afternoon they tried to fight few hot-spots up in the mountain.





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