Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Surrounded by North Cascade peaks in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Diablo Lake Overlook is a must-stop roadside attraction along Highway 20. It is right off the highway and has ample parking, restrooms, and a covered picnic shelter. Interpretive signs full of geological and historical tidbits are placed throughout, and the views are spectacular. There's no better place than Diablo Lake Overlook to view this beautiful body of water.

Created by Seattle City Light's damming of the Skagit River in 1930, Diablo Lake is a man-made reservoir. Diablo Dam is one of three dams (including Gorge and Ross) on the Skagit River that provide electricity to Seattle. In 2012 approximately 90 percent of Seattle's electricity was provided by hydroelectric dams, including those on the Skagit and Pend Oreille Rivers.

Above the lake, several mountains tower in the range of 7,000 to 8,000 feet. Diablo's turquoise waters are the product of glacier-ground rock silt, which is carried down from these mountains by streams. This “rock flour” reacts with light to give the lake its bluish-green hue. Bring your camera, as it is nearly impossible not to snap a few photos at this special destination.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required

Open from

May 01 to October 31


Great mountain and lake views.



Pets allowed



Big vistas
Geologically significant
ADA accessible


Nearby Adventures

North Cascades National Park
Ross Lake National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Ross Lake National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park
Ross Lake National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park


I've driven from Burlington, east on to SR 20 to the entrance of the North Cascades Hwy and through to Winthrop and return, a number of times, canoed and camped at Lake Diablo, I have travelled a LOT, and this former Vancouver BC, now Cowichan Valley Vancouver Island resident, has been thrilled to pieces with my many adventures on the Cascade Loop. Winthrop at the eastern end had an antique car show happening when I was last there, have a picture of me standing on the running board of a '38 Packard rag-top banana yellow, gangster white-wall tired car of of my dreams! Another memory which stands out is the best baked Idaho potato I have ever eaten. Period. Stayed in a log cabin on the Methow River with an adjoining lob cabin restaurant. Wow...just wow. I'm 64 next month and my love of adventures and travel go back to childhood. Ain't done yet! A person could do this loop many times and always find something new and exciting. Please consider exploring the North Cascades Loop at least one time before it is too late.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.