Hiking: Diablo Lake

This is a rewarding hike in the North Cascade National Park. No pass needed.


We arrived at the trailhead around noon on a weekday and had no problem finding parking.

The beginning of the trail is a bit confusing. If you follow the parameters of the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center Campus, you will see a sign on your left (to Sourdough Creek) and a sign on your right (to Deer Creek). Continue straight to stay on the Sourdough Creek trail till you hit the sign to Diablo Lake.


You will walk through a forest of old-growth where lichens and mosses abound. The lush green canopy provides necessary shade on a hot summer day.

At about 1.5 miles there is an opening on the right where the lake comes into view, together with the backdrop of magnificent Pyramid, Snowfield, Davis and Colonial Peaks.


Look for wildflowers in the spring and summer – tiger lilies, paintbrushes…

as well as some very happy succulents.


The trail narrows from here


hugging the rims of a gorge with emerald water meandering below.


After a while, you will be back into the woods, crossing three streams/ small waterfalls, before reaching the Ross Lake Dam Overlook at the end of the upper trail.


You can pause here or take the switchback down to a suspension bridge, where a better view of the dam awaits.


Here you have the option of catching a ferry back provided you are there at the right time – It leaves Ross Lake at 3:30PM. Or simply turn around and enjoy the view from the opposite direction.


Whichever way you choose, do save some time for a walk on top of the Diablo Dam after the hike.


Take in the views of the snowpeaks, the thundering water, and catch


Not one


But two rainbows


Then, as if the nature just keeps on giving…find a quaint little creek ton your left shortly after getting back on Hwy 20, thereby completes a fantastic day in the North Cascades National Park.


26 thoughts on “Hiking: Diablo Lake

      1. I’m glad you got to see it! 🙂 One day I went down some rapids in a fully inappropriate boat with too many people on it and lost one All Stars. Another day we went there with amore to show him our most astonishing river but that day it didn’t wish to play and it was grey and murky like some Danube. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Drove through there in the late 70’s and always regretted not stopping. But now you’ve given me a great idea for a road trip. Especially as I’d likely be passing through Columbia Valley wine country either coming or going. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am looking at the San Juans in mid summer, we might have to take a detour and check this out. Great post as always, i love our PNW!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is the first time I’ve heard about the North Cascade National Park and I am immediately adding it to my bucket list! Such a stunning and scenic trail which seems worth hiking. When’s the best time of the year to hike Diablo Lake?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved your post. Hiking is a amazing way to connect with nature or you are just looking for some inner peace. We were in Asheville last hiking in the blue ridge mountain. We climbed 4 mile hike up a mountain to view the sunset. By the time we got up there, it was kind of foggy. The view was still so pretty though.

    Liked by 1 person

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