Diablo Dam

North Cascades National Park Complex

Newhalem, Washington

Along Hwy 20 east of Newhalem

Diablo Dam is the middle of three dams along the upper Skagit River that were built to provide Seattle with electricity, meeting about 20% of the city's needs today. When the 389-foot-tall dam was completed in 1930 it was the tallest dam in the world. Behind the dam is the Diablo Lake Reservoir.

Seattle City Light provides tours of the dams.


diablo dam

Diablo Dam (W12A0443)


diablo dam

Diablo Dam (N10A0386)
A narrow road crosses the top of the dam.


diablo dam

Diablo Dam (N10A0381)


diablo lake

Diablo Lake (W12A0429)
Diablo Dam is at the far end of the lake.

More About North Cascades National Park Complex

The North Cascades National Park Complex includes the northern and southern units of the park as well as Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Ross Lake National Recreation Area includes some power-producing dams and the lakes behind them, most notably Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. Because of this development, this area isn't actually part of North Cascades National Park. Highway 20 which crosses the Cascades here is entirely within Ross Lake National Recreation Area, so visitors who stick to the highway may not actually set foot in the national park. However, there are numerous hiking trails that quickly lead into the park.

Visitors driving the North Cascades Highway just east of the lakes pass through some of prettiest scenery along this route, but this is also outside the national park itself. Rather, this stretch of road, which includes the Washington Pass Overlook, is in the Okanogan National Forest.

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Nearby Sights

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