They named it Diablo Lake, but there’s absolutely nothing devilish about it.
Diablo Lake is a serene reservoir located in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington state. It’s about 2.5 hours from Seattle and only a short distance from the Canadian border. Like other lakes in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbian province of Canada, Diablo Lake’s water is a vibrant, intense turquoise color. This is a result of surrounding glaciers grinding rocks into a fine powder that stays on the surface of the water, reflecting light and giving it its bright color.
Fortunately for us, the lake has great accessibility, multiple viewpoints, hiking trails, camping and boating. The best time for hiking is April – October, but it’s open for avid and experienced hikers year-round. It’s worth it to rent a canoe or kayak if you can. Boat tours are available as well.
Obviously, this lake is GORGEOUS. I’ve never seen anything like it, but I know there are other lakes in the general region that have the same unique turquoise color as a result of nearby glaciers.
Since Diablo Lake sits on the Skagit River, the drive towards the lake from Seattle is beautiful as well because the river carries the glacier-rock deposits. When we were on our way to Diablo Lake the sky was completely overcast, but the color of the water was still vibrant and stunning.
The lake was formed by Diablo Dam, the tallest in the world at one time at 389 feet high. From the lake, you can catch great views of Colonial, Pyramid and David Peaks, as well as Jack Mountain.
I wasn’t able to fit this hike in during my time at Diablo Lake, but the Diablo Lake Trail is an excellent choice. It’s a gentle uphill hike through an old-growth forest. About 1.5 miles in, there’s an overlook of the peaks I mentioned earlier and a gorge shortly thereafter, featuring 700 foot waterfalls (something I’ll DEFINITELY be doing my next time here).
If you’re looking for some of the best things to do near Seattle and are itching for the outdoors, I wouldn’t hesitate to consider Diablo Lake. It’s a hidden paradise and a place of (day)dreams.