Scenic USA - Washington

Each day Scenic USA presents a different and interesting photo feature from somewhere in
the United States. Chosen from a wide variety of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry
byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a
brief explanation. For further detailed information, links to other sites are provided, however
these links should not be considered an endorsement.



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Nearby Points of Interest

Old Number Six

Ross Lake NRA

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades Scenic Byway

Mount Baker Scenic Drive

Picture Lake

Mount Baker

Mount Shuksan






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Diablo Lake

Diablo Lake - Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington

Photo by Herschel Tucker
H.R. Tucker Photo Gallery
Ross Lake - Courtesy NPS

     Often described as one of the most scenic highways in the northwest, Washington's Route 20 follows the Skagit River Valley and climbs through one of the wildest national parks in America. The North Cascade National Park, sharing a northern border with Canada, is made up of mostly wilderness land, and highly influenced by the magnificent Cascade Mountain Range. Here, a wall of immense peaks collect vast amounts of snow, contributing to over 300 glaciers in the park.
     One of the unique features of the park is the lack of access roads. Although the territory is covered with 360 miles of hiking trails, only a few roads actually enter the parkland. One of the park roads, the Silver Skagit Road, enters from British Columbia. Ross Lake from Desolation Mountain Trail The other, the rough and rugged Cascades River Road covers a 23 mile route from Marblemount, and heads toward the backcountry and Cascade Pass. Visitors hoping to experience the North Cascades by car must settle for Route 20 as it passes through Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The Ross Lake NRA is viewed as the access point and a connecting link between the north and south units of the national park. One of the must see attractions on this scenic highway is Diablo Lake. From the overlook, Diablo Lake appears with a varied cast, ranging from a beautiful jade-green to a turquoise hue. The water's tint is due to tiny particles of glacial till, sometimes called flour.
     Considering this splendid lake view, it's hard to imagine that the adjacent Ross Lake is considered the most scenic of the Skagit River chain of reservoirs. Beginning in 1918 and continuing for over 50 years, the Seattle City Light Company constructed three huge dams along the Skagit, providing power to the city of Seattle. Although hydroelectric power is considered clean energy, one of the obvious drawbacks is a string of power transmission cables along this scenic route.

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