North Cascades 1: The Lakes

North Cascades National Park occupies a section of the Cascades reaching from the northern section of Lake Chelan all the way to the Canadian border. It’s a large park, but there are not many roads through it and much of it can be only accessed by trail or boat. It’s also spread out into at least three distinct locations. But the main portion of the park lies along Highway 20, which is the part I will be exploring. Highway 20 is the northernmost highway in the continental U.S. to cross the Cascades. It passes through a narrow mountain canyon past three lakes (Gorge Lake, Diablo Lake, and Ross Lake), before winding it’s way to Washington Pass. In this post, I will be examining the three lakes.

All three lakes are created by dams. Gorge Lake is the first you come across if you are moving west to east. It’s the smallest of the lakes. The second lake, Diablo Lake, is the widest and most scenic. Ross Lake is the largest and longest, stretching all the way into Canada. It’s also the hardest one to access. Here’s a map of the Highway 20 as it weaves it’s way past the three lakes:

First, a few images of Gorge Lake:

Next, Diablo Lake:

And last but not least, one image of Ross Lake, off in the distance: