North Cascades Photography- Diablo Dam Tour

North Cascades Photography – Diablo Dam Tour

As you drive along the North Cascades Highway section of the Cascade Loop there plenty of wonderful vistas and things to see. There are three dams along the Skagit River, Diablo Dam is one of them, part of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project that supplies Seattle with a large proportion of its power needs.

You can stop at the overlooks and admire them from afar, OR you can take the Diablo Dam Tour and see the operation up close.

Here is a view of Diablo Lake, from the Diablo Overlook.

Diablo Overlook Panorama

The unique, intense turquoise hue of the lake’s water is attributed to the surrounding glaciers that grind rocks into a fine powder that is carried into the lake through creeks. That fine powder, also called glacial flour, stays suspended in the lake, giving the water its brilliant color.

Seattle City Light Diablo Lake Boat Tours

Seattle City Light offers tours of Diablo Dam. The tour includes a look at the Powerhouse, a walking tour of Ladder Falls, lunch and a Boat Ride! I was lucky enough to get invited on one of the tours and managed to capture a few images along the way.

We started off the tour in Newhalem.

The tour of the Powerhouse and Ladder Creek Falls was awesome. There is a night time program at Newhalem, Dam Good Chicken Dinner & Ladder Creek Falls by Night which I am definitely coming back for!

Then we were off for a boat ride!

The pictures speak for themselves, the tour was interesting and a lot of fun. Here is the main page for Seattle City Light – Skagit Tours. Tours start at the end of June and reservations are required, so book your trip today!

Be sure to visit the Diablo Lake Overlook, its a great place for sunsets and also for capturing images of the night sky!

North Cascades Photo Tours

Mt Shuksan, Mt Baker Highway

Access to the back country of the North Cascades starts in July. Each years winter snowfall melts faster or slower and its usually not until mid to late July that you can access the passes and higher elevations of the park.

Washington Pass

Day Photo Tours are available, we can visit places along the North Cascades Highway, like the Washington Pass Overlook and at the end of the Mt Baker Highway, Artist Point

These highways are closed in winter due to snow and open in late-May/June and even some years in July!

Overnight Photo Tours are overnight backpacking trips to special places in the North Cascades like one of the Fire Lookouts, or Sahale Camp.

More info is available here, or feel free to email me with questions. andyporterphotography@gmail.com

 

 

North Cascades Photography – North Cascades Highway

Welcome to North Cascades Photography

Each week we will visit some place in the North Cascades. The best camp sites; day hikes and overnight trips; lookout towers, the best locations for sunrises, sunsets and night sky imaging. Whether you’re into a week long trip, or the best place for a drive-in view, I will cover  the best times to go and How To Tips ranging from How to set exposure for the Milky Way to Where to see Mountain Goats? 

North Cascades Highway

The North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) follows the Skagit River from the Puget Sound deep into the mountains, reaching its highest point at Washington Pass, 100 miles east of I-5, before it drops down to the Methow Valley.

In winter (usually at the end of November) the highway is closed due to heavy snow. The highway is gated on the west side at milepost 134, east of Diablo, and on the east side at milepost 171, 14 miles west of Mazama. Reopening in the spring is usually accomplished by early May.

In Sedro-Woolley the National Park Service and Forest Service share an office, right along the highway. You can stop in for maps and parking passes. They can also give you all sorts of great advice about where to go, current conditions, and all that.

As you head east towards the mountains you’ll pass through Marblemount. If you are planning to camp over night on the North Cascades National Park, you’ll need a permit, and this is the place to get it, the Marblemount Wilderness Information Center. This is also the last town to resupply anything for about 70 miles, so fill up!

The Diablo Lake Overlook (milepost 132) is a wonderful vista point to stop when driving. There are rest rooms and lots of parking. The view is amazing: late afternoon is the best light.

This is also a wonderful location for capturing images of the night sky.

Rainy Pass at 4,833 feet (milepost 157) is where the PCT crosses the North Cascades Highway. There are trailheads on either side of the highway:

  • On the north is the trail head for the Pacific Crest Trail, headed north to Cutthroat Pass and then onto Canada.
  • To the south the parking area is to access the Maple Pass – Lake Ann Loop trail (one of my favorites), and the paved Rainy Lake trail.

Lots more on these trails later!

Washington Pass Overlook (milepost 163) is at the highest point along the highway, at 5,477 feet. There is a paved spur road to parking, restrooms and a pathway to the overlook. Liberty Bell is the massive slab towering above. Sunrise is the time for the best light on the peak.

The long curve of the highway below makes for some sweet shots at night. This is one of the best spots for capturing images of the Milky Way.

The North Cascades Highway is a part of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway. This 440 mile loop crosses the Cascade Range twice and visits some of the most stunning scenery in the USA. Visit their web site to earn EVERYTHING you need to make your trip a huge success.

You can find out more about Classes, Prints, Photo Tours and more at my web site, AndyPorterImages.com

Next Week: Tips on Night Sky Photography

Diablo Lake Overlook, North Cascades National Park

The Diablo Lake Overlook is located on Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) at mile marker 132 and is a part of the Cascade Loop .

From the intersection of Highway 20 and Interstate 5, its about 90 minutes drive to get there. The overlook is just east of Colonial Creek Campground. Open to traffic year round, its a wonderful place for sunsets.

Diablo Overlook Panorama

Night sky imaging is also wonderful at the overlook, the lake below and Colonial Peak above make for some stunning shots.

Diablo Overlook

Night 4

Cascade Loop

Stars at the Diablo Overlook, North Cascades National Park

Diablo Overlook Winter Night Sky

On Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 I made my way to the Diablo Overlook on the North Cascades Highway.

The plan was to see about a few sunset pics and then wait for the stars.

Here are the results!

diablo-winter-panoranaThis is 4 images, photo merged into a panorama.

And a few more. The 2017 dates for the North Cascades Night Sky Photo Tours are set. Here is the link to find out more, and if you’re interested, register for this years tours.

Diablo Overlook, North Cascades Highway

Last night I drove up the North Cascades Highway to do a Photo Tour Slide Show for campers at the Colonial Creek Camp ground in North Cascades National Park.

I got there a little early and tooled up a bit further to the Diablo Overlook. The green waters of Diablo Lake and the suns rays as the sunset approached were stunning.

Diablo Overlook

Diablo Overlook