Diablo Lake Trail

MODERATE 82 reviews

Diablo Lake Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Marblemount, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.8 miles
1479 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running






wild flowers

This is an out and back trail with mild elevation gain that takes you through interesting landscapes, including rainforest-like vegetation, rocky fields, dry open areas and the Skagit River. About halfway down, the trail leads along the top of a gorge, from which you can look down at the turquoise waters of Lake Diablo. At the end of the trail the Ross Dam is visible. This trail does not have the most beautiful views of any hike in the area, but the varied vegetation keeps things interesting.

2 days ago

I hiked this trail mid June. I have mixed feelings about this trail as my motive is to move away from noise and buildings when hiking. You hear the highway during much of this hike and the power lines kind of ruin the views. The trail does have some value as it offers a gradual climb (easy enough for most hikers) starting in a peaceful forest. The only sounds are the many song birds. You will cross a few snow melt streams without any problem. The avalanche presents some boulders to climb. This is a very short area, though. Take notice near the end of the boulders a low cave like area that looks somewhat filled in, yet blows cold air. Great way to cool off. Next, is a short off trail look out near a power line tower. I spotted some warblers there. The trail moves close to the gorge edge. Here you are exposed to the sun and need sure footing as the drop off can be dangerous. There are a few limited views along this part which include the lake, mountains, and cliffs. Just before the trail descends to Ross dam is a lookout. The view from route 20 is actually better then this one.

3 days ago

Hike was not what i expected.. probably should have read more comments … It was a very easy trail with no reward at the end barely a view… But when you drive to the Lookout it made up for the 3 Hour Drive. Everyone’s photos were taken from the look out..you drive to.

4 days ago

It’s ok. Not my favorite in the park

14 days ago

Not a huge fan of this trail. The views at the base of the lake and Diablo Dam is pretty but a bit disappointing with all the power lines strewn across the lake. The hike is a bit steep in the beginning but you get a small reward halfway through with views of the lake from above. The rest of the hike is not very exciting and all you get at the end is a view of more power lines and Ross Dam.

22 days ago

This was a beautiful trail! The lookout point is not what we expected as there were power lines and a dam in the view but it was still very beautiful. If you're looking for views I wouldn't say this trail is the best as far as vantage point but there's still so much to see. To see the lake as depicted in some of the photos we were told to head to Keplar (name?) trail which was about a 3/4 mile drive past the Diablo turn-off on the highway. The trail was well marked and easy to moderate. It was fairly busy but still very enjoyable. Highly recommend!

22 days ago

Beautiful view

25 days ago

This trail can be very confusing is you haven’t hiked it before. From the trailhead, you hike about a quarter mile before you get to where the trail actually starts! There is a wooden vertical “Diablo Trail” sign to the left at the actual start to the trail. I accidentally wondered an hour out of my way going the wrong way today and had to wander back to actually start on the correct trail!

The first 1/2 mike is steeper and gets rocky in some places. Then the trail levels a bit for a while.
I hike passed the lookout point, but didn’t make it to the lake. The lookout point isn’t great, since it has power lines in your view. If you actually go about 5 more mins past the lookout point, you’ll get a much better view just from the trail.

To get to the viewpoint, you’ll scramble over some large boulders.

Again, I didn’t make it to the lake. I wandered back to the trailhead parking lot and went down to the lake area there.

Just pay attention to where you start and when going back. I got so lost, turned around, and confused. The trail isn’t marked at well as it could be.

1 month ago

Lookout was gorgeous, have to go up a little more for the actual hike.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike. We got to the trailhead at 10 on a sunny Sunday morning (75 degrees!). I definitely expected it to be more crowded, but it wasn’t until the 2.5 mile mark that we saw another hiker. I think this trail is on the easier side for moderate—was testing out a new backpack and carrying extra weight (for training) and we still cruised along. Saw one snake (Northwestern garter snake) and one chipmunk, but that’s it for wildlife. Enjoy the hike!

1 month ago

Gorgeous day to enjoy the fresh mountain air. Beautiful drive and views along the trail.

Road is open (to Diablo lake at least)! Walked the trail today in the sunshine and it was magnificent. Hiked from the shared trailhead with the North Cascades Institute and turned around at the overlook to Ross Dam. There were about 3 small creeks that you had to hop some rocks over but they were very easy.

3 months ago

Love the lake, the view it’s amazing

6 months ago

not the best hike but a decent little afternoon out and back and a great starter hike for those folks who enjoy nature walks and want to jump to the next step of an actual "hike." I say this because there is minimal elevation gain but has enough subtle gains, rocks and root systems to warrant it a hike (though, we were passed by a trail runner. how they can run these things and not break an ankle I'll never know). it's a fun way to get in a little exercise while playing tourist as you check out diablo dam and ross dam as well. the switchbacks close to the final descent to ross dam may be challenging for beginners but you can bypass them and head straight to the lookout point and settle in for a lunch there if you wish. the best part for us was being able to see the lake(s) from the other side instead of the highway AND seeing the inlets and islands we kayaked to the day before. be aware: if you do not like heights, you may not enjoy the break in the treeline close to the halfway point ; it's steep, narrow and really cool! I am a major klutz so I walked purposefully and used my poles. overall a very level and fun hike. I would say be mindful of the steep mountainside if you've got little ones or people afraid of heights but it's a nice little ditty for sure.

9 months ago

beautiful Lake!

9 months ago

This is an out and back trail that takes you through interesting landscapes, including rainforest-like vegetation, rocky fields, and dry open areas. About halfway down, the trail leads along the top of a gorge, from which you can look down at the blue-green waters of Lake Diablo. At the end of the trail the Ross Dam is visible. The views aren't stellar, but the water is very pretty when you can see it and the mix of vegetation made it an enjoyable hike for me. If you're looking for big views, seek elsewhere.

9 months ago

Good hike but the end of the trail wasn't very exciting. Leads you to a bridge by the Dam.

11 months ago

view at top isn't really anything special. if you take the ferry back you can actually see many more beautiful views

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Loved this hike! I agree that you don't need to finish the hike to get the views. Be sure to also hang out at the lake @ the bottom of the parking lot!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

the views are amazing and once you get to Ross dam you can cross a bridge and go through a tunnel

Monday, May 22, 2017

Don't need to finish the trail, but the views are unbelievable

Monday, May 22, 2017

Friday, December 30, 2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Very pretty hike!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

So dissapointed in this hike. the views from the parking lot or even driving around the lake are better. I would never recommend this to anyone, hike up to the top, have a little view point, then you hike back down the other side to the lake for not much, only to see a dam. If you are going to do that, i recommend timing it with the ferry since we would have had to wait 3 hours for the ferry so we made the awful hike back up.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Best day trail we've done since I've come up to the area. make sure you reach the bottom at the end and take a couple (very. . .very short) swims. From what I've heard the water is glacier fed. From what I felt, I believe it! We got lazy after swimming and took the ferry back... be sure to bring cash (10 per person) if you want to take the boat back!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nice, easier hike with not too much elevation change. We did it as a second hike of the day and had no problems, minus getting lost at the Ross Dam end thinking there would be a lookout. A few good views of the lake and surrounding mountains, but by far not the best hike in the area.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It definitely had some great views, at times. However skip this of you want to separate yourself from all things manmade. It is a good hike for beginners and those with so so knees. Very mild elevation gain.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

lost...did not finish

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Beautiful, warm, spring day. Lovely views of the surrounding mountains and lots of water in the creek beds. Not many flowers yet. One person in our group went swimming, twice. We hiked from the parking lot up to the suspension bridge and back.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Nice trail hike for some good exercise. Not many amazing views however as trees obstruct a lot of the nice views. Overall it was an enjoyable hike but there are many other hikes in the area the provide better scenary.

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