The Ross Lake National Recreation Area is simply stunning. We visited the main drag (Highway 20) during our day trip to North Cascades National Park and fell in love with the turquoise waters of Diablo Lake. Seriously, check it out:

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That amazing turquoise color is not altered digitally (#nofilter) and provides an amazing contrast to the forest-covered mountains around it. This phenomenon is caused by glacial flour that is suspended in water. For those with inquiring minds, you can read up on glacial, or rock flour here. Because you stayed with me through the nerdy stuff, I’m going to share this fantastic pano from the Diablo Lake Overlook.

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The rest of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area was beautiful in its own right and I wish we had more time in our schedule to explore the hiking trails and scenic vistas. I highly recommend the day trip from Seattle if you have the time. It’s an easy drive and there are plenty of overlooks and short trails that accommodate a compressed schedule. However, I would advise you to pack a lunch as there are no restaurants along the Highway 20 drive in the recreation area that were open when we visited. We ended up getting quick-mart hot dogs in Newhalem, which were good, but not filling.