You will pass by three hydroelectric dams as you drive along Washington Route 20, through North Cascades National Park (although technically, you’re in Ross Lake National Recreation Area, not the actual National Park, which is north and south of the river). Coming from the west, the first dam is Gorge Dam, and behind it, Gorge Lake.
Gorge Dam was the first of the three dams to be built. Construction began in 1921, and the first power from the dam was delivered to Seattle in 1924.
You can get a somewhat obstructed view of Gorge Dam, via the Gorge Overlook Trail, a loop that’s slightly less than a mile, and paved for about half the way (gravel for the rest of it). There’s an easy-to-spot parking area at the side of Washington 20, so you can’t miss it.
Looking across the gorge, you’ll also spot a waterfall. It would be more impressive if you could get closer to it, but you’ll have to settle with the view from the heavily-trafficked trail.
Most people don’t choose to make the entire loop, but if you do…
… you’ll enjoy a nice walk through the woods. The trail loops around a small hill…
… before dropping you off at the parking area.