If you’re like me, you have a deep appreciation for dams. Dams are very cool on a number of levels. I appreciate them for the good that they do regarding flood control, energy production, irrigation benefits, and scenic beauty. I also appreciate them because many of them are very impressive achievements in engineering and construction. Their benefits have to be weighed against the negatives they have too, but overall I find them very impressive.
Grand Coulee Dam is probably the most famous dam you will see in the Pacific Northwest. It and most of the other dams on the Columbia River are very well known. There are some impressive and interesting dams off the beaten path though that can make for nice attractions to check out or even just scenic places to visit on your way through an area. Here are five very cool off the beaten path Pacific Northwest dams we’d like to point out to you.
Diablo Dam was completed in 1930 and stands at 389 feet tall. It has a very cool historic look to it, complete with an age old architectural style. Diablo Dam also has the added benefit of being surrounded by some of the best scenery in the region. Between the dam and all of the scenic beauty and recreational possibilities, Diablo Dam is a first class destination.
Hells Canyon Dam
Hells Canyon Dam is a bit newer when compared to a lot of northwest dams, having been completed in 1967. Hells Canyon is an interesting place with its huge cliff walls and incredible surrounding scenery. The sight of this large man made concrete structure at the bottom of a dramatic ravine surrounded by miles and miles of stark desolation is quite something. You will not regret your visit to Hells Canyon Dam.
Fort Peck Dam
When you visit Fort Peck Dam you will probably be shocked. This is a dam that does not look like any other dam you’ve seen. It is an earthen dam so there are no tall concrete walls but that’s not what is so different about it. What you will be amazed by is the fact that the dam is over 21,000 feet long and over 250 feet tall. The grandness of the dam doesn’t stop there as the water backed up behind it forms Fort Peck Lake, the fifth largest man made lake in the United States. Fort Peck Lake is over 130 miles long and has over 1,500 miles of shoreline. The immenseness of Fort Peck Dam and its surroundings is hard to completely take in.
Ice Harbor Dam
Ice Harbor Dam sits on the Snake River and is located northeast from the Tri-Cities in Washington. Ice Harbor is a major dam to the area, performs some important functions, and is fun to visit. There is a great visitors center, a fish viewing window, picnic facilities, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. You can visit Ice Harbor Dam extremely easily and it is well worth the time it takes to get there.
Cabinet Gorge Dam
Cabinet Gorge Dam is 600 feet long and 111 feet tall. It sits on the Clark Fork River in the northern part of the Idaho Panhandle. It’s actually just inside Idaho and the water backed up behind it extends across the border and into Montana. One of the nicest parts about visiting Cabinet Gorge Dam is that you really get the feeling that you are out in the middle of nowhere. That just may be because you are.