The Cabinet Gorge Dam is one of those – hey, what’s that sign point to – stops. Not on our map, but we love quick detours to see interesting or quirky things.
As we were headed from our spot at the Sam Owen Campground on the east shores of Lake Pend Oreille to the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area to do some hiking, we saw a sign with an arrow pointing to the Cabinet Gorge Dam Overlook, and hung a hard right.
The dam blocks the Clark Fork River, or more accurately the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, and provides 230 megawatts of hydroelectric power – enough to power several hundred thousand households.
It’s quite an audiovisual assault on the senses to stand at the overlook, feeling and hearing the water thunder through the spillgates.
The force of the flow also creates a permanent rainbow with the sun at the right angle.
Not a destination in itself unless you’re some kind of a dam aficionado, but worth a quick detour if you’re heading down Highway 200 on the east side of Lake Pend Oreille.

Cabinet Gorge Dam

Cabinet Gorge Dam
Those four turbines on the left produce 230 megawatts of power continuously.

Permanent Rainbow

Permanent Rainbow at the Cabinet Gorge Dam
The spray from the dam spillways creates a permanent rainbow.

Serious Force

Serious Force
It’s an awesome sound and feeling as the water blasts through the dam spillways

Fish Transit System

Fish Transit System at the Cabinet Gorge Dam
It’s neat that they’ve addressed the ecological impacts of the dam and have creative solutions to try to counter some of the damage.

2 thoughts on “Cabinet Gorge Dam Idaho

  1. In my limited travels through the years I found Pend Oreille(sp) one of the best looking lakes and areas that I had traveled in. Liked to so well I looked around and bought property at Hayden lake. This was many years ago when I was still young and realized when I drove back one winter probably in the 70s that they required chains for me to drive to my property on the golf course. My winters had been in socal with an average temp of about 70 told me I was unprepared for Idaho. Wish I had held on to it now.
    Ruth and I enjoy your travels from our chairs. Keep it up

    1. So great to hear from you Don!
      We talk about you and Ruth many times when we think about our early days back in Santee, and wonder how you’re doing although we’re terrible about emailing and just asking you directly…
      We’re glad to hear your input, as we’ve been talking about north/south properties when we’re too old to keep RVing, and Lake Pend OReille is high on our list for the summer spot, maybe in the Sandpoint area. Hayden Lake is crazy built up now, and lakefront property is absolutely obscene there. We like Sandpoint because of the water and the proximity to the Schweitzer ski area – have a property management company rent the condo out all winter long to the ski bunnies, and use it in the summer when the weather is more suitable for old brittle bones.
      Do you still have your place in Prescott, or are you full-time in the San Diego area now?

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