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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107-4213
+1 206-780-2500
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The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (locally known as the Ballard Locks) is a waterway system that connects the saltwater of the Puget Sound to the fresh water of the Ship Canal, which sits about 20 feet above sea level.  Boats enter the locks, the gates close and the water rises or falls to the level of the destination waterway.  Watching boats pass through the locks, exploring the 7 acres of botanical gardens and looking for fish on the fish ladder is fun and free entertainment that draws locals and tourists alike.
  • Excellent60%
  • Very good33%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“salmon ladder” (298 reviews)
“watch the boats” (160 reviews)
“salt water” (117 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 07:00 - 21:00
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107-4213
+1 206-780-2500
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Reviews (2,606)
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1 - 10 of 2,546 reviews

Reviewed yesterday

Fun activity for all! Watch the wonder of the locks in action and the many beautiful boats. Nice gardens to walk around in and even music in the park at times.

Thank RICoups
Reviewed yesterday

See the locks in action, and cross over the bridge to the Salmon ladder, August great time to visit as the fish are swimming up stream and there is a glass viewing area - we saw hundreds of Salmon.

Thank Jo H
Reviewed yesterday

In our small plane ride we flew over this area and the 20 foot change in water level was easy to spot. This was a gem that we didn't make it to but next time it is our top 5 to see in the area...More

Thank Russell C
Reviewed 2 days ago

I've been down to the locks several times and there always seems to be a concert going on, just a little added entertainment. the fish ladder is amazing, great place for kids

Thank nannyca
Reviewed 2 days ago

We enjoyed a few hours at the locks, watching the boats come in and move through the locks. The salmon run was also fun to watch.

Thank Jean1619
Reviewed 2 days ago

Great experience to see how the locks work. We visited in the afternoon on 8/13 and unfortunately there were only a few salmon in the ladder. It would have been so cool to seen them in action...maybe next time.

Thank TripItch
Reviewed 2 days ago

Stop by the visitors center to view the film that gives a overiview and history of the locks. Then tour the beautiful gardens and then watch the boats put the locks to use. Follow the path to go and view and underwater view of the...More

Thank KimRofNJ
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

We timed our visit perfectly - a free guide tour by a park official began 10 mins after we arrived. She provided insights to the wonderful gardens, as well as taking us to and explaining the operation of the locks. The last part was the...More

Thank K3870RKalexk
Reviewed 3 days ago

There are not a lot of bodies of water in the USA that have lockssystems, for this reason alone it is worth checking out, but at this particular lock system there is a Salmon ladder which is unique to this system. It can be viewed...More

Thank dlazarus2017
Reviewed 3 days ago

Took the kids here to watch the ships enter and depart as well as to see the salmon ladder. We actually saw one make the jump to a higher level. Gardens in the area very picturesque. Enjoyable couple of hours.

Thank HENssl
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Questions & Answers
ger w
11 May 2017|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from Brodethedog | Property representative |
Check out the website and social media links at bottom of site for detailed information. There is a Questions tab which will answer most everything. The salmon season is short, from June through Sept. There is a YouTube... More
11 September 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from SeaTraveller2015 | Reviewed this property |
What's the question? Jeff C."s response to Pamela M was rather snotty. Whatever the question or comments made by Pamela M., Jeff C. owed her more respect than his comment suggested. Jeff...you don't know everything about... More
Karen W
29 August 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Brodethedog | Property representative |
Mid day to late for pleasure boat traffic. Salmon at high tide, you'll have to check tide tables. Commercial boats, pretty much pot luck... Recommend tours