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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” (296 reviews)
“watch the boats” (159 reviews)
“salt water” (116 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 (2,600)
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1 - 10 of 2,540 reviews

Reviewed today

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 yesterday 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 yesterday

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 yesterday

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
Reviewed 2 days ago

I really like watching the locks work. I'm originaly from Oklahoma. I didn't have stuff like the locks there. Its just amazing to me how people figured this out. Yhe fish ladder and counting window are a real treat.

Thank edwardp513
Reviewed 3 days ago

This is a very enjoyable place on many levels, and I think anyone who appreciates the outdoors, plants or wildlife would find it worthwhile. The arboretum is a beautiful, serene setting with shady, mature trees and colorful flowers and shrubs. The locks are fascinating to...More

Thank rebzilla
Reviewed 3 days ago

This is an interesting and relaxing place. You only need an hour to see the locks in action and listen to the guide's explain the journey of salmon in the salmon ladder viewing center. However, take a picnic or buy fish'n'chips on the way in...More

Thank funtobhad
Reviewed 3 days ago

We visited the gardens and the locks and subsequently the salmon ladder mid August. We almost didn't bothered but we were very glad we did. The locks were very accessible and easy to get around with a few smaller and medium sized fish that you...More

Thank teabeellie
Reviewed 4 days ago

Splendid place for a little stroll. If you want educational, there is plenty - there are guided tours of the grounds and fish ladders and locks. A lovely way to spend an hour or two.

Thank Chris D
Reviewed 4 days ago

The Locks and the gardens are wonderful tourist places. Much is going on there. There is a special live salmon going upstream underground viewing area, the locks are totally accessible, you can stand next to the locks and watch the ships come in, rise or...More

Thank mark b
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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