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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.
  • Excellent59%
  • Very good34%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“salmon ladder” (284 reviews)
“watch the boats” (155 reviews)
“salt water” (111 reviews)
Closes in 25 min
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 (2,458)
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1 - 10 of 2,458 reviews

Reviewed today

While walking one night around 7 pm, I got to watch a ship go through the lock system. It is a neat process to see happen. The locks have a great view of some scenery as well. Make sure to take a look around the...More

Thank MiriLemon
Reviewed yesterday

I went on my own, wandering around and it was enjoyable, but when i went with someone that kenw what they were tlaking abou, VERY INTERESTING and worth your time. The Gardens are lovely and well kept. I really enjoyed this trip.

Thank Janice H
Reviewed 2 days ago

It was interesting to be able observe the salmon attempting to swim upstream - I think our timing was good. Pretty place to walk around and see boats in the harbor as well.

Thank fcarolee
Reviewed 2 days ago

This is a comfortable place to come and relax whether walking amongst the trees, watching the boats passing through the locks on their way to Puget Sound or watching salmon as they swim from the sound through the locks on their way to the lakes...More

Thank Larry S
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

Free attraction with a short drive from downtown Seattle. Extremely nice place to view ships navigating through the locks, Under-stream view of Salmon swimming up the ladders and a nice surprise of Sea Lions patrolling the banks. Very pleasant botanical area as well while walking...More

Thank Jason H
Reviewed 3 days ago

If you and your kids are into this kind of thing the locks are a fun stop. Inside the visitors center they have windows that are underwater so if the salmon are running you can see them!!! Worth a stop if you are touring Seattle!

Thank NjRobin
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Fun to visit and fun to take a boat through the locks. Sometimes it can take an hour to wait your turn--going through the small locks is much easier than the large locks--but always interesting. People are lined up on either side watching and you...More

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 1 week ago

Definitely recommend this. Cool from an engineering perspective but even the kids and wife will like the pretty grounds and the fish ladder.

Thank David H
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We went with 4 teens, they liked watching the locks do their things. They also liked seeing the Harbor Seal catch fish! It could only take 1/2 hr if you want to do it quick👍🏼

Thank Kathy S
Reviewed 1 week ago

Got lucky as there were many yatches/boats that were crossing the locks. The salmon season was yet to start as it was the last couple of days in April, we saw a couple of Salmon fishes that crossed the locks. However, there were many small...More

Thank Avinash671
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
ger w
HI I hope to visit from the UK next September and would like to know when the salmon runs take place.Any information would be great. Ger
11 May 2017|
Answer Show 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
Jeff C: Sorry you didn't enjoy your visit. Seeing Salmon can be iffy, even during peak season, they may have been waiting for high tide to move into the viewing room. Maybe you expected a circus act that performs on schedule?
11 September 2016|
Answer Show 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
I am planning a visit to the locks on a Friday. Is there a better/best time of day to see the happenings with boats and fish?
29 August 2016|
Answer Show 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