5 star rating: Highly Recommended 232 Reviews

Add your review

  • Address: 3015 NW 54th Street, Seattle, USA

Seattle ATTRACTIONS See all

Chittenden Locks & Fish Ladder Tours

Learn about the annual phenomenon of salmon spawning at Seattle’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, known locally as the Ballard Locks, where three types of Pacific salmon pass through the fish ladder during the summer months on the way upriver to their spawning grounds.
 
The Basics
The Ballard Locks are one of the most-visited attractions in Seattle, and there are several opportunities to visit on a city tour or even a boat cruise. If you go on your own, free walking tours are available on-site and last about an hour. 

During spawning season, sockeye, chinook, and coho salmon climb the Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladder. You can watch this impressive feat either from underwater tanks or from above, where nets keep the fish from jumping too high and stranding themselves on the pavement.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Even during peak spawning season, there is no guarantee you’ll see salmon in the fish ladder due to low tides or low salmon numbers.
  • Water can be purchased at the visitor center; food is not usually available but picnics are allowed if you’ve purchased food from one of the nearby eateries.
  • Free parking can be found in the neighborhoods on the north and south sides of the locks, and metered parking is available at the north main entrance gate.
 
How to Get There
The locks are located about 15 minutes north of downtown Seattle, across the Ballard Bridge in the neighborhood of Ballard. Via public transport, take bus 29 or 44.
 
When to Get There
The best time to visit is during the salmon spawning season, from mid-June to September. The grounds are open every day; the visitor center is open daily from May to September and Thursday through Monday from October to April. For maintenance, the small locks are closed for two weeks in March, the large locks are closed for two weeks in November, and the fish ladder is closed for about two weeks in May.
 
Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden
Located outside the locks’ northern entrance, the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden hosts free concerts on summer weekends and features walking trails that wind through trees and flower gardens. A small museum and visitor center document the history of the locks.

Tours & Tickets

See all

Seattle Locks Cruise, Seattle, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Seattle Locks Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 221 Reviews

Take in the spectacular views and experience the transition from salt to fresh water on a Locks Cruise! This fully narrated tour provides you with knowledge, ...  Read more

Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $46.79
Pre-Cruise Seattle Sightseeing Tour, Seattle, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Pre-Cruise Seattle Sightseeing Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Begin your cruise adventure from Seattle with this award-winning tour package!  We'll whisk you (and your luggage) on a 2 hour City Highlights Tour ...  Read more

Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $75.00
Seattle in One Day: Sightseeing Tour including Space Needle and Pike Place Market, Seattle, Ports ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Seattle in One Day: Sightseeing Tour including Space Needle and Pike Place Market

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 619 Reviews

Not sure what to see in Seattle? Take the stress out of sightseeing on this 6-hour tour, which covers 50 miles (80 kilometers) of downtown Seattle and the ...  Read more

Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $148.00
Seattle Combo Tour: City Tour, Pike Place Market and Boeing Factory, Seattle, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Seattle Combo Tour: City Tour, Pike Place Market and Boeing Factory

4.5 star rating: Recommended 178 Reviews

See Seattle’s essential sights in one fun, busy day on this 9-hour adventure that includes a city tour, time at Pike Place Market and a trip to the Boeing ...  Read more

Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $169.00
Private Tour: Seattle Highlights, Seattle, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Seattle Highlights

4.5 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

Get up close and personal to the Emerald City on this private sightseeing tour of Seattle’s highlights. On this personalized tour, decide between must-see ...  Read more

Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $70.00
Seattle Shore Excursion: Private City Tour, Seattle, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Seattle Shore Excursion: Private City Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

Make the most of your time in port in Seattle with this private tour of the city's must-see highlights including the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer ...  Read more

Location: Seattle, Washington
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $70.00

See all

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message