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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle

Categories: Piers & Boardwalks, Bodies of Water, Nature & Parks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.6/5 based on 2,200+ reviews on the web
Watch boats and fish travel the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, a waterway system that provides safe passage between salt water and fresh water. The locks connect the Puget Sound to the Ship Canal, which links to Lake Union and Lake Washington. See barges, yachts, sailboats, and more pass through as water levels adjust to allow their journey. Don’t miss the fish ladder, which allows the migration of anadromous fish, such as salmon, between the two types of water. Glass panels give you a clear view of the fish making their journey. Pop into the visitor center to learn more about the history of the locks and how they work. Make Hiram M. Chittenden Locks a part of your Seattle vacation plans using our Seattle tour planner.
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  • Like many reviewers have said, the locks are active and scenic - between the salmon viewing room and the boats transitioning to/from the Lakes and Puget Sound. We came here on an early Sunday morning,...  read more »
  • An interesting place to visit, offering salmon views and history of the locks. Entrance through the park with nice views. 
  • Gorgeous views of the Locks and we saw the salmon running. There is an adjacent garden that is nice to walk around in as well. 
  • Love coming to the locks when we are in Seattle. Beautiful gardens. Very interesting watching boats/ships move through the locks. The salmon ladder is amazing when the salmon are running. Nice peaceful place to come and spend a few hours. Wish there were things like this back home.
  • Bring lunch! We picked up some baguette sandwiches down at Pike Place and brought them up here to eat. It was awesome - we staked out a sunny spot on the hill across from the locks and ate lunch while watching boats go through, then meandered down across and read about the fish ladder and watched a boat go through up close. Enjoyable but a very limited number of activities, very laid back. There was a lovely park on that side so we wandered a bit and then got a milkshake and some lemonade nearby before we left. Fun way to spend a morning!
  • Best time to go is during salmon season starting in September. Salmon swim up through the locks and take some pretty impressive leaps to do so. Boat locks are an entertaining little feat as boats rise and fall to meet the water height of their intended travels. Definitely a neat place to go on a sunny day
  • Everytime we go here we see and learn something new. An interesting boat going through the locks, salmon swimming up the fish ladder, or a sea lion hunting salmon. This spot has it all. Be sure to visit the botanical gardens. They have the biggest gum tree I've seen outside Australia!
  • Fish ladder for the win, every time. Most times of the year you can see fish. We saw a good amount of sockeye swimming before the ladder and then going through the ladder heading for the freshwater. I think this is always a must see for visiting Seattle. Its also fun to watch the vessels, ships, and all kinds of boats use the locks. This is also a great stop for birding. We saw great heron here often as they nest here and today also included a kingfisher.
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