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Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

Up and down go the boats!

Just north of downtown Seattle is the Ballard Locks, officially named the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, a series of locks that join the freshwater Lake Union and Lake Washington to the saltwater Puget Sound. The locks maintain the water levels on both sides and raise and lower boats that are passing through it. On a sunny day, the locks attract lots of visitors who watch a parade of boats going in and out of the locks. You can catch boats of all shapes and sizes, including sailboats, motorboats, tugs, barges and super-yachts.

The locks also incorporate a fish ladder to allow fish, mostly salmon, to navigate past the locks towards their freshwater spawning grounds. If you are there during July-September, you are likely to see sockeye, king and coho salmon making their spawning runs, and you can view the fish through the underground viewing windows.Chinook Salmon at Ballard Locks Fish Ladder

The locks are also home to the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden, a beautiful park setting that you can enjoy after checking out the boats.