Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and commonly called the Ballard Locks, are the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks prevent the mixing of salt and fresh water while letting boats pass from Puget Sound's salt water to the fresh water of the Ship Canal that connects to Lake Washington and Lake Union. Visitors can watch boats of all sizes pass through, as operators adjust the water levels in the locks.

Parking and public transportation at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
A small parking lot has metered parking that is $2.00 an hour for a maximum of three hours. Parking payment is required Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. King County Metro buses also serve the surrounding area.

When to go to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Summer is a popular time to visit the locks, especially since the grounds around the locks include the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden.

Admission to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Admission is free. The grounds around the locks are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The visitor center, which has displays on the history and operations of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily May through September. From October though April, the visitor center closes at 4 p.m. and is also closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Must see/do at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Also at the locks is a fish ladder, where fish (mostly salmon) can pass between fresh and salt water. You can watch the fish as they swim through the ladder from a viewing room below the water line.

Other places to visit near the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Also in Ballard is the Nordic History Museum, or you can head a little north to Golden Gardens Park, which has a beach on Puget Sound.

Insider tip for visitors to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
The best time to see the most salmon on the fish ladder is in September, although the fish do migrate up the ladder from mid-June through October.

Author's bio: Carol Wiley is a Seattle freelance writer who offers services ranging from articles and blog posts to customer case studies and white papers.