The Big Dig: Hiram M. Chittenden Locks is a 1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Seattle, WA that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and nature trips and is accessible year-round.
Formally opened on July 4, 1917, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks or the Ballard [neighborhood] Locks are a great place to visit in Seattle. Connecting Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to Puget Sound, the canal and locks allow recreational and commercial vessels to travel to the docks and warehouses of Seattle's fresh water harbor. Don’t miss the constant parade of pleasure boats that pass thru either a large lock or a small lock (takes 10-30 mins) and see underwater viewing windows on south side of the locks to watch salmon migration (walk over the dam that holds back Lake Union). Huge sequoias are featured on the north (entry) side of the locks. Fish ladder is at 3015 NW 54th, you can watch fish from underwater glass tanks or above (nets keep the fish from jumping out onto the pavement). VC and the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens are on the north side of the locks and free tours are given at 1 & 3 PM daily. Boats are raised 21 feet from saltwater Puget Sound to freshwater Salmon Bay. Walkways along the locks allow a close look at the workings of these water elevators and the fancy boats (like a mini Panama Canal)…
West of Ballard business district, take Market St. West which turns into 54th then watch for signs to the locks, gardens open 7-9 and VC open 10-7, FREE, 3015 NW 54 St. To get to Ballard, from I-5, take the 45th ST and turn west away from the university. Follow NW 45th St.; it will become Shilshole Ave along the docks before it runs into NW Market St. We visited on a rainy day – yep it’s Seattle so it’s really just an on and off drizzle. We watched a couple of boats pass the locks and enjoyed the gardens. Enjoy.
Locks and fish ladder get lots of attention, especially in summer, for good reason -- they're interesting. The Locks border on gardens which are wonderful for a shady stroll.
Beautiful parklike grounds and walking trails. The locks are interesting, connecting Puget Sound to freshwater lakes in Seattle, and you can watch the boats as they navigate through the locks. Don't miss the fish ladder, or the sea lions hanging around for a few salmon.