Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Walk to the locks and watch boats traveling through the locks and the Lake Washington Ship Canal, enjoy time in the botanical gardens, or paddle through the locks and into Shilshole Bay and as far as Edmonds Beach.

about the Locks

Construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka Ballard Locks) was completed in 1917 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Connecting the waters of Lake Washington, Portage Bay, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to the tidal waters of Puget Sound, the canal and locks allow recreational and commercial vessels to travel to the docks and warehouses of Seattle's busy fresh water harbor.

The botanical garden north of the locks is a tribute to Carl S. English, Jr. During the 43 years working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Carl transformed the barren lawn, left after the construction of the locks, into a garden worthy of serious study.

Learn more

on the trail

Walk to the locks and watch boats traveling through the locks, enjoy time in the botanical gardens, or walk in Commodore Park and enjoys views of the locks and Lake Washington Ship Canal.

on the water

launch points

Shilshole Bay

Launch east of the locks and paddle through the locks and Salmon Bay, and into Shilshole Bay. Paddle north to Golden Gardens and Meadow Point or south around Discovery Park to West Point. Or launch west of the locks from Commodore Park and paddle through Salmon Bay and into Shilshole Bay.

Ballard Locks to Edmonds Beach

8 NM, Difficulty:  Sea Kayak II

Launch east of the locks and paddle through the locks or launch west of the locks from Commodore Park. Then paddle north to Edmonds Marina Beach Park.

Information For Leaders

Trip Scheduling

Please only schedule one land activity per day and one water activity per day to minimize our impact. Contact our Member Services Team if you have any questions.


  • Suitable Activities: Exploring Nature, Sea Kayaking, Urban Adventure
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.5 mi
  • Land Manager: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • MapTech Seattle and Lake Washington No. 101
Activities

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Ballard Locks
  • Commodore Park
  • Carl S. English Botanical, Jr. Garden
  • Lake Washington Ship Canal
  • Shilshole Bay
  • Ballard Locks to Golden Gardens
  • Ballard Locks to West Point
  • Ballard Locks to Edmonds Beach
Resources

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.