When we made the decision to move to the Seattle area, and started doing our research, it seemed likely that if we were going to be moored in the city of Seattle, we would end up in Lake Union. And therefore we would need to learn how to navigate the Ballard Locks (officially called the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks). It was a terrifying prospect, and we’d heard horror stories around the Internet.
In the end, we found ourselves outside of Seattle and therefore nowhere near the locks, but we were still curious to see what they were all about. Considering they attract over 1.3 million visitors per year (according to ballardlocks.org) and, with over 400,000 boats passing through per year, are currently the nation’s busiest locks, we had to see what the hype was all about.
In talking to one of the locks operators, we learned that they actually have boats going through 24 hours a day and a boat can sometimes wait hours in line depending on the number and size of the boats ahead of it.
We also walked down to the fish ladder, where the salmon were running. It was pretty cool to see them all swimming against the current, but don’t take my word for it. Check out the video below for more on our visit to the Ballard Locks!
It was a fun day, and we enjoyed our experience. In fact, whenever we are in Ballard and we have a little extra time, we like to walk down and watch the boats.
Have you ever been to the Ballard Locks? What did you think?