Now This Is A Big Lock

Today we visited the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks. The Locks are the most popular destination along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. They are made up of 2 navigational locks, a dam and spillway, a fish ladder, a botanical garden, and a regional visitor center. The locks allow vessels to pass from fresh water Lake Washington, into the salt water of Puget Sound.

Here you can see a private yacht in the lock. Depending on the tides, the height gap between the Lake and Sound can be as much as 26 feet. The pumps can raise and lower the water level at an amazing clip. I thought it would take 30 minutes, but it only takes 3 minutes, and that yacht was on its way. There is no charge to use the locks.

Here you can see how much higher the water level is at Lake Washington Vs. the water level at Puget Sound. You can also see that the lock isn’t water tight, but it still works.