Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest park, at 435 acres, and the Hiram Chittenden Locks (also known as the Ballard Locks), connecting Lakes Washington and Lake Union with Puget Sound, comprise the busiest locks system in the U.S. Together, these make for an unforgettable adventure any season of the year without traveling beyond the city.
The sequence of the visits will depend upon seasonal factors. We’ll time your visit to the locks to take advantage of optional free tours provided by the Army Corps of Engineers, the running of salmon through the fish ladders, and your hike at Discovery Park to take advantage of low tides.
In between, we’ll pay a visit to Fisherman’s Terminal, homeport to the North Pacific fishing fleet.
At the Ballard Locks, we’ll watch boat traffic navigate from the freshwater of Lake Washington Ship Canal to the saltwater of Puget Sound. You never know what types of boats may pass through—from luxury yachts to cruise ships, sailboats to tugboats.
From late May through September you’ll see a variety of salmon species navigating the fish ladders from an underwater viewing platform as they adjust from saltwater to freshwater on their way to their native spawning grounds. Join an hour-long tour of the locks by a locks master and/or tour the Carl S. English Botanical Gardens on the grounds of the locks.
At Discovery Park, we’ll take a leisurely 3-mile mostly flat loop hike through meadows and forests with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound and add an optional one-mile round-trip hike 300 feet down to the shoreline and the West Point Lighthouse.
Hiker Level: 1 2 3 4
Round-trip travel time: 1 hour
Hiking Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 5 hours
Best season: Year round
(Prices exclude Washington state sales tax)