The Ballard Locks crossing will reopen April 28

Aerial photo of the Locks.

Aerial view of Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Photo Courtesy of Civil Air Patrol)

After more than a year closed due to the pandemic, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks will reopen its walking path connecting Ballard to Magnolia April 28. Gates will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Because crossing the Ballard Bridge is such an awful experience on foot or bike, the walkways across the Locks have long been a popular and useful option for people trying to get to the other side of the Ship Canal without going all the way to Fremont.

The Locks are far from a perfect option, since people are required to walk their bikes from the park entrance to the park exit and the pathways can be filled with tourists during warm weather. But it feels much safer than the Ballard Bridge, and you get to check for salmon in the fish ladder (though that area is currently closed for maintenance).

The park near the Locks will open April 23, but the walkways will remain closed until April 28.

More details from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials will begin its next phases of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks reopening plan which include setting dates for the first floor of the visitors center to open on April 23 and access to the pedestrian bridges beginning April 28. The public restrooms will remain closed until May 3.

The fish ladder viewing area will remain closed until further notice due to an upcoming maintenance project. The historical administration building will remain closed to the public as well.

The decision to reopen these parts of the property was made based on COVID-19 community data and safety considerations. Officials wish to make clear that if the COVID-19 situation in the community gets worse, the restrictions could go back into place for the safety of Locks employees and to ensure no disruptions to lock operations.

“We are happy to welcome our commuters back to the locks,” said project manager Jon Hofstra. “We understand that it has been inconvenient for our neighbors to find alternative routes and we thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.”

Locks staff ask that commuters travel straight through and practice social distancing while crossing. Please do not stop and congregate to ensure continued safety for all visitors and staff.

The gate hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. beginning April 28.

As a reminder masks are required on all Federal property in or outdoors.

For more information about activities at the Locks, visit the Locks’ Web site at Also follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter,

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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5 Responses to The Ballard Locks crossing will reopen April 28

  1. Sean P. says:

    This is very good news. I was genuinely starting to worry that they were going to use this as an excuse to close the path permanently.

  2. Scott D. says:

    Thank God. There was absolutely no reason for it to be closed so long. Pretty crazy that indoor activities opened up before the Ballard locks crossing.

  3. asdf2 says:

    It’s been known for months that virus spread happens primarily indoors, not outdoors, and that the virus risk crossing the locks is negligible, especially with masks.

    It is also quite possible that the closure could have actually increased virus spread by pushing people who do not have cars, but still need to get to the other side, onto buses and Uber cars.

    The Ballard bridge, besides being outright dangerous from a debris-falling-off-trucks perspective, offers no better social distancing than the locks itself. It is completely inconsistent to say that one is ok, but the other isn’t.

    Better late than never for the locks to reopen again.

  4. margaret says:

    I am a regular bike commuter through the Locks to my job but have always been disturbed by the number of cyclists who do not observe the requirements that they dismount and walk across. This is not a bike path. It is a pedestrian park. This access for cyclists is a privilege not a right. This park is also a federal institution and not local. They can shut it down whenever they want to and I believe they used this as an excuse to give it a rest. I hope that cyclists be more respectful in the future and not ruin it for the rest of us who do follow the rules and enjoy the scenery along the way.

  5. Jennifer says:

    It is a mystery to me why this was closed for so long. The epidemic of using Covid as an excuse to close things that have absolutely nothing to do with Covid risk is highly annoying.

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