Bonneville Dam & Fish Ladder Tours

The Bonneville Lock and Dam spans the Columbia River, providing electricity and flood control, as well as creating recreational areas. The dam was started in 1934, replacing locks and a canal built in 1896, as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal construction projects. It was completed three years later, with a second powerhouse added in 1974. The dam produces an enormous amount of hydroelectric power – more than 1,180 megawatts between the two powerhouses.

The Bonneville Reservoir was created behind the dam, and is a popular spot for summer activities like boating and swimming. Fish ladders installed at the dam are intended to help salmon, steelhead, and other native fish navigate past the dam in order to spawn upstream – and that journey is also a tourist attraction during spawning season. The best opportunity to see migrating salmon is late April through early November, with the first two weeks of September offering the peak opportunity.

Public tours will be offered intermittently, as staffing allows, at Bradford Island Visitor Center and at Washington Shore Visitor Complex. For the most up to date information on tour offerings and times, please visit our website or call our Visitor Centers at (541) 374-8820.


Phone: (541) 374-8820

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