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Building Strong® at Bonneville Lock and Dam

Bonneville Lock and Dam Bonneville Lock and Dam is located 145 river miles from the mouth of the Columbia River and about 40 miles east of Portland, Ore., near Cascade Locks, Ore., and North Bonneville, Wash.

 

The project’s first powerhouse, spillway and original navigation lock were completed in 1938 to improve navigation on Columbia River and provide hydropower to the Pacific Northwest. A second powerhouse was completed in 1981, and a larger navigation lock in 1993.

 

A Public Works Administration project of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, portions of Bonneville Lock and Dam Project were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Link to larger version of map

 

Click the small map icon (picture's lower right corner) for a larger PDF version.

link to District map showing Bonneville's relative location

For more information

Bonneville Lock and Dam pamphlet 

At the Visitors Center: 541-374-8820

Email us about the Bonneville Project

Nine points of interest: 541-374-4538

Tour requests: 541-374-8820

Click to view our Virtual Tours

Click here to learn about Bonneville's Volunteer Commuter program 

Click here to reserve picnic shelters or for special events (links to PDF form)

Call 541-374-4011 for fish counts, which are updated every day by 9 a.m., April through October.

Bonneville images

Bonneville navigation

Spillway length 1,450 ft 442 m
  -gates 18
  -reservoir above downstream side 60 ft 18.3 m
Navigation lock length 676 ft 206 m
 -width 85 ft 25.9 m
Max. lift 90 ft 27.4 m
Avg. transit time 30 min.
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum
(Mean Sea Level)

Bonneville hydropower

1st powerhouse length 1027 ft 313 m
Generators/total output ten 660 mw
2nd powerhouse length 986 ft 300.5 m
Generators/total output eight 558 mw

Bonneville recreation

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A view of the sturgeons at the Bonneville Fish HatcheryThis is a chinook and coho salmon hatchery. Display ponds also offer a relaxing place to feed large rainbow trout and view adult white sturgeon measuring more than six feet long. There is a gift shop open during summer months. Interpretive displays are inside and out, including a viewing area to watch fall spawning activities. Outside-accessible restrooms are available here.

Directions: Take I-84 to exit 40 (approximately 4 miles west of Cascade Locks, Ore.) At the flag pole intersection, bear left. Follow the road around to the large parking lot on the left. There is lots of room for RV parking here.

For more about the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, go to http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/bonneville_hatchery.asp

Image of the entrance of the Bradford Island Visitors Center.Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with guided tours of Powerhouse 1 offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and daily from June 15 to Sept. 2. The tour schedule is subject to change.

In addition to views of migrating fish moving through underwater fishways, there is a five-level facility with an observation deck, air conditioned interior with exhibits, restrooms, a large theater and all-glass exterior walls which allow a panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge. A short walk leads to a viewing area inside Powerhouse 1.

Contact information: 541-374-8820

Directions: The Bradford Island Visitor Center is located at exit 40, I-84, four miles west of Cascade Locks, Ore. At the flag pole intersection, bear right. Follow the signs for approximately one mile along park roads.

Image of a fisherman at the Bradford Island Recreation Area, preparing his fishing tackle.Open daily 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located just below the fish ladders, this site affords spectacular spillway views and the surrounding Columbia River Gorge, including views of osprey in the summer and bald eagles in the winter. Cottonwood trees provide shade on hot days or cover from the rain. Fishing is accessible along the shore and from the parking areas. 


Directions:  From Portland, Ore.,take I-84 east to exit 40 for Bonneville Dam. From Vancouver, Wash., go east on Hwy. 14, cross the river at Bridge of the Gods, then travel west on I-84 to exit 40 for Bonneville Dam. Once on Bonneville property, go to the flag pole intersection and bear right, cross the navigation lock and the first powerhouse, then turn left at the sign for Bradford Island Recreation Area.

Image of the McCord Creek bridge.The historic Columbia River Highway Trail is the nation's first scenic highway, constructed between 1913 and 1922. This trail has reserved areas for pedestrian and bicycle use only, such as the section between Tanner Creek, Eagle Creek and Cascade Locks. Learn more about this trail by visiting the Oregon State Parks, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the U.S. Forest Service websites.

Directions: Take exit 40 from I-84 (the Bonneville Dam exit) and turn south off the exit. At the T-intersection, turn left (east) uphill to the paved parking lot.

Fort Cascades trail pavilionFort Cascades, built in 1855, is one of several forts built to protect the portage around the Cascade Rapids. The site has a 1.5 mile interpretive trail where visitors may learn about the history of the site which was used by Native American Tribes, the Army in the 1850s, travelers on the Oregon Trail and the early fishing industry. Visitors also enjoy the trail for exercise, wildlife watching, and scenic views. There is little elevation change and most of the trail is shady, lush and green. Help preserve this unique area and also protect yourself, children, and pets from poison oak by staying on the established trail and keeping your pet on a leash. Spectacular views of the Columbia River and Bonneville Dam can be seen from here. Click here for our Fort Cascades trail brochure.


Directions: From Portland, Ore.: Take I-84 east to exit 44 for the Bridge of the Gods, cross the river and turn left. Go to the Bonneville Dam entrance on left. From Vancouver, Wash.: Take Hwy. 14 east to Milepost 37. Turn right into the Bonneville Dam entrance. Once on Bonneville property, turn right at the first stop sign, then an immediate left into the Fort Cascades Historical Site parking lot. The Bonneville Dam entrance is approximately a half-mile east of North Bonneville, Wash. and seven miles west of Stevenson, Wash.

A man bends over to discover his geocache findPark rangers at Bonneville Lock and Dam maintain seven geocaches on the facility. Two of the caches are on the Washington side and four on the Oregon side. Our geocaches are "interpretive" geocaches, meaning that they are intended to teach about something. "Green Power" is about hydropower, "Take Me to Lunch" is about sea lions, "BIH" deals with Bradford Island history, and "Bonneville Landmark Cache" also talks about the history of the dam. "Go with the Flow" explains the Juvenile Bypass System and "Ducks Float" is all about water safety. Click here for more geocache listings: www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?u=Bonneville&submit4=Go


Geocaching logoThere are also several privately-owned caches (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?lat=45.642333&lng=-121.946267) at or near Bonneville Dam. While Bonneville Dam doesn't require permits for caches, other Portland District project locations might. In all cases, it's recommended you contact the project or public lands manager before placing any caches. Caches hidden in sensitive areas or pose a security/safety risk will be removed. For more information about hiding or finding geocaches, you can visit www.geocaching.com or www.opencaching.com.

Hamilton Island's sign overlooks some stunning sceneryOpen daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fishing is available below the Fort Cascades historic trail and continuing west to the tip of the island. The access road ends at a gravel parking lot and the trailhead for the Hamilton Island trail. The Hamilton Island boat ramp allows access to the river for motorized and non-motorized vessels. There is no fee to use the boat ramp.

 

Directions: Take Hwy. 14 east to Milepost 37. Turn left onto the dam access road, about a half-mile from North Bonneville and seven miles from Stevenson, Wash. At the stop sign, turn right and go about a mile, then turn left toward the river. Go through the parking lot--the boat ramp is at far end.

Image of visitors watching a barge lock through at Bonneville.Open daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day from 1 to 4 p.m. Visitors can watch the navigation lock in operation when commercial or recreational boats are traveling up- or downstream. The visitor center offers exhibits and videos explaining the value to Oregon and Washington economy of river commerce.


Directions: Take I-84 to exit 40, approximately four miles west of Cascade Locks, Ore. At the flag pole intersection, bear right. Follow the signs for the visitor center for about a mile along park roads. Information for vessels on locking through is here.

Image of a couple trying their luck fishing at the North Shore Recreation Area.This site provides spectacular views of the river, surrounding gorge, and wildlife viewing. Open shoreline is available for fishing with access to CXT restrooms and some areas of shade or protections from the elements.

 

Directions:  From Portland, Ore.: Take I-84 east to exit 44 for the Bridge of the Gods, cross the river and turn left. Travel to Bonneville Dam entrance on left. From Washington: Take Hwy. 14 east to Milepost 37. Once on Bonneville property, follow the signs to the visitor center. Parking for the fishing area is located before the secured entrance station. The Bonneville Dam entrance is approximately a half-mile east of North Bonneville, Wash. and seven miles west of Stevenson, Wash.

small image of the picnic shelter on Robins IslandOpen daily 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. This area's large picnic shelter accommodates up to 100 people, and has horseshoe pits, a playground and open grassy areas for outdoor recreation such as ball and disc games. Visitors enjoy this area's bird-watching and scenic views of the Columbia Gorge.Robins Island play structure

 

Directions: From Portland, Ore.: Take I-84 east and take exit 40 to Bonneville Dam. From Vancouver, Wash.: Take Hwy. 14 east and cross the river at Bridge of the Gods, then travel west on I-84 and take exit 40 to Bonneville Dam. Once on Bonneville property, travel to the flag pole intersection and bear right. Cross the navigation lock and then turn left at the sign for Robins Island.

Image of a family fishing at the Tanner Creek Recreation Area.In addition to fishing, this site provides great wildlife viewing of salmon spawning in the fall and several species of birds throughout the year. Two trails lead down from the parking lot for access to the fishing area. There are flush toilets available near the parking area.

Directions: From Portland, Ore.: Take I-84 east to exit 40 for Bonneville Dam. From Vancouver, Wash.: On Hwy. 14, go east and cross the river at Bridge of the Gods, then travel west on I-84 and take exit 40 to Bonneville Dam. Once on Bonneville property, travel to the flag pole intersection and bear left. Continue past the Bonneville Fish Hatchery parking lots to the end of the road, where the Tanner Creek parking lot is located.

night view of the Washington Shore Visitor Center at Bonneville Lock and DamOpen daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This complex offers an easily accessible view of the powerhouse. Generators can be viewed from an area 85 feet above the powerhouse floor. Guided tours of Powerhouse 2 are offered at 10:00 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and daily from June 15 to Sept. 2. The tour schedule is subject to change. Inside the fish-viewing building and adjacent Visitor Orientation building are exhibits on the history of fish in the area and how a modern hydropower plant works.

Contact information: 509-427-4281

Directions: From the Vancouver, Wash. area, take Hwy. 14 east to Milepost 39 (approximately six miles west of Stevenson, Wash.) Turn south on Dam Access Rd. by the large Bonneville Lock and Dam entrance sign. Turn left at the stop sign and continue along the road one mile to the entrance gate. The Visitor Center Building is the glass building at the end of the powerhouse.

Virtual tours of Bonneville

Washington Shore Visitor Center:  Bradford Island Visitor Center:

Screenshots of the Bonneville Virtual Tours

Washington-side virtual tour of Bonneville Lock and Dam Link to Oregon-side virtual tour of Bonneville Lock and Dam Link to the Washington-side Bonneville Virtual Tour Link to the Oregon-side Bonneville Virtual Tour

Note: the virtual tours require Flash to operate on your device. If your device isn't able to use Flash, the virtual tours will not work.