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Contact us about Bonneville Lock & Dam:

Visitor Center and tours: 541-374-8820

Fish counts: 541-374-4011
*Counts are update daily by 9 a.m., April - October.

Email us about the Bonneville Project

Bonneville Lock & 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

link to District map showing Bonneville's relative location

Hydropower Statistics

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

Navigation Statistics

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)

Visitor Centers

Located just 40 miles from downtown Portland in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Lock & Dam provides opportunities to connect with nature and create unforgettable memories.

Two visitor centers, one in Oregon and one in Washington, are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A team of rangers and volunteers staff the centers and are ready to answer questions and share the significance of this icon of the Pacific Northwest. 

Interpretive programs occur throughout the day. Schedule varies by day and location. See below for more site-specific information.

A word of caution: Bonneville Dam is an active hydro-electric power plant. There may be times when portions of the visitor areas will be inaccessible by the public. These closures may come with little or no warning. We appreciate your patience during these temporary closures and will provide advance warning as early as possible.

Bradford Island Visitor Center

Image of the entrance of the Bradford Island Visitors Center.At the Bradford Island Visitor Center, visitors can seehow nature, technology, and humans intersect. Visitors learn about the cultural history of the region, dam construction, the development of navigation along the Columbia River, and the life-cycles of salmon and Pacific lamprey. 

Come enjoy seasonal views of migrating fish through underwater windows that allow you to peer into the the fish ladder. A rooftop observation deck provides a panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge. 

Short interpretive programs (15-20 minutes) occur throughout the day with topics focusing on the history of Bonneville Dam and fish passage. Additionally visitors may have the opportunity to view the generators in historic Powerhouse One from the visitor gallery, if staffing levels allow. The gallery has historical artifacts and exhibits that focus on Bonneville’s construction and early years. Maximum capacity of the gallery is limited to 25 people at one time. There may be a short wait to be admitted. Check in at the front desk for the hours of gallery access, or call 541-374-8820 on the day of your visit.

Directions: The Bradford Island Visitor Center is located at exit 40, I-84, four miles west of Cascade Locks, Oregon. At the flag pole intersection, bear right. After stopping at the guard station, cross the navigation lock and the Powerhouse One. Follow the signs for about one mile to the visitor center. The large parking lot accommodates buses and recreational vehicles.

Washington Shore Visitor Complex

night view of the Washington Shore Visitor Center at Bonneville Lock and DamInside the Visitor Orientation Building and the adjacent Fish Viewing Building are exhibits that focus on the fundamentals of electricity and the importance of hydroelectric dams to the region. Visitors can also learn about the natural and cultural history of the surrounding areas and the importance of salmon. This visitor complex offers an easily accessible view of the powerhouse. Generators can be viewed from an area 85 feet above the powerhouse floor.

Powerhouse tours may be offered daily at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., subject to staff availability. Groups w

ill be limited to 25 visitors per tour. Participants will be required to sign up at the front desk of the Visitor Orientation Building prior to the beginning of the tours. Please call 541-374-8820 to check tour availability on the day of your visit. Tours are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and times may be subject to change.

Directions: Take Washington State Highway 14 to milepost 38.5. Turn south (toward the river) onto the Dam Access Road, about a half mile east of the town of North Bonneville. Turn left at the first stop sign, following the signs to the visitor complex.

Navigation Lock

The visitor center at the Navigation Lock is open seasonally, from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  This visitor center offers exhibits and videos demonstrating the value of river commerce to the economy of Oregon and Washington.  Visitors can see the navigation lock in operation when commercial or recreational boats are using the lock. There is no set schedule of when boats pass through the lock.

Directions: Take I-84 to exit 40, approximately four miles west of Cascade Locks, Oregon. At the flag pole intersection, bear right.  Enter the Navigation Lock Visitor Area parking lot just past the guard station as the road veers to the left.  

 

Outdoor Recreation

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation in the nation. Portland District's recreation sites allow visitors of all ages to enjoy biking, hiking, boating, fishing, camping, hunting, windsurfing and more.

Located just 40 miles from downtown Portland, Bonneville Lock & Dam provides opportunities to connect with nature and create unforgettable memories.

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 of the surrounding Columbia River Gorge. Wildlife viewing includes views of osprey in the summer and bald eagles in the winter. Fishing for sturgeon, salmon, steelhead and shad are popular activities on the shoreline of this island recreation area however it should be noted that much of the bank is steep.

DirectionsTake I-84 to exit 40, approximately 4 miles west of Cascade Locks, Ore. Once on Bonneville property, go to the flag pole intersection and bear right.  After stopping at the guard station, 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.

Operated jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the State of Oregon



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 Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area and its webpage at Oregon State Parks.

Please note that if you are biking the trial, there is no bike/pedestrian access to the Bradford Island Visitor Center at Bonneville Dam (on the Oregon side of the river) due to restrictions across the powerhouse.

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.

A view of the sturgeons at the Bonneville Fish HatcheryOperated by Oregon Fish and Wildlife.

This 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. A gift shop is open during summer months. Interpretive displays are inside buildings and outdoors, including a viewing area to watch fall spawning activities. Accessible restrooms are available here.

DirectionsTake I-84 to exit 40, approximately 4 miles west of Cascade Locks, Oregon.  At the flag pole intersection, bear left. Follow the road around to the large parking lot on the left.  RV parking is available here.

For more about the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, visit the Bonneville Fish Hatchery at the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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. For more information, view 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 eight geocaches. Beginner and advanced geocachers will enjoy the hunt with five traditional caches and three multi-caches. Five caches are on the Oregon side and three are on the Washington side. Our geocaches are "interpretive," which means they are educational. "Green Power" is about hydropower, "Take Me to Lunch" is about sea lions. "BIH" is about Bradford Island history. "Bonneville Landmark Cache" is about Bonneville Dam’s history. "FCRPS: More Power to You" is about the Northwestern hydropower system. "Go with the Flow" is about the Juvenile Fish Bypass System. "Ducks Float" is about water safety. Lastly, "Hamilton or Strawberry Island?" is about Lewis and Clark's travels here. Rangers and volunteers are available to help!  Click here for more geocache listings.


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.  More than a mile of shoreline access is available for fishing. The access road ends at a gravel parking lot with vault restrooms and the trailhead for the Hamilton Island trail.  About five miles of trail are available in the Hamilton Island Recreation and Natural Resource Management Areas that offer scenic views of the gorge and wildlife watching opportunities. The Hamilton Island boat ramp allows access to the river for motorized and non-motorized vessels.  There is no day use or boat ramp fee.

DirectionsTake Washington State Highway 14 to Milepost 38.5.  Turn south (toward the river) onto the Dam Access Road, about a half mile east of the town of North Bonneville. Turn right at the first stop sign. To reach the boat ramp, drive about one mile and turn left toward the river. The boat ramp is at the far end of the parking lot. 

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


Directions: Take I-84 to exit 40, approximately four miles west of Cascade Locks, Oregon. At the flag pole intersection, bear right.  Enter the Navigation Lock Visitor Area parking lot just past the guard station as the road veers to the left.  

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. The open shoreline between the Fort Cascades Historic Site and the Washington Shore Visitor Complex is available for fishing with access to vault restrooms. Intermittent sections of gravel trail stretch along the shoreline for approximately one mile.

Directions: Take Washington State Highway 14 to milepost 38.5.  Turn south (toward the river) onto the Dam Access Road, about a half mile east of the town of North Bonneville. Turn left at the first stop sign.  Parking for the fishing area is located before the secured entrance station.

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.

DirectionsTake Washington State Highway 14 to milepost 38.5.  Turn south (toward the river) onto the Dam Access Road, about a half mile east of the town of North Bonneville. Turn left at the first stop sign.  Parking for the fishing area is located before the secured entrance station.

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