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. There are “fish cams” you can see on the dam's website, and large viewing windows at the dam itself.

Tours are 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm at the Washington Shore Visitor Center Complex, subject to staff availability. Tour times vary seasonally at the Oregon Bradford Island Visitor Center. For planning purposes, it would be best if you visit their webpage for the most up to date information.


Phone: (541) 374-8820

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