As summer comes to a close, the opportunity to get out on the Greenway to see thousands of Pacific Northwest Salmon return to their natal streams from the Puget Sound and greater Pacific Ocean becomes tangible. The first rains in late August mark the beginning of a migration season that lasts till late November, in which Silver (Coho), King (Chinook), Sockeye, Chum, and Steelhead make their final return through the rivers within the Mountains to Sound Greenway to spawn and complete their remarkable journey.
You can take part in this remarkable journey at the following locations throughout the Greenway:
King County: General Information
Chittenden Locks in Ballard:
Watch salmon migrate up the fish ladder at the Chittenden Locks in Ballard mid-June through October, with the best viewing through September. Professional naturalists provide daily salmon talks at the fish ladder following free one-hour tours. Special tours can be arranged for school groups.
Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery:
Although the hatchery is open year-round, autumn is the most active time of year, when adult chinook and coho salmon return to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Chinook are the first to return, with the first salmon usually showing up in late August and the bulk of the return arriving by mid-September through mid-October. Coho generally arrive by late September through late November. The hatchery also sees a few sockeye salmon, which usually arrive late September through October.
Cedar River Salmon Journey:
Follow the amazing journey of the Pacific Northwest Salmon along the Cedar River starting at the Ballard Locks continuing through 5 great sites along the Cedar River. More Information here.
Snoqualmie River- Chinook Bend
Pink and chinook salmon can be seen at Chinook Bend Natural Area near Carnation. More information here.
Snoqualmie River- Tolt McDonald Park
Pink and chinook salmon can be seen from the footbridge over the Snoqualmie River at this park. The park is in the town of Carnation, off 203, the Carnation-Duvall Road. More information here.
Sammamish River Salmon Viewing in Redmond:
Spot adult coho, sockeye, and chinook salmon in September and October as they migrate up the Sammamish to their spawning grounds in Bear Creek. More information here.
Salmon Grove Natural Area, Bear Creek, Sammamsih Watershed
A viewing site for spawning Salmon along Bear Creek within the Sammamish Watershed. More information here.
Cottage Lake Creek
Another viewing site for spawning salmon within the Sammamish Watershed. More info here.
Bear Creek in Woodinville hosted by the Water Tenders Volunteers
Head to the Tolt Pipeline viewing site to see migrating salmon and learn more from the Water Tenders Volunteer group who will be present at the viewing site at these specific dates: Sept.28th, Sept.29th, and Oct. 2th. More information here.
View sockeye and chinook salmon on Bear Creek from late September to mid-November by visiting theR.O.S.E. (Redmond Organization of Shared Environments) 3/8 mile trail, created and maintained byLake Washington Environmental and Adventure School and other local students. Located behind Redmond’s KIS Farm (Keep it Simple, Inc.), the trail is self-guided. More information here.
Kelsey Creek in Bellevue
You can often see salmon returning to Kelsey Creek in October at the Mercer Slough fish ladder south of SE 8th in Bellevue, and at the West Tributary at Kelsey Creek Farm Park. Fish are unpredictable, though! You may want to call or email for updates first. More information here.
Pipers Creek in November and December (Shoreline Area):
See hundreds of returning chum and coho make their way into Piper’s Creek at Carkeek Park throughout November and December. On weekends during the return, Salmon Stewards greet guests by the creek to explain the salmon’s life cycle, habitat, and human influence on both. More information here.
Elbright and Lewis Creeks City of Sammamish and Issaquah
Don’t miss this chance to see little red kokanee, a special salmon species that is a smaller relative of sockeye. Unlike other salmon, kokanee spend their whole lives in freshwater streams and lakes. Lake Sammamish is the only place within 90 miles of Seattle to see native kokanee. More information here.
Raging River – Fall City
Salmon can be observed in the Raging River in Fall City from SE Dike Rd, east of the Preston Fall City Road (203) between Lake Alice Rd and SE 43rd St.
Cle Elum Hatchery:
Visit the Cle Elum Hatchery to learn more about the reintroduction of Spring Chinook back into the Cle Elum River. The Salmon were introduced in 2009, and just recently have the offspring made their return to the natal waters in which they were spawned. Visit the hatchery or find a spot along the Cle Elum River to try and spot the Spring chinook, who continue to migrate through late September. More information and directions here.