Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery

bonneville_ladder1

Exit 40 of I-84
Cascade Locks, Oregon

The first time my husband convinced me to stop at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery, I was skeptical at best. To me, a fish hatchery sounds about as exciting as a coma, but kids love it. You also can’t beat the price (free!) or the stunning Oregon scenery. The dam is about 40 miles east of Portland, Oregon, and perfect for a quick stop after or before entering the city. (Another great–but widely known and easy to spot–option is Multnomah Falls, a bit further west, toward Portland.) The hatchery is set in a nice wooded area featuring lots of, well…hatcheries…and ponds, some featuring sturgeons up to six feet long! At the adjacent dam, learn about the Columbia River’s history and then go downstairs to the large glass viewing window to watch wild salmon ‘jumping’ up the fish ladder as they migrate to the other side of the dam (or go outside and see it up close in nice weather).

Date last visited: June 2008

Distance off the interstate: Just about one minute!

Bathrooms: At both the hatchery and the dam.

Food Services: In my recollection, no. There are many picnic tables and grassy spots at the hatchery, however, and tables on the deck of the dam museum. There’s also a gift shop (what they could possibly tempt me with, I don’t know, but then again I’m not a huge fan of fish).

Website: Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery

Directions: From I-84, simply take Exit 40 and follow the signs.
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About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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  1. The hatchery and the dam share the same entrance but are seperate facilities. The Hatchery has beautiful gardens and picnic tables. They also have a Sturgeon Viewing Center, home to Herman the (11 foot!) Sturgeon. Theres a book store at the visitors center at the dam, but the hatchery has a full scale gift store with an assortment of local handcrafts, apparel, gifts and an excellent espresso bar.

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