Cedar River Salmon Journey

Cedar River Salmon Journey

Follow the journey of a lifetime.

Each year, thousands of Pacific salmon return to our local watersheds to produce the next generation of fish. Salmon play a key role in our economy and are the cornerstone of our local ecosystem, which supports us all. These amazing creatures are also critical to the health and well-being of Coast Salish peoples, who stewarded these lands and waters for generations and continue to do so today.

Here in Seattle, we’re fortunate to host one of the few wildlife migrations that runs through the heart of an urban watershed. The Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed supports a threatened run of Chinook, as well as sockeye and coho, salmon. From May to September, adult salmon pass through the Ballard Locks on the final leg of their epic journey from the rivers and streams in which they were born, out to the ocean and back to these same rivers and streams. There, during fall and into winter, these salmon will spawn and die, and the Pacific salmon life cycle will begin again.

In response to COVID-19, the Cedar River Salmon Journey program has been modified. For the health and safety of all participants, all in-person salmon programming at the Ballard Locks, on the Cedar River and at community events has been canceled.

Instead, we invite you to learn more about salmon and the Cedar River Watershed below. 

  • Find out where you can see salmon spawning in the Cedar River in October and read about the Cedar River Watershed.
  • Download a salmon bingo game or field journal to make the most of a visit to the Cedar River.
  • Watch our webinar series and hear from an education specialist, a fisheries biologist and a salmon recovery manager about the challenges salmon face, their population trends and local restoration efforts in the Cedar River.
  • Check out these resources to learn about the salmon life cycle, why salmon habitat is critical to the health of our southern resident orcas, how people are helping salmon and more.
  • Visit the Seattle Aquarium to explore our salmon exhibits. Egg development can’t be easily observed in the wild but visitors to the Aquarium during winter months may have the opportunity to watch salmon eggs develop into young fish.
  • Take action on behalf of salmon. Our blog post and the list below are great places to start. Everything you do to help salmon also helps our southern resident orcas—and is good for people too!
Sockeye salmon.
Cedar River actions



  • King County Flood Control District
  • MMS Giving Foundation
  • Seattle Public Utilities
  • The WRIA8 Salmon Recovery Council
  • The City of Renton
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Seattle District