Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks


Tenney Locks have OPENED for the season. A daily or annual permit is required, purchase online before you go!

Tenney Lock for Boaters

Tenney Lock:  (608) 221-7202  |  Parks Office:  (608) 224-3730
Experience the Dane County Tenney Lock and Spillway (Google map), one of three boat locks located on the Yahara River. Tenney Lock is the largest lock and is located on Lake Mendota within the City of Madison. The lock is operated by a parks lock attendant during specific park hours, view schedule below.

A Tenney Lock Permit (daily or annual) is required for all watercraft using the lock and must be shown to the lock attendant (printed or displayed on your device). A permit fee for lock use offsets the cost of the attendant. Permits may be purchased online or at the electronic pay station at the Lock Pier, view mapThere are no in-person cash sales so please plan ahead.

Public restrooms are available during the hours of lock operations, refer to the Tenney Lock Schedule below. If you need access through Tenney Lock off-hours, please contact Dane County Parks (Monday - Friday) at least 48 hours in advance. There will be a $50 minimum charge. Total charge will be determined by service requested.


Lock Schedule and Additional Information

April and May

Opening day is Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Day Open Close
Thursday 12:00 p.m. (noon) 7:00 p.m.
Friday 11:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m.
Extended Hours - Memorial Day Weekend
Friday, May 24 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Sunday. May 26 10:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m.
Monday, May 27 - Memorial Day 10:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m.

June, July, and August

Day Open Close
Thursday 12:00 p.m. (noon) 9:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Sunday 9:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m.
*** Fee Free Weekend *** - Saturday, June 1 & Sunday, June 2    
Extended Hours - 4th of July Weekend
Wednesday, July 3 12:00 p.m. (noon) 10:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 4 - 4th of July 12:00 p.m. (noon) 11:00 p.m.
Friday, July 5 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 6 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 7 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.


Day Open Close
Thursday 12:00 p.m. (noon) 7:00 p.m.
Friday 11:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m.
Extended Hours - Labor Day Weekend
Sunday, September 1 10:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m.
Monday, September 2 - Labor Day 10:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m.


Last day is Sunday, October 27, 2024.

Day Open Close
Saturday 12:00 p.m. (noon) 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. (noon) 6:00 p.m.


You cannot go through Tenney Lock or any of the county locks with a raised mast. Water levels determine the clearance height for a boat to move through the Lock. Generally, in normal water conditions 6 feet is the maximum height. During times of high water conditions, the maximum height will be less. Height is also an issue on the Yahara River (canal) moving between Mendota and Monona.

At least one bridge through this stretch has a maximum height of 6 feet. See Tenney Lock Fact Sheet (PDF) for additional information.

  • Shut off motor.
  • No amplified music.
  • Keep hands, feet and other body parts inside boat and remain seated.
  • Expect some movement of the boat as water level changes. Chains on the lock walls are provided to assist with boat stability.
  • No smoking while in the lock chambers. Exhaust fumes or gas from unspent fuel could ignite or explode.
  • Do not exit boat while in the lock. Bathrooms are available for your use after boat is through the lock.

Permits are available to purchase online:

Visit our Tenney Lock Park & Dam webpage to learn about the lock history and find more information about the park, including a park map.