Tenney Lock

1500 Sherman Avenue, Madison, WI 53703 phone 608-266-4364

Experience the Dane County Tenney Lock and Spillway – one of three boat locks located on the Yahara River. The 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.  The other Locks are located Lake Waubesa at Babcock County Park at the Village of McFarland and on Lake Kegonsa at LaFollette County Park near Stoughton.  The Locks provide navigational and recreational opportunities to boaters using the Yahara River System by allowing them stay on the river without portaging around the dam.  
A permit is required to use the Tenny Lock. 

If you need access through the Lock during off-hours, please contact Dane County Parks (Monday-Friday) at least 24 hours in advance.
There will be a $25.00 charge for this service.

Parks Division: 608-224-3730
Tenney Lock: 608-266-4364

Please note: Tenney Lock is CLOSED Monday - Wednesday with expanded hours for Memorial Day, Shake the Lake, July 4th, and Labor Day and limited hours in October. 

Boat Size Limitations

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 for additional information.

Lock Safety Tips

  • Shut off motor.
  • 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.