Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks


Tenney Locks have CLOSED for the season. Permits will be available for purchase in the spring.

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 (in the spring). There 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 28, 2022.

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 27 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 28 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Sunday. May 29 10:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m.
Monday, May 30 - 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.
FREE DAY - Saturday, June 18th    
Extended Hours - 4th of July Weekend
Friday, July 1 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 2 9:00 a.m. 12:00 a.m. (midnight)
Sunday, July 3 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Monday, July 4 - 4th of July 9:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.

August 31, 2022:  Tenney Locks will be CLOSED for the remainder of 2022 due to mechanical issues after an electrical storm.

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.
  • $10 - Daily
  • $30 - Annual
  • $12 - Duplicate
  • $50 - Minimum charge for off-hours access

Tenney Lock permits will be available for purchase in the spring.

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