De Immigrant Windmill

Lock and Dam 13

Lock and Dam 13

According to the US Army Corps of Enginers website, "Lock & Dam 13 Recreation Area features a boat ramp, an observation deck overlooking the lock chamber, and a  picnic shelter. The boat ramp enables access to the Mississippi River and backwaters of pool 13. Lock & Dam 13 is located four miles north of Fulton, Illinois off of State Highway 84, also known as the Great River Road.  For more information please contact the Thomson Ranger Station at 815-259-3628 or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."

Boats of all kinds from small canoes to tugs pushing huge strings of barges pass through the locks and visitors can view the activities from only a few feet away. Portable public restrooms are available.

Location: Clinton, Iowa / Fulton TownshipWhiteside County, IllinoisUSA

Coordinates: 41°53′53″N 90°09′21″W

Construction began1935. 

Opening date: May 13, 1938

Operator(s): United States Army Corps of Engineers

Dam and spillways Impounds: Upper Mississippi River:

Length: 5,138 feet (1,566.1 m)

Reservoir Creates Pool 13. 

Total capacity192,000 acre⋅ft (0.237 km3): Catchment area: 85,500 sq mi (221,000 km2)

Lock and Dam No.13 Historic District:

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

U.S. Historic district


Location 4999 Lock Rd., Fulton, Illinois

Area: 254.2 acres (102.9 ha)

Built: 1939

Architect: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Lock and Dam No. 13 is a lock and dam located on the Upper Mississippi River above Fulton, Illinois and Clinton, Iowa, United States. This facility offers visitors a view of the barges and boats locking through on the widest pool in the Upper Mississippi River.

The movable portion of the dam is 1,066 feet (324.9 m) long and consists of ten tainter gates and three roller gates. The non-movable portion of the dam continues toward the Iowa shore with a 200 feet (61.0 m) storage yard, a 728 feet (221.9 m) non-submersible dike, a 1,650 feet (502.9 m) submersible dike, and a 1,315 feet (400.8 m) non-submersible dike with two 90 feet (27.4 m) transitional sections between the submersible and non-submersible sections. There is also an 8,940 feet (2,724.9 m) non-submersible dike on the Illinois side east of the locks. The main lock is 110 feet (33.5 m) wide by 600 feet (182.9 m) long and like most other sites in the project, it has a smaller, unfinished, auxiliary lock.[2] In 2004, the facility was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as Lock and Dam No. 13 Historic District, #04000173 covering 2,542 acres (10.3 km2), 1 building, 6 structures, and 4 objects.

This lock and dam represent the man-made exit from the Driftless Area, where shipping has to travel a few feet above bedrock over the 9-foot (2.7 m) shipping channel. It's about 522 feet (159 m) above sea level.

Walking Tours

The Thomson Park Rangers give walking tours of Lock & Dam 13 every Sunday afternoon from Memorial Day thru Labor Day Weekend at 1:00 p.m. Please meet by the observation deck. For safety concerns, participants must not wear open-toed shoes, flip-flops, sandals, or high heels. Tours are not given during inclement weather. For more details, call the Thomson Park Rangers at 815-259-3628.

4999 Lock Rd.
City, State Zip
Fulton, IL 61252
(815) 589-3313
Season Open
Memorial Day
Season Close
Labor Day

1:00 pm

Published in Attractions