Montlake Cut

About The Cut

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The Montlake Cut has been the Huskies‘ home course since 1960, and is considered one of the most iconic in collegiate rowing.

The 2,000-meter sprint begins from a floating start parallel to the 520 Bridge near Webster Point in Lake Washington and runs east to west through the Montlake Cut and to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay in Lake Union.

Fans line both sides of the Cut and the overhanging Montlake Bridge, creating an atmosphere akin to rowing through a stadium.


Montlake Cut Canoe House
Anywhere along the Cut provides excellent viewing of the races, but here are three areas that are popular with our fans.
  • Finish Line. The finish line is located on the northwest side of the Montlake Cut behind the UW Medical Center. It can be accessed through the walkway along the Cut.
  • Montlake Bridge.  Generally packed for major races, viewing from atop the Montlake Bridge providing views eastbound to the start and westbound to the finish. For the Windermere Cup this bridge is closed to automobile traffic, but at all other races it is not, and spectators need to be especially aware of traffic on this busy thoroughfare. There are stairs down to the Cut on both ends of the bridge: stairs on the east side (on the south end of the bridge) and on the west side (at the north end).
  • Canoe House. Located on the northeast of the Cut (on the right in the above photo), this is the old Navy hangar that served as our shellhouse from 1920 to 1949. The 1923 IRA champions, the ’36 guys, the ’48 guys – all called this home. So for the old-timers, or for those who enjoy the past with the present, this is a good place to watch.  Also, at about 600 meters left in the race and at the entrance to the Cut, things get a little wild in here.

In addition, the south side of the Cut has a walkway that runs 500 meters to the finish. Lane 1 is nearest to this side, and the finish line flag is here as well. The downside is room is limited, as the Cut in some places is fairly steep and, as opposed to the north side which is UW property, the south side abuts private property (which is fairly well marked). Towards the finish line it opens up more, and the sloping grass provides excellent viewing points.

>>Click here for the race course map


On race days, the best option is to pay to park in Lot E1 and walk south to Conibear Shellhouse (<1/4 mile) and the Montlake Cut race course (>1/4 mile). There are a limited number of metered parking spots closer to the shellhouse behind the IMA.

See map below and visit GoHuskies for parking fees and more information.

I’ve heard men shriek out with delight when the swing came in an eight; it’s a thing they’ll never forget as long as they live.
– George Pocock