Saturday, June 12, 2021

Glacier National Park opens more roads, campgrounds

by Daily Inter Lake
| June 9, 2021 8:00 AM

More roads and campgrounds are opening in Glacier National Park while crews continue preparing for the full opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Park officials announced Tuesday that east-side access points Two Medicine Road and Many Glacier Road are open for the season. Visitors at Many Glacier can expect up to 40-minute delays in both directions due to road construction during the day, and up to three-hour delays from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Cut Bank Road remains closed at the ranger station.

On the west side of the park, the Inside North Fork Road is open between the Polebridge and Logging Creek ranger stations. The roads to access Bowman and Kintla lakes also are open for the season. The dirt roads are prone to intermittent closure due to muddy conditions.

The Two Medicine, Many Glacier and Polebridge areas may experience traffic restrictions due to congestion. Visitors with a service reservation in those valleys will be admitted but should prepare for delays. 

Construction on Camas Road will involve 30-minute delays in both directions. More information on construction around the park can be found on the park's website.

ACCESS TO the Going-to-the-Sun Road remains limited and reservations are required.

Road crews continue to remove snow at high elevations of the Sun Road, installing guardrails and clearing fallen rocks and debris. Weather last month slowed progress.

Park officials said it is too early to predict when the Sun Road will fully open over Logan Pass. 

On the west side of the park, the road is open to vehicles with entry reservation tickets for approximately 18 miles from the west entrance to Avalanche Creek. Hikers and bikers can use the road up to the Loop, about 8 miles past the vehicle closure, when the road crew is working, and may go as far as Logan Pass on weekends when the road crew is not working. Restrooms are not yet open at Logan Pass. Visitors should check on weather and avalanche conditions and any additional closures before visiting.

On the east side of the park, visitors with entry reservation tickets can drive the Sun Road approximately 12 miles from St. Mary to the Jackson Glacier Overlook. Hiking and biking are allowed as far as No Stump Point just beyond Siyeh Bend. 

Tickets for the park's shuttle service along the Sun Road went on sale June 1 on The service will begin July 1.

MORE CAMPGROUNDS will be open in 2021 than in 2020, but park officials said the St. Mary, Rising Sun, Avalanche and Cut Bank campgrounds will not open this year due to a pandemic-related staff shortage.

The Apgar, Fish Creek, Sprague Creek, Bowman Lake, and Kintla Lake campgrounds are open for the season.

The Many Glacier Campground is scheduled to open Friday. Reservations are required this year due to construction on Many Glacier Road.

The Two Medicine Campground was scheduled to open May 28 but the opening has been delayed due to snow.

The Logging Creek and Quartz Creek campgrounds are scheduled to open July 1.

All wilderness or backcountry campgrounds, except those in the Goat Haunt area, will be available in 2021 as conditions allow.

Visitors can obtain wilderness permits at the Apgar Backcountry Permit Center or the ranger stations at Polebridge, Two Medicine and Many Glacier. The St. Mary Visitor Center will not issue permits this year due to the staff shortage.

ALL PARK concessions are expected to operate this summer, though services have been modified due to COVID-19.

Glacier National Park Lodges opened the Lake McDonald Lodge and Village Inn in May.

Many Glacier Hotel opened this week with to-go food services only. The Swiftcurrent Motor Inn also opened and the Rising Sun Motor Inn is scheduled to open Friday. 

Swan Mountain Trail Rides at Many Glacier began operating this week. Trail rides began at Apgar and Lake McDonald in May.

Glacier Park Boat Co. boat tours began at Many Glacier this week. Tours will start at St. Mary Lake from the Rising Sun boat dock on Saturday. Tours began  at Two Medicine and Lake McDonald in May.

Lucke's Lounge and Jammer Joe's at Lake McDonald and the Swiss Lounge at Many Glacier will not open for the 2021 season.

Sun Tours interpretive vehicle tours highlighting American Indian culture began services on June 1. 

The Granite Park Chalet is scheduled to open June 28, and Sperry Chalet on Friday. Both will offer à la carte food service.

McDonald, Many Glacier, Kintla and Bowman lakes are open to private boating. Aquatic invasive species inspections are required and available at Apgar, Many Glacier and Polebridge. Two Medicine Lake is closed to private boating this year due to the staff shortage.

The Apgar and St. Mary visitor centers are open. Park staff are providing visitor information at outdoor stations to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 indoors.

Masks still are required in indoor spaces and heavily populated outdoor areas where social distancing isn't possible for visitors who are not fully vaccinated. Masks also are required for public transportation including shuttles, buses and tour boats.

Much of the park remains snow-covered this time of year, and travelers should be prepared for changing conditions. Avalanches can occur on slopes, and route-finding skills are necessary at high elevations. Bears are active throughout the park.