Glacier reveals ticket plan for Two Medicine, Many Glacier
An iconic red bus leaves Many Glaicer Hotel in Glacier National Park. (JP Edge/Hungry Horse News)
| December 16, 2022 9:00 AM
Glacier National Park will require vehicle reservations for the Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys beginning next summer.
In recent summers, the park has only required vehicle reservations for Going-to-the-Sun Road and the North Fork entrance. Glacier officials in recent public meetings had discussed the likelihood of requiring tickets for the Two Medicine and Many Glacier areas.
Under the new system, reservations will be needed to access the Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys and at the St. Mary Entrance from July 1 through Sept. 10, between 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The reservations for Two Medicine and Many Glacier are good for one day.
Visitors on the east side of the park without a reservation will still be able to visit Two Medicine and Many Glacier before 6 a.m. and after 3 p.m., and will be able to visit the St. Mary visitor center for access to free shuttles to Going-to-the-Sun Road.
A vehicle reservation to access Going-to-the-Sun Road via the West Entrance and the North Fork area of the park will be required from May 26 through Sept. 10, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Sun Road reservations are good for three days, while the Polebridge entrance reservations are valid for one day.
In a media release, park officials said the decision to add Many Glacier and Two Medicine valleys to the reservation system was based on review of data collected during the two previous years.
“Patterns show an increased need to restrict traffic when parking capacity was surpassed,” the release stated. “Park officials held meetings with businesses and stakeholders this fall to share the data and solicit input.”
According to recent statistics, the east side of the park saw a substantial uptick in visitors in August as St. Mary drew 143,509 visitors, up from 124,175 a year ago. Two Medicine was up in August by nearly 7,500 visitors, and Many Glacier saw an increase of 9,000 visitors compared to August 2021.
As in 2021 and 2022, landowners inside the park are not required to have a vehicle reservation to access their properties. Pursuant to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, vehicle reservations are not required for tribal members throughout the park.
Vehicle reservations will be available on Recreation.gov, which includes a $2 processing fee. Each of the specified areas of the park will require a separate reservation.
New for the 2023 season, vehicle reservations will be available through two types of booking windows.
A portion of reservations will be available approximately four months or 120-days in advance, using a block-release system. The first block of advanced reservations will be available through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Feb. 1. This round of reservations will be available to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road or the North Fork for May 26 through June 30.
The next release will occur on March 1, for July 1 through July 31, including the reservation areas for Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, Two Medicine and Many Glacier.
On April 1, reservations will be available for all areas for Aug. 1 through Aug. 31.
On May 1, reservations will be available for all areas for Sept. 1 through Sept. 10.
Like last year, a portion of reservations for all areas of the park will be available on a rolling basis at 8 a.m. 24-hours in advance.
In addition to a vehicle reservation, each vehicle entering the park is required to have an entrance pass for any entry point into the park. These passes could include any one of the following: a $35 vehicle pass, good for seven days; a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass; or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass.
Visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, Many Glacier, or Two Medicine can use their reservation for entry in lieu of a $2 reservation to gain access to the portion of the park for which they have a reservation.
Prior to July 1, when the reservation requirements begin, the park anticipates congestion at Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys. As in past years, entry will be temporarily restricted if these areas reach capacity. Visitors are encouraged to plan their visit outside of peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Visitors with service reservations (e.g., boat tours, lodging, horseback ride, guided hikes) in these valleys will be permitted entry during temporary restrictions.
Visitors should anticipate up to a 30-minute wait due to construction on Going-to-the-Sun Road along Lake McDonald starting in June. Additional details about construction will be posted on the park website as they become available. Entry to Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance before the 6 a.m. reservation period will not be possible due to construction activities. To avoid congestion-related delays, visitors are encouraged to use the St. Mary Entrance to access Going-to-the-Sun Road, including popular attractions such as Logan Pass and Avalanche.
Through the pilot process, the park is engaged in continued learning about the various strategies used. The park has also engaged with stakeholders and local communities to inform the design of the pilot each year. This information will help inform long-range visitor use management planning, which the park is expecting to begin in 2023. Through the long-range planning process, there will be opportunities for public input once the planning process is initiated.
Additional details about the vehicle reservation system are still in development.