Friday, July 19, 2024

Full length of Glacier's Sun Road opens for summer

by Daily Inter Lake
| June 22, 2024 6:00 AM

The full length of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park opened Saturday morning for the summer season.

The road may now be accessed by motorized vehicles over Logan Pass from both the West Glacier and St. Mary entrances. 

Park officials said plow crews battled avalanches and deep snow levels above 5,500 feet this year, and facilities staff worked against freezing temperatures to get the water system operational. As of Thursday, staff were busy shoveling walkways and access into the visitor center. 

Services at Logan Pass include restroom facilities, but potable water is currently not yet available. Visitors should plan to bring their own drinking water.  

Visitor information services will be provided at the Logan Pass Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily starting Saturday. The Glacier National Park Conservancy bookstore will be operating inside of the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  

With Going-to-the-Sun Road fully open, the number of vehicle reservations available will be increased. For the remainder of the season, this increase will be executed through the next-day reservations available at 7 p.m. MDT each day. Vehicle reservations are exclusively available on and not available at the park. 

Vehicle reservations are required to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road from the west side of the park past Apgar. Reservations will be required for those traveling by vehicle or motorcycle from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day through Sept. 8.

Vehicle reservations will not be required to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east side of the park at the St. Mary Entrance this summer.

Vehicle reservations are also currently required for the North Fork, and starting July 1, reservations will be required at Many Glacier. 

Visitors with lodging, camping, or commercial activity reservations (e.g., boat tours and horseback rides) do not need a vehicle reservation and can use their confirmation email to access the portion of the park for which their activity is booked.

Service reservations originating east of Logan Pass cannot be used instead of a vehicle reservation for access past the Apgar Check Point heading east on Going-to-the-Sun Road. 

The park is open 24/7 and visitors may enter the park before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation.  

Additional vehicle reservation information and frequently asked questions are available on the park’s Vehicle Reservation page.  

With the opening of the road, the weekend hiker/biker shuttle will no longer be operating. Daily shuttle service along Going-to-the-Sun Road will begin operating July 1 on a first-come, first-served basis at the Apgar and St. Mary visitor centers with stops along Going-to-the-Sun Road.  

Parking at Logan Pass, Apgar Village, and other areas may be congested or temporarily unavailable. After the daily shuttles begin operating on July 1, visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the free shuttle for hiker access to Logan Pass although waits for shuttles may be long depending on the time and location. Check the park website for additional information on shuttle stops.   

While driving along the road, particularly through the Rim Rock area (approximately 1 mile west of Logan Pass) visitors should be aware of potential rockfall and should not slow down or stop in this section. Rocks and other debris continue to fall throughout the summer, requiring daily clean up. With the level of snow at Logan Pass, visitors should use extreme caution and refrain from crossing snowfields or standing under snow overhangs. 

Vehicles and vehicle combinations longer than 21 feet, and/or wider than 8 feet, are prohibited on Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche Campground and Rising Sun. Vehicles over 10 feet in height may have difficulty driving west from Logan Pass due to narrow lanes and projecting rock overhangs.  

The Highline Trail and a portion of Grinnell Glacier Trail remain closed due to hazardous snow conditions and emerging vegetation. For up-to-date information on trail conditions and clearing activities, visit the park’s trail status webpage. Hidden Lake Trail will be closed June 15 to Aug. 7 from the overlook to Hidden Lake due to bear activity near the lake outlet while fish are spawning.    

Based on observed traffic patterns during previous vehicle reservation pilot seasons, vehicular traffic is expected to increase every day at 3 p.m. when vehicle reservations are no longer required for the day. For safety purposes, Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed to bicycle use (both directions) through Sept. 8 between 3 p.m. and p.m. from Apgar to Logan Pass.  

Visitors are encouraged to limit vehicle idling to no more than two minutes in parking lots, at scenic viewpoints and trailheads, and while stopped in traffic lines and road construction to benefit the health of both the public and the park resources.  

Visitors should not throw food waste, including apple cores, orange peels, sunflower seeds, unwanted drinks (coffee, tea, soda) etc., out car windows while waiting in lines. This attracts wildlife to the roadways which increases wildlife fatalities. Discard garbage in bear-proof garbage cans.