Going-to-the-Sun Road opens for summer, but signs of winter remain

Crews remove snow from the Big Drift on the east side of Logan Pass on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park earlier this month. (David Reese/Missoula Current)

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open for its entire 50-mile length, but there’s still abundant evidence of winter along the high-country route.

Glacier National Park opened the gates early Saturday, after crews finished removing snow and rocks from the road and prepped the Logan Pass Visitor Center.

Should you venture up the road this weekend, though, be prepared for cold temperatures, wind, icy conditions and plenty of snow along the road, officials said.

Park rangers are warning of hazardous snow bridges and snow walls along the road, particularly near Big Bend, the Big Drift, Lunch Creek and Siyeh Bend.

Drivers should also watch for rockfall through the Rim Rock area, about one mile west of Logan Pass. Rocks and other debris will continue to fall onto the road throughout the summer.

The Highline Trail from Logan Pass remains closed because of hazardous snow conditions. (For up-to-date information on trail conditions and clearing activities, visit the park’s trail status webpage.)

Services at Logan Pass include restroom facilities and potable water. The visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sept. 3.

With the Sun Road’s opening, Glacier has ended its spring hiker-biker shuttle service for the season.

Bicycle safety restrictions on the Sun Road are in effect, and remain in effect through Labor Day. That means bicycles are prohibited between the Apgar turnoff near the Apgar Picnic Area and Sprague Creek Campground from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bicycles also are prohibited eastbound (uphill) between Logan Creek and Logan Pass from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information on bicycle restrictions and average bicycle times may be found in the park newspaper available at park entrance stations, or online on the park’s bicycle information webpage.

The park’s fare-free summer shuttle system will begin operating on July 1, and will run from approximately 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, through Monday, Sept. 3.

From Sept. 4-23, the shuttle will run on a reduced schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

The shuttle provides two-way service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road between the Apgar and St. Mary visitor centers, including a hiker express shuttle departing from both visitor centers at 7 a.m. during peak season.

In addition, interpretive bus tours on the Sun Road and in other areas of the park are available through Sun Tours and Glacier National Park Lodges. More information on these services can be found on the park’s website.

There will also be a commuter shuttle running from Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse to Glacier Park this summer.

A reminder that vehicles and vehicle combinations longer than 21 feet, and wider than 9 feet, are prohibited on the 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 rock overhangs.

Park officials said that rehabilitation work on the Sun Road scenic pullouts will continue this year on the west side of the park from the West Entrance Station to Avalanche Creek.

Roadbed and paving work at the West Entrance and Apgar Curve areas is complete. Going-to-the-Sun Road access on the park’s west side is no longer being detoured through Apgar Village.

Crews will also complete stone masonry repairs near Logan Pass. Visitors should expect up to 30-minute cumulative delays on the west side of the park throughout the summer and fall.

In the fall, crews will repair a road slump approximately 1.5 miles west of Avalanche Creek. Once Avalanche Campground has closed for the season, Avalanche Campground Road will close for approximately two weeks beginning September 17 for rehabilitation.