About Going-to-the-Sun Road
CURRENT ROAD STATUS: Currently 12.5 miles of Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel. Visitors can drive 11.5 miles from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge, and 1 mile from the St. Mary Entrance to Foot of St. Mary Lake. Visit the National Park Service website for up-to-date info.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, a winding 50-mile highway that follows the Continental Divide through Glacier National Park, gives its visitors spectacular views of rolling green meadows, weaving rivers, and evergreen trees, with a new view of the Rocky Mountains’ snowy peaks around every bend in the road. Be awed by the smallest wildflowers, the highest peak, and all the views and wildlife in between, when you walk, bike, drive, or even cross-country ski along this one-of-a-kind road.
Going-to-the-Sun Road tailors its access to accommodate the unique qualities of each season. Summer is the only season that cars are allowed on the road, and shuttle buses operate from July until late September (although these dates are weather-dependent and different each year). These free shuttles stop frequently and are ideal for traveling with kids, just resting your legs between two hiking points, or relaxing for the return trip to your starting point. During spring and fall, the road is closed to vehicles but remains open to pedestrians, who can walk, bike, or jog along the road. Some bike trails close in the summer, so if you want to experience the road on bike or foot, definitely try to plan your visit for Spring or Fall. They are perfect “hidden” times to enjoy the beauty and nature of Glacier National Park. Not only is it undergoing a breathtaking seasonal transformation, it is a completely different experience than seeing the road in a vehicle. Portions of the road even remain open in the winter time to snowshoers and cross-country skiers.
Start and finish your Glacier National Park excursion at the newly-remodeled Pine Lodge in Whitefish, MT, only eight miles from Glacier National Park. In close proximity to both Glacier National Park and downtown Whitefish, the cozy Pine Lodge on Whitefish River is the perfect home base for your Glacier Park adventure.
Going-to-the-Sun Road Highlights
- At 6,646 feet, Logan Pass is the highest point on Going-to-the-Sun Road. In terms of practicality, Logan Pass Visitor Center has a spacious parking lot and tons of information about the road and Glacier National Park. With smaller footpaths and stupendous overlooks of the mountains, it is a great place to take a rest on a hike, bike ride, or drive, and take in the view of the Park from the road’s highest altitude.
- Lake McDonald’s pristine surface and clear waters reflects visions of the surrounding mountains into its depths. Created by glaciers thousands of years ago, this lake is the largest in the Park and home to multiple day hikes that are easily accessible in the summer through the Park’s free shuttle service. Visitors can also go horseback riding or boating at this marvelous natural site.
Jackson Glacier Overlook
- Pull over at Jackson Glacier Overlook, located between Logan Pass and St. Mary, for your best chance to spot a glacier from the road. See the mountains rising in the distance over the nearby forest and take a moment to snap a photo or two. You can also stop anywhere along the road (that is safe, visible, and has a wide enough shoulder) to take in the sights of the mountains, the wildlife, and maybe a bighorn sheep or two!
- Apgar Village, a small settlement along the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road, is the starting point for bus tours along the road. It houses a bike path, general store and gift shop, and a Visitor Center with plenty of information about the sights to see along and around Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Shuttles and Bus Tours
- If you do not want to drive your own car along Going-to-the-Sun Road or if it does not meet the size requirements, there are still plenty of options to see the sights from a vehicle. The National Park Service shuttles operate for free along this road, and tour companies such as Red Bus Tours operate in the summer.
- If you visit in Spring or Fall to bike Going-to-the-Sun Road, bike rentals are provided free to guests of The Pine Lodge.
- If you visit Going-to-the-Sun Road in the winter, make sure to stay up to date on the weather forecast, and which sections of the road are closed. By mid-winter, the road will typically remain open to hiking and snowshoeing for 11 miles on the west side and 1.5 miles on the east side. Even though all 50 miles will not be available, the views of snowy peaks, glaciers, and frosted pine trees along the opened sections of the road are worth of a day trip.
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