Thursday, May 23, 2024
53.0°F

Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road will open to Avalanche Creek Saturday

| May 10, 2024 3:00 PM

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will open to Avalanche Creek to motor vehicles this weekend, Glacier National Park spokeswoman Gina Icenoggle confirmed.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this Mother’s Day weekend, with highs in the upper 70s in Glacier and 80s in the valley.

Having said that,  bad weather last week didn’t help snowplowing efforts any. Bad weather from Monday through Wednesday had crews either plowing fresh snow, or working through avalanches that had slid down across the road.

“The park anticipates road crew being pushed all the way back to the Alps next week.  All heavy equipment is trapped below Rim Rocks,” Icenoggle shared from the Park’s most recent road report.

On the east side, crews were working near Siyeh Bend, but stopped due to bad weather.

Many secondary roads in Glacier are open, including the Camas Road, Chief Mountain Road and the Many Glacier Road.

The Two Medicine Road remains closed.

The hiker biker road closure on the west side of the Sun Road is currently at the Loop, but could be extended this weekend, depending on avalanche danger.

North Lake McDonald Road is closed to public access including vehicles, hiking, or biking at the intersection with Going-to-the-Sun Road due to the Upper McDonald Creek Bridge replacement project. Parking at the intersection is also closed. Hikers will be unable to complete the Johns Lake Loop Trail and will need to turn around where trail closed signs are posted.   

For more information about construction in the park, visit the construction page on the park website.   

The park’s free spring hiker/biker shuttle will provide weekend service from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting May 11 (Saturday) and ending on June 30, or when Going-to-the-Sun Road opens all the way, whichever comes first. The shuttle will run between Apgar Visitor Center, Lake McDonald Lodge, and Avalanche Creek. The shuttle operates on a first come-first served basis. Daily shuttle operations begin July 1.


Here's some other updates:


Wilderness Permit Offices: 

 The Apgar Wilderness Permit office opened May 1. St. Mary, and Many Glacier offices open May 26, and Polebridge opens May 27. Wilderness Permits will not be available at the Two Medicine Ranger Station in 2024. The St. Mary, Apgar and Polebridge permit offices are always accessible without a vehicle reservation. Many Glacier permit office is inside the vehicle reservation area. Once vehicle reservations go into effect for the season, this office can be accessed without a reservation before 6 a.m. and after 3 p.m.  

 

Campgrounds:  

Most frontcountry campgrounds will operate under a reservation system in 2024. Campground reservations can be made on Recreation.gov. Most campsites are reservable approximately six months in advance and several campsites in each campground can be reserved four days in advance to accommodate visitors with more spontaneous itineraries. 

 

Visitors with camping reservations within a vehicle reservation area do not need a vehicle reservation to enter that area. For example, a camping reservation for Avalanche Campground counts as a Going-to-the-Sun Corridor vehicle reservation on the days of the camping reservation. The camping reservation may not be used to access other reservation areas including North Fork and Many Glacier.  

 

As a courtesy to those who wish to camp in the park, visitors are discouraged from making camping reservation solely for the purpose of gaining access to a reservation area. If you have a camping reservation and your plans change, contact Recreation.gov to cancel your reservation so sites can become available for other campers to reserve and enjoy.

 

Campgrounds in the North Fork area will be assigned first come, first served at the Polebridge Entrance Station.  

 

Frontcountry campgrounds scheduled to open in May include the following:  

  • Apgar Campground: Currently open. Advance camping reservations are required. 
  • Fish Creek Campground: Partially open on May 17 and fully open on May 24. Advance camping reservations are required.   
  • Sprague Creek Campground: Opens May 24. Advance camping reservations are required. 
  • St. Mary Campground: Currently open on a first come, first served basis. Fully open on May 24 and advance camping reservations are required.   
  • Bowman Lake Campground: Opens May 24 on a first come, first serve basis. 
  • Kintla Lake Campground: Opens May 24 on a first come, first serve basis.  
  • Cut Bank Campground: Opens May 31 to primitive camping on a first come, first serve basis.  

Other park campgrounds not listed above are expected to open in June and July. Please check the Campground page on the park’s website for a complete list of dates.  

 

Boat Inspections:  

Private boating will begin on May 12 for Lake McDonald with the opening of the Apgar AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) inspection station. Private boating for Bowman and Kintla lakes will begin on May May 24 and AIS inspections will take place at the Polebridge Ranger Station.   

Many Glacier AIS inspections begin May 26 at the Many Glacier Ranger Station and May 25 at St.Mary. The park anticipates an operational AIS station for Two Medicine in 2024. Opening dates are still to be determined.  

 

Concession Operations:  

All park concessions plan to operate this summer. Some concessioner services will open in May including lodging, tours, food service, and retail shops. Visitors can find links to each concessioner service through the Lodging, Restaurants, and Services webpage.  

 

Visitor Centers:  

The Apgar Visitor Center is currently staffed on weekends, with daily operations beginning May 11. The St. Mary Visitor Center will be open daily starting May 24.  

 

Much of the park is still snow-covered this time of year and travelers should be prepared for changing conditions. Avalanches are still active on trails and along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Higher elevation trails can be dangerous and snow-covered until late June. Bears are emerging from their dens hungry, and visitors should take steps to travel safely in bear country. 

 

Parking at Logan Pass, Apgar Village, and other areas may be congested or temporarily unavailable. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of free shuttles for hiker access to Logan Pass although waits for shuttles may be long depending on the time and location. Visitors are encouraged to check the park website frequently for updates and additional information.