Plow crews are making rapid progress clearing the iconic 52-mile route through Glacier National Park, having already passed The Loop – the hairpin turn below Logan Pass and the Continental Divide – less than two weeks after embarking on the annual task.
On April 11, west side plow crews on the Sun Road were working just past The Loop at an area known as The Grizzly, a feature still well below the Logan Pass Visitor Center, but an indicator of the crews’ quick work this spring.
Park crews began hewing through the wall of winter white on April 1, clearing the Camas Road before turning their attention to the park’s serpentine thoroughfare.
Clearing the narrow two-lane road is a challenging task that usually takes 10 weeks depending on weather conditions and snowpack levels. The mountain highway is considered one of the most difficult roads in America to plow. In years past, crews have been hampered by avalanches and significant obstacles, such as the Big Drift, a one-mile section of Sun Road near Logan Pass where typically over 100 feet of snow accumulates in winter.
The current snow water equivalent levels in the Flathead Basin are at 96 percent of average.
The west side crew plowing just below the Grizzly area is encountering snow depths of around 10 feet in avalanche areas. The Avalanche area has been plowed, but there are small ice patches along the road from Avalanche to the Loop.
The Hudson Bay Road Crew is currently working to repair slumps and numerous potholes along the Many Glacier road. The Two Medicine road, campground and other park facilities have been plowed, but the road remains closed to vehicles to allow patches of ice and snow to melt out.
The section of the road between Lake McDonald Lodge and Rising Sun is closed due to plowing. On the west side, hiker/biker access is available to Red Rock Monday through Friday until 4:30 p.m. On weekends, hikers and bikers may travel as far as is safe, according to park officials.
On the east side hiker biker access is allowed at this time. Caution is advised past Jackson Glacier Overlook due to avalanche danger.
For more information on the plowing progress, visit here.