News & Features

Going-to-the-Sun Road Opens to Avalanche for Motorists

Bikers and hikers may now park and ride or walk from gated vehicle closure at popular campground

WEST GLACIER — Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to vehicles as far as Avalanche Campground on the road’s west side, park officials announced Friday evening.

Hikers and bicyclists will have access from the vehicle closure at Avalanche to the second chute below the Triple Arches area on weekends and after plowing crews wrap up their work on weekday evenings.

Prior to the Sun Road’s full opening, Avalanche Campground, located about 16 miles from Apgar, serves as a parking and staging area for bicyclists and hikers who wish to explore the road before it opens to motorized traffic.

However, safety restrictions remain in place. This means that hikers and bikers are allowed to travel on the road as far as the hiker/biker restriction sign while crews are working Monday through Friday until 4:30 p.m.

The hiker/biker restriction sign is currently located at the Loop, about eight miles from Avalanche. On the weekends and after 4:30 p.m. when the crews have finished for the day, hikers and bikers may travel as far as conditions allow. Caution is advised past the Loop due to avalanches and debris on the road.

On the east side of the park the Sun Road is open to vehicles as far as Rising Sun with no restrictions for hikers and bikers beyond the gate although caution is advised past Jackson Glacier Overlook due to avalanche danger. The Many Glacier, Chief Mountain, and Two Medicine Roads are open to vehicles. Cut Bank Road is open to hikers and bikers.

Visitors should always be alert for snowplows and other heavy equipment on park roads as well as areas of ice, slush, avalanche zones and fallen rock.

Additionally, spring snowstorms can cause hazardous driving conditions and temporary road closures.  Visitors are reminded to use caution when traveling as patches of ice and the danger of avalanches remain. Please be aware of wildlife on park roads and report any bear or mountain lion activity or sighting, regardless of the location, to a park ranger.

PLOWING UPDATE

This week Glacier National Park road crews on the west side of the Sun Road pioneered through the second chute below the Arches and worked down to pavement from Big Bend, to Rip Rap Point. They encountered average snow depths along the road and slides around 20 feet deep.

It takes an average of ten weeks to prepare the entire road for vehicles, which includes plowing, repairing the winter damaged sections of the road, and installing hundreds of guard rails. Crews started working on the road April 1.

Visitors are advised to check the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/ for plowing status, current conditions and hiker-biker access restrictions, which change frequently this time of year. Visitors may also visit the park’s social media pages or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800 for current road and weather conditions.

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