Glacier National Park Reopens Entire Going-to-the-Sun Road

East side of road reopens with limited access nearly three weeks after Reynolds Creek Fire started near St. Mary

By Beacon Staff
Scorched trees along Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Reynolds Creek Fire burns in the St. Mary region of Glacier National Park on July 30, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Nearly three weeks after it was closed by a massive wildfire, all 50 miles of the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road are open.

Glacier National Park officials announced Friday that the east side of the road between Logan Pass and St. Mary would be open daily with limited access from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The decision to reopen the entire route comes as the Reynolds Creek Fire continues to burn near St. Mary. As of Friday morning, the fire was 4,311 acres in size and 67 percent contained.

Visitors will not be able to drive the road at night or stop along the road between the St. Mary Campground and Siyed Bend. The Rising Sun area will have limited concession operations. Smoke may be visible at and may reduce visibility, so visitors are required to drive slowly.  Active fire may be visible from the road, and visitors should watch for falling debris such as rocks and tree limbs, as well as fire-weakened trees. Almost 500 fire-weakened trees have been removed from along the road. If anyone sees or encounters debris or fallen trees on the road, do not attempt to remove it, but please report it to a ranger or closest visitor center.

Bicycle travel is not allowed in the fire areas, but cyclists may transport their bikes via the park shuttle system. The park shuttle service will operate as normal, although there will be no shuttle stops in the fire area. The only shuttle stops on the east side at this time will be Rising Sun and Siyeh Bend.

The Glacier Boat Company will resume boat tour operations at Rising Sun. The Rising Sun Camp Store operated by Glacier National Park Lodges will reopen on Saturday, Aug. 8, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m daily. The Rising Sun Motor Inn and the Two Dog Flats Grill will remain closed at this time.

The Rising Sun Campground is anticipated to be closed most of the season.

Access to trails on the east side of the park along the Going-to-the-Sun Road is limited. All trails within the fire perimeter are closed. The Piegan Pass Trail from Siyeh Bend is open for hiking to the north, but not accessible to the south. The Siyeh Pass Trail is only open to Siyeh Pass, and is closed in the Baring Creek. The Gunsight Pass Trail remains closed from the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Gunsight Pass. Trails accessing St. Mary, Virginia, and Baring Creek Falls are closed.

As of Aug. 7, nearly 300 firefighters are still battling the Reynolds Creek Fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but early evidence suggests it was human caused. Since July 21, the fire has burned 4,311 acres of land in the park and cost $10.1 million.

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