Alpine Section of Going-to-the-Sun Road Closed for the Season

Sustained winter weather prompts season-ending closure in Glacier National Park’s upper reaches, though motorists can still drive to Avalanche Creek

By Tristan Scott
Sunshine beats down on a freshly cleared section of Going-to-the-Sun road near the Logan Pass Visitor center in Glacier National Park on June 5, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Due to sustained winter weather conditions at elevations higher than 5,000 feet, Glacier National Park officials on Wednesday announced the seasonal closure of the Going-to-the-Sun Road’s alpine sections, including the route to Logan Pass.

Although the closure means the iconic mountain thoroughfare’s most dramatic expanse is now off limits to motorists, visitors can still drive 15.5 miles of the road from the West Glacier entrance to Avalanche Creek, while hikers and bikers can explore beyond the closure. All roads on the east side of the park remain closed due to COVID-19 operating requirements, and those prohibitions extend to hikers and bikers.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road typically closes between Avalanche Creek and Jackson Glacier Overlook on or before the third Monday in October, depending on road and weather conditions, officials said.

Park officials initially closed the road on the evening of Oct. 9, citing a forecast of inclement weather. Since then, several inches of snow have accumulated at Logan Pass, prompting them to announce the permanent closure in a Wednesday afternoon press release.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has forecast additional snowfall and wind gusts up to 50 mph for elevations above 5,000 feet. Logan Pass sits at an elevation of 6,646 feet.

“As a result, the Going-to-the-Sun Road closure at Avalanche Creek will continue for the remainder of the season,” according to the press release.

Visitors are reminded that hiker and biker access is permitted on most closed roads in the park however risks include falling ice or rocks, and ice-covered or snowy road conditions. Hiker/biker access does not extend to roads on the east side of the park this year due to COVID-19 closures.

Visit the park’s Current Road Status webpage for real-time updates on road closures and hiker/biker access restrictions.

Most visitor amenities in the park have closed for the season. One section of Apgar Campground (Loop B) is open for primitive camping on a first come, first served basis. The Apgar Backcountry Permit Office and Aquatic Invasive Species Boat Inspection Station close Oct. 31. No boating in the park is permitted after Oct. 31. Free winter backcountry camping permits are available Nov. 1 – April 30 and can be reserved three to seven days in advance by email or phone (406) 888-7800, option 5. The Apgar Visitor Center is closed, but restrooms and potable water remain available at this location year-round.

Learn more about winter operations at Glacier National Park on our Visiting in Winter webpage.

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