Glacier Institute shuttles parked at the Glacier Institute offices in downtown Columbia Falls on July 8, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon
Glacier Park

Glacier Institute Offers New Educational Program, Shuttles

The Going-to-the-Sun Road Day Program acts as a ticket into the park and offers educational hikes with transportation

By Maggie Dresser

To address transportation and ticketing issues while simultaneously offering guided hikes, the Glacier Institute is taking enrollment for its Going-to-the-Sun Road Day Program.

New in July, the program offers educational hikes and can shuttle 70 passengers per day using five 14-passenger buses leaving from Columbia Falls. The course acts as a Going-to-the-Sun Road ticket, and participants only need a regular park pass. 

“They get the complete Going-to-the-Sun tour,” Glacier Institute Director Anthony Nelson said. “We fully recognize a lot of people are just coming for the ride, but we get to accomplish our mission of getting people to fall in love with the park.”

Participants in the Going-to-the-Sun Day Program will get a naturalist-led hike and interpretations at the park’s popular destinations.

There are four daily tours, each including different hiking abilities, including Hidden Lake Overlook, Highline Trail, Avalanche Lake and the complete Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Glacier Institute shuttles parked at the Glacier Institute offices in downtown Columbia Falls on July 8, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Glacier Institute purchased five additional vehicles and hired seven additional staff to facilitate the program.

“It’s a huge opportunity for the community,” Nelson said. “There are so many people getting turned around and we’re trying to be part of the solution.”

Tours run through Sept. 30, cost $100 per person and meet at 320 Nucleus Ave. in Columbia Falls at 8 a.m. and return at 5 p.m.

Participants can park for the day near the main Glacier Institute office. The Mountain Climber, the local transit system, will also offer round-trip shuttles to and from the office for $5 per person or $10 per family.

Registration is now open online at www.glacierinstitute.org. Glacier Institute members receive a 10% discount. For additional information, call the Glacier Institute at (406) 775-1211. 

The Glacier Institute is a nonprofit education partner of Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest that provides educational opportunities through in-depth, field-based experiences. The nonprofit provides multiple educational courses and camps for area youth, adults and families.

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