A few years ago, before the Glacier National Park reservation system went into effect, I took friends to bike Going-to-the-Sun Road. We arrived at the west entrance at 8 a.m., only to be turned away because there was no available parking at Avalanche. We tried again the next day and, by arriving at 7 a.m., we were able to park in what seemed the last available space in the Avalanche campground. It was so stressful getting there and very crowded once we arrived.
Since the reservation system has been in place it’s been easier to plan a park visit, and much less anxiety producing knowing you will actually get in. Last summer, with two cars, nieces and nephews and grandkids in tow, we were able to experience the park the way it used to be — able to park at any of the overlooks and hike the trails without jostling through a crowd. This month, with Glacier reservations, I’ve biked the Sun Road several times and haven’t had to leave the house at 5:30 a.m. to be assured of a parking space. I’ve also enjoyed the park in the late afternoon, no reservations required, and no huge crowds to contend with. We are so fortunate to live at the Crown of the Continent and be able to enjoy this incredible resource. Yes, it takes a little extra planning to secure a reservation, but being able to experience the park with fewer people and less stress is so worth it.
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