Glacier Park

Upper Stretches of Going-to-the-Sun Road Closed for Inclement Weather

Winter weather prompted park officials to close the scenic alpine stretch of highway to motorized access

By Micah Drew
Hikers line the Hidden Lake Trail boardwalk on Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The alpine section of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is temporarily closed to between Avalanche Creek and Jackson Glacier Overlook due to winter weather conditions, park officials announced Thursday. Currently, visitors can still access the road with motorized vehicles from the West Glacier entrance 15.5 miles to Avalanche, and from St. Mary on the east side 13.5 miles to Jackson Glacier.

Park officials reported more than an inch of snow had accumulated along the upper reaches of the road on Thursday with an overnight expectation of ice. According to a briefing from the National Weather Service in Missoula, additional snow accumulation is forecast for the Logan Pass area for Friday and Saturday, along with continued rain showers next week with nightly low temperatures near freezing.

Hiker and biker access is permitted on the road closure as long as the park’s road crew is not working to prepare Going-to-the-Sun Road for winter. A daily road crew closure will be in place while crews are working.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road typically closes the alpine regions on or before the third Monday in October, depending on road and weather conditions. While in the past, temporary closures have been lifted if weather improved before the hard closure date, outside factors from the federal level may impact park officials’ decisions this year.

The pending shutdown of the federal government, set to begin Oct 1, is also likely to impact visitors to Glacier National Park, as federal agencies will be forced to cease non-essential functions if Congress is unable to to pass 12 appropriations bills by Sunday night.

Glacier National Park is already under limited end-of-season operations. Visitor services at the St. Mary Visitor Center and the Apgar Visitor Center will continue through Oct. 8. Campgrounds at Apgar, Many Glacier, St. Mary and Two Medicine remain open but under primitive status until Oct. 31.

Campgrounds in primitive status have vault toilets available and fees are reduced. No campground reservations are issued at primitive campgrounds and all camping is first-come, first-served. Visit the park’s campground page for additional camping information.

The Apgar Wilderness Permit Center remains open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 31, while the permit location at the Polebridge Ranger Station is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 12.

The roads into the Two Medicine and Many Glacier areas of the park remain open, while vehicle closures are in place for the North Fork area heading into Kintla and Bowman lakes due to ongoing bridge construction.

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