One of the most amazing highlights of Glacier National Park is a drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the best sights in northwest Montana.
Check out the following list of frequently asked questions and answers provided by the U.S. National Park Service to prepare for your visit!
How long is the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Approximately 50 miles from the borders at the east and west entrances, though the National Historic Landmark Nomination lists 48.7 miles from the "T Intersection" (just beyond the west entrance) to Divide Creek in St. Mary.
How long does it take to drive the entire length of the Going-to-the Sun Road?
This depends on how often you stop to visit the points of interests along the way, as well as construction and wildlife delays. Without stopping, it usually takes approximately 2 hours.
How far is it to Logan Pass?
Logan Pass is 32 miles from the west entrance and 18 miles from the east entrance.
When does the parking lot at Logan Pass fill?
The parking lot at Logan Pass usually fills between the hours of 10:00am to 2:00pm, though his can vary during peak weekends.
When does the Going-to-the-Sun Road open and close?
While portions of this scenic route remain open year-round, for the next 8-10 years, weather permitting, the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open for public vehicle access from mid-June to mid-September. Before and after this core summer season, accelerated road work will be allowed and sections of the road will be closed.
How did the Going-to-the-Sun Road get its name?
The road officially received its name, "The Going-to-the-Sun Road", during the 1933 dedication at Logan Pass. The road borrowed its name from nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. Local legend, and a 1933 press release issued by the Department of the Interior, told the story of the deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from the sun to teach Blackfeet braves the rudiments of the hunt. On his way back to the sun, Sour Spirit had his image reproduced on the top of the mountain for inspiration to the Blackfeet. An alternate story suggests a white explorer in the 1880s concocted the name and the legend. No matter which version is accurate, the road named Going-to-the-Sun still inspires all who travel it.
Are there vehicle size restrictions on the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Yes. To help reduce congestion, vehicle size restrictions are in effect. Vehicles, and vehicle combinations, longer than 21 feet(including bumpers) or wider than 8 feet(including mirrors), are prohibited between Avalanche Campground and the Sun Point parking area. Vehicle and vehicle combinations over 10 feet in height may have difficulty driving west from Logan Pass to the Loop, due to rock overhangs. Stock trucks and trailers are able to access Packers Roost on the west, and Siyeh Bend on the east.
How can I see the rest of the Going-to-the-Sun Road if I can't drive my vehicle?
There are alternative options for traveling across the Going-to-the-Sun Road including tour buses and shuttles.
Can I ride my bicycle on the Going-to-the Sun Road?
Yes, but there are some exceptions. From June 15 through Labor Day, the following sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are closed to bicycle use between 11a.m. and 4 p.m.:
--From Apgar turnoff (at the south end of Lake McDonald) to Sprague Creek Campground
--Eastbound from Logan Creek to Logan Pass.
What construction delays will I experience?
Delays will be limited to 30 minutes total for a one-way trip across the road. In late September and early October delays up to two hours are possible. Future traffic management patterns may be different.
How scary and creepy is it to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
The Going-to-the Sun Road takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. Because portions of the road hug the mountainside, there are a few tight curves, but thousands of vehicles have safely made the journey from one side of the park to the other. Heading east toward Logan Pass and St. Mary from the West Entrance, passengers on the passenger side of the vehicle will be able to look over the edge of the road in a few spots. Follow the speed limit, drive carefully, and enjoy the majesty this road has to offer.
Can I see a glacier from the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Yes. Jackson Glacier Overlook affords the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road. Jackson Glacier Overlook is located on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Logan Pass and St. Mary.
How much does it cost to drive the Going-to-the Sun Road?
Your Entrance Fee into the park allows you to experience the Going-to-the Sun Road and many other spectacular resources.
Are services like gas, lodging, food, and picnic areas available on the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Gas is not available anywhere in the park or on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Food and lodging can be found along the road at Rising Sun, Lake McDonald Lodge, and Apgar Village. Picnic areas may be found at Rising Sun, Sun point, Avalanche, Sprague Creek, and Apgar.
What is the speed limit on the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
For safety reasons, 40 miles per hour is the speed limit in the lower elevations of the road, and 25 miles per hour in the alpine section.
What is the maximum elevation on the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Logan Pass is the highest point on the Going-to-the Sun Road at 6,646 feet.
Where can I see wildlife along the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Glacier National Park is wild country, and wildlife may be present anywhere along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, however, Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep are typically seen near Logan Pass.
Why is the Going-to-the-Sun Road being rebuilt?
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is now 75 years old and is in need of comprehensive rehabilitation to ensure that this National Historic Landmark is preserved for generations to come. This work will continue for the next 8-10 years, depending on funding.
How was this decision made?
As a result of public involvement, a compromise was established to ensure public access during the core summer season (mid-June to mid-September).
What section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open rebuilt in 2008 and when will the entire road be open?
In summer 2008, road work will continue west of Logan Pass between the West Tunnel and Haystack Creek. Weather permitting, the entire road will be open for public vehicle traffic from Friday, June 13 to Monday, September 15, 2008.
When will the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road be open in 2009?
In summer 2009, road work is scheduled to occur west of Logan Pass between Haystack Creek and Big Bend. Weather permitting, the entire road will be open for public vehicle traffic from Friday, June 19 to Monday, September 21, 2009.
When will the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road be open in 2010?
In summer 2010, road work is scheduled to occur west of Logan Pass between Big Bend and Logan Pass. Weather permitting, the entire road will be open for public vehicle traffic from Friday, June 18 to Monday, September 20, 2009.