Valley Floors in Glacier National Park Awash with Autumn Colors
October 24, 2008
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt
, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Winterization is now completed along the 16-mile alpine portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass, officials at Glacier National Park announced today. Hikers and bicyclists may now venture the entire 16 miles between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass as well as between Jackson Glacier Overlook and Siyeh Bend amid vibrant fall colors from ground level through the treetop canopy. Western larch, a needle-bearing deciduous tree found in abundance in and around the park west of the Continental Divide turns golden yellow in mid- to late October and are currently at their peak fall color.
Despite the alpine section’s vehicle closure from Avalanche Creek to Jackson Glacier Overlook, weather permitting, 30 miles of the Sun Road remains open for vehicular traffic. This includes 16 miles from the West Glacier entrance to Avalanche Creek on the west side and 14 miles from St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. All other park roads remain open for motorized vehicle travel except for the road into Cut Bank Valley, the Chief Mountain Road and a small portion of the Inside North Fork Road. Motorists are urged to be alert for patches of ice on roads, especially in shaded areas.
Although the east side of Logan Pass, between the pass and Jackson Glacier Overlook, closed for the season on September 22 to allow road work near the East Tunnel, east side hikers and bicyclists may also continue to travel as far as Siyeh Bend.
Throughout the fall, Sun Road work continues as weather permits; therefore, hikers and bicyclists may also experience short delays at work sites. Work zones will be posted as necessary. Hikers and bicyclists should also be alert for gravel and rocks on the roadway.
Lodging facilities within the park are now closed for the season; however, lodging and other visitor services are available in surrounding area gateway communities adjacent to the park. Primitive camping (must bring own water and vault toilets only) is currently available at the following park campgrounds: Kintla, Bowman, Apgar Picnic Area, Many Glacier, St. Mary and Two Medicine. Many Glacier and Two Medicine Campgrounds close for the season on October 31. Bowman and Kintla Campgrounds will remain open for primitive camping as long as road and weather conditions permit this fall.
Throughout the fall and winter seasons, the entrance station at West Glacier is staffed on weekends. Visitors are reminded that valid park entry is required year round. Glacier National Park entrance fees are $25/single vehicle and $12/single entrant for a seven-day pass. Annual park passes, valid for unlimited visits to Glacier National Park for one year, are available for purchase for $35 from park headquarters. Park visitors are also reminded that when entrance stations are not staffed, entrance fees are still required. Upon entering the park, visitors should follow posted instructions to pay the entrance fee at the self-pay stations at each entrance.
Beginning October 27, the Apgar Visitor Center will be open weekends only from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. During weekdays, visitors can stop at park headquarters in West Glacier for information and assistance. Headquarters is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Visitors may also phone 406-888-7800 for general park information, including the specific location of hiker/biker closures.
Current road conditions, updated as conditions change, are available on the park’s Web site at http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm. Road conditions are also available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If your phone does not support 511, call 1-800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select “Glacier Park Tourist Information” from the main menu to hear Glacier’s road report.
For additional park information, please visit Glacier National Park’s Web site (www.nps.gov/glac) or call 406-888-7800.