• Mt Reynolds

    Glacier

    National Park Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road FAQs

Picture of Lunch Creek and the Going-to-the-Sun Road
Lunch Creek and the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
David Restivo, NPS
 

As more and more questions about the Going-to-the-Sun Road come up, this list will expand. Continue to check back, you never know if your question will be here.

When will the Going-to-the-Sun Road open?
Portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road remain open all year and provide access to many locations and activities. The earliest the Going-to-the-Sun Road could be accessible for its entire length is June 20, 2014. The actual date of opening will depend on whether Spring plowing is complete. Please visit our plowing status page to see plowing progress. In 2013, Logan Pass was accessible on June 21.

Plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a monumental challenge each year. Unpredictable spring snow storms or other weather related events can slow down plowing progress. It is not uncommon for plowing crews to need to re-plow sections of park roads when weather events happen. Safety for our plowing crews, contractors, and the public is our utmost concern and priority. These unknown factors make predicting the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road impossible. Our plowing status page provides information on where plows are working. As the status of the road changes, we immediately update our road status page.


When is the last time I can drive the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in 2014?
While portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road remain open all year, weather and ongoing road rehabilitation may make parts of the Going-to-the-Sun Road inaccessible. This year road construction will close a section of road on the east side of Logan Pass. The road will close on September 22, 2014, between Logan Pass and near St. Mary Campground.

Here are some dates to remember:

  • September 21, 2014 - The last day to drive the entire 50 miles.
  • September 22, 2014 - A section of the road will close to vehicle traffic to accommodate accelerated road rehabilitation. You will still be able to drive to Logan Pass from the West Entrance. The Going-to-the-Sun Road will be closed bewteen St. Mary Campground and Logan Pass.
  • October 19, 2014 - The last day to drive to Logan Pass from the West Entrance
  • October 20, 2014 - The alpine section of the road will be inaccessible to vehicles.

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 first main 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 9:30am to 4:00pm, though this can vary during peak weekends.


When does the Going-to-the-Sun Road close?
While portions of this scenic route remain open year-round, for the next couple years, weather permitting, the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open for 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 Rising Sun picnic area parking. 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. Visit our Getting Around section for more information.


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.

Due to ongoing road rehabilitation on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, portions of the roadbed may not be paved. Bicyclists should use caution riding on gravel portions of the road.


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 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.

There are also alternative travel options for the faint of heart. Please see our Getting Around section if you prefer someone else drives.


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 there campgrounds located along the Going-to-the Sun Road?
Yes, 5 out of 13 campgrounds in Glacier are located along the road; Apgar, Sprague Creek, Avalanche, Rising Sun, and St. Mary. Please see our Camping section for more information.


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, Avalanche Creek, 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. Please be careful around blind curves as animals and pedestrians do cross the road.


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.


What kind of weather can I expect while driving?
Please see our Weather section for more information about our fickle weather. Drivers should always drive with caution during changing, inclement weather.


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 couple 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).


Did You Know?

The Robert Fire of 2003

Did you know that 2003 was one of the hottest recorded years in Glacier National Park's history? That year, approximately 144,000 acres burned from multiple wildfires.