April 3, 2017
Lauren Alley, 406-888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MT. – Glacier National Park is preparing for the summer visitor season. Plowing operations will begin along the Going-to-the-Sun Road the first week of April starting at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side of the park, and the second week of April beginning at St. Mary on the east side of the park.
This season, visitors will encounter road rehabilitation work on the west side of the park as part of the last segment of the Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation project.
This segment focuses on improvements from West Glacier to the Avalanche area, including improving turnouts and reconstructing roadway between the West Entrance Station and the Apgar Loop Road near the Apgar Picnic Area. Beginning September 5, traffic along the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be detoured through the Apgar Village area to facilitate that roadway construction. This work is expected to conclude in May of 2018.
Removable railing work west of Logan Pass, in the alpine section of the road will also occur this summer. The railing work will replace segments that were destroyed by avalanches in 2014.
Up to 30 minute cumulative delays should be expected at work zones throughout summer and into fall.
Between October 9 and October 21, there will be a full vehicle closure at the four way intersection at Apgar. This means that October 8 will be the last day to access Logan Pass from the west side for the season. Usually Logan Pass access ends following the third Sunday of October. The closure will facilitate a significant culvert replacement project approximately 4 miles up Lake McDonald. The culvert has washed out several times over the last five years including twice last year and once already this year causing temporary road closures. Vehicles will still be able to access the Apgar Visitor Center and Apgar Village from the West Glacier entrance, and Logan Pass from the St. Mary entrance (likely through the third Sunday in October). Hiker/biker access beyond the culvert worksite will likely not be possible during this period. On October 21, the road will reopen again as far as Avalanche, as is typical for the fall season.
Until May 26, 2017, Avalanche Campground Road will be restricted Monday-Friday to all but administrative traffic while the footbridge across Avalanche Creek is completed. It will again be restricted beginning 12 pm, September 18 to reconstruct and widen the approach into the campground.
Kiosk work at the St. Mary entrance station also continues this spring, and is expected to be completed in late May to early June. Access beyond Hudson Bay Road (mile marker 1.5) from the entrance station will continue to be restricted until April 14. After April 14, visitors who would like to enter the park from St. Mary will be routed through the St. Mary Visitor Center to pay entrance fees and collect park information until the kiosks are completed.
For up to date road status information, including information about hiker/biker opportunities beyond closed gates, please visit https://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.
Hikers and bikers accessing roads this spring beyond closed gates should be alert to avalanche zones, wildlife, plowing equipment, rockfall, ice, and challenges summoning emergency help in these remote areas without cellular service.