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Contact: Bill Hayden, 406-888-7927
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials announced today that the entire 50 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is anticipated to be available for vehicle traffic on Wednesday, July 13th. Opening the upper section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is always a challenge, but this year was compounded by extremely heavy winter snows and unseasonably cool spring weather. Snow continued to fall at high elevations well into June. A flyover of the Big Drift, on June 4th, revealed a snowpack that looked more like April than June. On July 6th the Superintendent and Chief of Facility Management visited Logan Pass and stood on The Big Drift roughly 30 feet above asphalt. This amount of snow at this time of year is unprecedented.
“Plowing this road is a dangerous job and the safety of our staff is of paramount concern. We are very proud of the hard work the road crew performed this year” said Superintendent Chas Cartwright.
Visitors will discover a snow-covered landscape at Logan Pass. All of the trails in the area are still covered with many feet of snow. Visitors should exercise caution when hiking on snow and be aware of unseen holes and snow bridges that exist. The Highline Trail remains closed at this time and there is no current projection of an opening date.
Access to Logan Pass will also allow contractors to resume work on new restroom facilities. Areas around the construction will be closed to public entry. Portable toilets will be available but there will be no potable drinking water at Logan Pass. Staff will be on duty to assist visitors and to direct people to areas open for recreation.
Road rehabilitation work on lower sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will create some short traffic delays. From 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., travelers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes at each construction site, for a total of no more than a 40 minute delay between Big Bend and Siyeh Bend.
On the west side of the park, a night closure will be in effect Monday evening through Friday morning, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., from The Loop to Logan Pass. There will be a 15-20 minute window for passage through the construction at 2:00 a.m., allowing travel to and from Logan Pass. There are no night closures east of Logan Pass.
With the opening of the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the park’s free shuttle system will expand service to Logan. The shuttle system stops in 16 different areas along the Going-to-the-Sun Road and runs from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Shuttle passengers should catch the bus at either the St. Mary Visitor Center or the Apgar Transit Center as parking is extremely limited at Logan Pass, Avalanche Creek and Sunrift Gorge.
For current information on park roads and weather conditions, and visitor services throughout the park, visit Glacier's website www.nps.gov/glac, dial 511 anywhere in Montana (select option 5) or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.