In the spring, most wildlife, including bears, are still very active, so be alert and carry bear spray.
Once Going-to-the-Sun Road is plowed, and as conditions permit, the road is often open to hikers and bicyclists only.
Primitive camping is available year round at Apgar and St. Mary Campgrounds. For more information on our auto campgrounds, please visit our camping page.
A permit is required for backcountry camping year round. Permits may be obtained, in-person, up to 24 hours in advance at the Apgar Backcountry Permit office.
Plowing away winter snows from Glacier's roads can take two and a half to three months.
By late May, most roads will be open for vehicle travel with the exception of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road are open year round, however the entire road will not usually open until late June. Please visit our Plowing and Road Status pages for the most up to date information.
What Roads are Open this Fall?
Weather permitting, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will remain open through Sunday, October 17, and close on Monday, October 18. The closure gate on the west side will then move to either Avalanche Creek or Lake McDonald Lodge, as dictated by weather. The closure gate on the east side will be determined by weather. The Many Glacier Road will close for the season on September 20. No access will be permitted beyond that date.
Fall can still be a wonderful time to visit, however, visitors at this time of year have to be more self-sufficient when they are in the park. Generally, the park is a lot quieter, wildlife is more active, and the trees are turning colors. The trees begin changing color mid-September. The last color change is when the larch trees (a deciduous conifer that loses its needles), mainly on the west side of the park, turns a gold color in mid October. Sometimes the best road for viewing the larch display is on Hwy 2 around the southern boundary of the park.
Visitor Centers and Restrooms
The Visitor Centers close in late September and early October. Restrooms at the Apgar Visitor Center will be open throughout the winter.
Trails are less crowded in the Fall. Read the wildlife safety information on the park website. When on the trail be alert for signs of wildlife and carry bear spray.Trail maps are available in the hiking section of the park website.Once the gate on the Going-to-the-Sun Road moves to Avalanche Creek or Lake McDonald Lodge, the road beyond the gate is available for hikers and bicyclists.
Fall is a great time to watch for wildlife. Winter preparations are being made at this time by all animals, especially by bears, as the long winter requires them to fatten up as much as possible. You may notice wildlife along roadsides as they graze and eat. Please do not approach or feed wildlife, and observe them with binoculars, spotting scopes, or long telephotos lenses.
Apgar Campground is available for primitive camping. The campground has a vault toilet. There is no running water. Availability is first-come, first-served.
A permit is required for backcountry camping. Permits may be obtained, in-person, up to 24 hours in advance at the Apgar Backcountry Permit office.
Food and Lodging
The campstore in Apgar Village may be open and provides snacks and drinks. There are full-service grocery stores outside the park in Hungry Horse and Columbia Falls. The grocery store in St. Mary may remain open in the fall.
Lodging is not available in the park this time of year. The State of Montana maintains a tourism website that may be helpful in finding accommodations outside the park. Check out the visitmt.com website for more information.
A water bottle filling station is located at the Apgar Visitor Center located approximately two miles north of the West Entrance.
Information needed to plan a visit to the park at any time of the year is available on the park website. Near park entrances visitors can take advantage of updated information on the Travelers’ Information Station at 1610 AM. Information is also available at 406-888-7800.