Frequently Asked Questions on the Temporary Ticketed Entry for Visitors to Glacier National Park Traveling on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR)

Obtaining an Entry Reservation Ticket

1. How far in advance can I purchase a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket and or 7-day Entrance Pass?
The GTSR Entry Tickets will go on sale through Recreation.gov at 6am Mountain Time on Thursday, April 29th or on a rolling 60-day window. You can purchase the 7-day Entrance Pass now.

2. How do I create an account in Recreation.gov?
It’s easy! Go to Recreation.gov and click on “Sign Up” in the top right corner. From there, follow the prompts to create an account. You must have an account to obtain an entry ticket and we recommend creating your account well in advance of applying for your GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket.

3. How do I get an Entry Ticket for the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
Once you set up an account you will select the day of your visit, add it to your cart and make the payment. Visit the Recreation.gov Help Center article for more details on purchasing a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket. Your ticket will be valid for entrance on the GTSR through either the West Entrance, St. Mary Entrance, or via the Camas Road. You will receive an e-mail confirmation with an attached Entry Ticket. Print out a copy of your ticket or download on your mobile device or on the Recreation.gov mobile app prior to arriving at the park.

4. Can I get a refund?
The $2 Entry Ticket Fee is nonrefundable.

5. Can I resell, auction, or transfer my GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket?
No. All GTSR Entry Tickets are non-transferable and considered void if the ticket holder is not in the vehicle upon entering. Photo ID will be required.

 

If you already have a reservation for a service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road

6. How does the GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket system apply to those with campground and lodging reservations or backcountry permits?
Visitors with campground and lodging reservations and VRBO type reservations or backcountry permits within the GTSR corridor will use those reservations to enter the GTSR through West Entrance or St. Mary, in addition to your entrance fee. You will not need to purchase a GTSR Entry Ticket. Be prepared to show a paper or digital copy of your reservation. Entrance fees can be paid for at the entrance gate. Be prepared to provide a printed out or digital copy of your reservation/permit when you arrive at the park; connectivity at the park entrance may be limited.

7. How does the GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket apply to those who have a reservation for a boat ride, guided hike, horseback ride, or tour bus ride?
Visitors with these types of reservations in the GTSR corridor will not be required to get a GTSR Entry Ticket, but only for the scheduled day of their reservation. Be prepared to provide a printed or digital copy of your reservation when you arrive at the park; connectivity at the park entrance may be limited. Visitors wishing to return the following or subsequent days will require a GTSR Entry Ticket or another activity reservation.

8. Can I access trails using the GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket?
Your GTSR Entry Ticket allows you access to all open areas in the GTSR Corridor, including trails. The park anticipates that more popular areas of the GTSR will periodically fill throughout the day. However, GTSR Entry Tickets do not guarantee a parking space. Visitors should still be prepared for parking lots to be full at popular locations such as Logan Pass, Avalanche and the St. Mary Falls trail, however the timing of their filling may shift a ½-to 1 hour later from their average fill times. However other parking areas may not fill as quickly.

9. Are shuttle buses running this summer?
We hope to have a decision on this soon as we continue to look at how COVID mitigations will impact the level and type of service we can provide. Shuttles may require reservations and information will be available soon.

 

Overview of the Ticketed Entry System

10. Why is Glacier National Park implementing a temporary entry reservation ticket system for the GTSR in addition to the already existing entrance fees including 7-day passes and other valid passes?
Park staff are implementing an entry reservation ticket system, beginning Memorial Day weekend 2021, to manage the anticipated high visitation for 2021, mitigate for impacts from COVID and reduced staffing, eliminate temporary closures of the West Entrance and mitigate impacts on visitors and access to the park from the construction on State Highway 2 by MDOT and other construction projects around the park.  Glacier National Park is the tenth most visited national park in the country with over 3 million visitors in 2019. Although visitation was down by about 40% and only the west side was open, there were still 25 days when the West Entrance was temporarily closed, sometimes as long as a few hours, during the 2020 season. Visitors experience a high level of congestion on the GTSR from June through September. In 2019, visitation from June through September was approximately 2.6 million visitors. In July of 2019, almost 900,000 people visited the park. Without entry reservation ticket system for the GTSR corridor, in a worst case scenario, visitors may endure 40 minute construction delays on Highway 2 traveling to the park, arrive at the west entrance to find that entry is temporarily closed, and then have to endure another 40 minutes of construction delays to return to the Flathead Valley or head to the east side of the park on Highway 2.

11. Can I Anticipate Less Crowded Conditions on the GTSR?
No, it is unlikely. This system will focus on preventing temporary closures at the park’s West Entrance to reduce congestion and traffic backups into the construction zone established for the State of Montana’s Highway 2 project. This may result in lower levels of congestion in the park, but the ticketed entry system will not provide significant relief to the higher demand and frequently congested areas such as Avalanche, Logan Pass, and the St. Mary Falls areas.


12. Will I still need to get a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket before the entire GTSR opens over Logan Pass
Yes, however there will be fewer tickets available before the road opens all the way. When the tickets go on sale on April 29th, tickets will be available for 60 days out on a rolling window. When the road is fully open, the remaining tickets will be available.

13. How flexible is the GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket system? Is there any possibility of getting a ticket at the last minute?
The system does allow for last-minute GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket purchases. Roughly 1/4 of the total available tickets will go on sale each day 2 days in advance of arriving and will be available up to the same day of arrival, provided they have not been sold out. Therefore, if a visitor arrives at the West Entrance or St. Mary Entrance without a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket, they will be turned around but can go online at recreation.gov to see if a ticket is available for that day.

14. What facilities are available in the park?
At this time, we anticipate all concessions operations to be open this year. Further information can be found on the park’s concessioner and guided tours web page. Park visitor centers will be offering some services this year but are unlikely to be fully open and operational. Park staff will provide information and orientation at designated outdoor locations.

15. Do I always need to have a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket to get into GTSR corridor?
No. You may enter the GTSR corridor without a ticket between 5 pm and 6 am daily.

16. Do I need a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket to get into other locations in the park such as the North Fork, Two Medicine and Many Glacier?
No, you only need a GTSR Entry Ticket to access the GTSR corridor.

17. Am I required to enter the park on the First Day my GTSR ticket is valid?
Arrival on the first day of the Reservation is preferred, but not mandatory and entry will be honored as long as the ticket is still valid (i.e. within the 7 day period).

 

A few more specifics

18. How many GTSR Entry Reservation Tickets do I need if I am purchasing a 7-day Entrance Pass?
You will only need to obtain one GTSR Entry Ticket per vehicle/motorcycle on a 7-day Entrance Pass if you plan to drive or visit locations in the GTSR corridor.

19. How long is my GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket valid?
Your GTSR Entry Ticket is valid for your entire 7-day Entrance Pass from the reserved arrival date.

20. Do annual/senior pass holders have to get a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket?
Yes, a ticket is needed to enter the GTSR corridor even if you have an existing pass.

21. How much does it cost to get a 7-day pass for the park and the GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket?
A private vehicle 7-day Entrance Pass for the entire park is $35, and a motorcycle is $30. The nonrefundable $2 GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket is required in addition to the entrance fee for visiting the GTSR corridor. If you hold a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass, you will only have to pay the $2 nonrefundable fee on Recreation.gov for the GTSR Entry Ticket to access the GTSR corridor through the West or St. Mary Entrances, or via the Camas Road.

 

Questions received from the public

22. How many vehicles per day will be allowed on the GTSR under this temporary GTSR ticketed entry system?
The goal of the temporary GTSR entry reservation ticket system is to maximize access while avoiding congestion that results in temporary closures of park entrance gates on the GTSR. Numbers will vary depending on how much of the road is open to visitors. At this time the maximum daily capacity is estimated to be 4600 vehicles per day once the road is open all the way over Logan Pass.

23. I don’t have a computer and/or smart phone. Can I pick this GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket up and/or purchase this in person?
All GTSR Entry Tickets must be purchased in advance through Recreation.gov, either online or through the recreation.gov mobile app. There are no same day sales at the park or through park offices. Many public libraries have free computer access available.

24. How does this apply to Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) or Special Use Permits (SUP)?
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) and Special Use Permits (SUP), do not need a GTSR Entry Ticket for their trips into the park. Be prepared for each vehicle to provide a printed or digital copy of your permit when you arrive at the park.

25. How does the GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket apply to road-based commercial tour operators?
Road-based commercial tours that are infrequent and unscheduled are permitted to enter the park without a CUA. Road-based tour operators will not be required to obtain GTSR Entry Tickets for their vehicles. Road-based tours are required to pay commercial entrance fees and are restricted to certain portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road--from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the St. Mary Entrance to the Rising Sun boat dock. Road-based commercial tours are defined as one or more persons traveling by vehicle on an improved roadway on an itinerary that a company or individual has packaged and priced for leisure/recreational purposes.

26. Do bicycles have to get a GTSR Entry Reservation Ticket?At this time, if you are entering the park via bicycle you will not need a GTSR Entry Ticket, however you will need to pay the appropriate park entrance fees at the entrance stations.

27. Will GTSR Entry Reservation Tickets still be needed on the two scheduled Fee Free Days in August
Although park entrance fees will be waived on August 4 (Great American Outdoors Act Anniversary) and August 25 (National Park Service Birthday), GTSR Entry Tickets will still be required to access the GTSR corridor.

28. If I have a reservation at Fish Creek, for my family, but they are arriving in different vehicles and at different times, how can they enter at the West Entrance without a GTSR ticket?
We encourage everyone to have a copy of the reservation in their vehicles. This can even be a photograph of the reservation on their device. However, if they don’t, entry will be subject to a determination made by the staff at the entrance gate.

29. Will there be a check point just past the Apgar Loop road that leads to the picnic area, or will only those with reservations be able to go to Apgar Village etc?
Access to Apgar Village will require an entry reservation ticket or a service reservation for lodging or other services.

30. Do we know the exact number of tickets that will be available before the road opens all the way and after it opens?
We have numbers we are going to start with but they will be adjusted once we see what happens on the ground. Our intent is to accommodate as many vehicles as possible without causing gridlock on the road and ultimately closure of the West or St. Mary Entrances, or closures along any section of the GTSR.

31. If have a reservation for a Glacier Institute course do I need a GTSR Entrance Ticket?
No, you do not need a GTSR ticket as long as you show your course reservation.

32. If I am trying to get a campsite at a first come first served location, do I need a GTSR ticket?
Yes, you will need to get a entry reservation ticket.

33. If someone who has purchased a GTSR ticket know that they aren’t going to be able to use it, can they can turn it back in?
Yes if a ticket holder cancels their reservation prior to the first day of their reservation, the ticket will be returned to inventory. However, the $2.00 entry reservation ticket fee is non-refundable.

34. Will tickets be checked at other locations along GTSR, such as Logan Pass or just at the West and St. Mary Entrances?
Tickets will be checked at the West and St. Mary Entrance Stations. They may be checked at other locations.

Last updated: April 12, 2021

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PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

Phone:

(406) 888-7800

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