THING TO DO

Check out a Mission 66 Visitor Center

Flagpoles outside busy visitor center on hill
Another busy day at Logan Pass Visitor Center

NPS/Jacob W. Frank

In 1956, the National Park Service launched a monumental initiative to improve park infrastructure nationwide. The initiative was dubbed Mission 66, because goals were to be met by the service's 50th anniversary in 1966. One outcome of Mission 66 was the concept of the 'visitor center'.

Along with employee housing and administrative buildings, Glacier boasts two visitor centers from that time. Looking at Logan Pass Visitor Center and St. Mary Visitor Center, you would not be surprised to hear they were designed with the same principles and aesthetics in mind. Their sleek, modern architecture includes low angled rooflines and large amounts of glass.

The architectural structure is not the only draw. These buildings each house an information desk, bookstore, and interactive exhibits. Scheduled ranger programs take place inside and out. There are also hiking opportunities surrounding Logan Pass Visitor Center. The park film is shown at St. Mary Visitor Center on the hour and half hour.

Logan Pass is one of the busiest spots in the park. The parking lot fills almost every day. We suggest arriving early in the morning or late in the evening to find parking. Or take the free park shuttle and let someone else do the driving. Above all, be patient.


Apgar Visitor Center near Lake McDonald is Glacier's newest visitor center. It is open daily during summer and on weekends the rest of the year. Though not a historic Mission 66 building, its architecture is notable for sustainable building practices. There are rangers on hand to answer questions and exhibits to help in trip planning.

Details

Pets are not allowed inside buildings, but can in developed areas (e.g. parking lots, along roads) if properly leashed.

Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

St. Mary Visitor Center is open late May to early October. Logan Pass Visitor Center opens when Going-to-the-Sun Road plowing is complete and closes late September.

Operating hours vary throughout the season. St. Mary Visitor Center is open at least 8am-5pm. Logan Pass Visitor Center is open at least 9:30am-4pm, with hours extended to 7pm in the peak of summer. Logan Pass Visitor Center’s parking lot is notoriously busy. Arrive early or late to find parking space or take the free park shuttle.

Accessibility Information

Both visitor centers are shuttle stops for the ADA-accessible Going-to-the-Sun Road Shuttle.

St. Mary Visitor Center

  • The building is one level, easily accessible from the parking lot. There are handicap parking spaces.

  • There are tactile elements to the exhibits, as well as many sound recordings.

  • The park film is closed captioned.

  • Elevation is around 5,000 ft (1,524 m).

 

Logan Pass Visitor Center

  • The building is two level, with a long ramp to reach the top entrance. There are handicap parking spaces. There is also a short ramp inside to move between the bookstore and exhibit space.

  • There are tactile elements to the exhibits.

  • Elevation is 6,646 ft (2,025 m).

  • Paved paths surrounding the visitor center wind through trees and lead to more park exhibit signage. Hidden Lake Trail is partially a boardwalk with stairs.

Last updated: January 18, 2017