Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Open End to End

As recently as June 23 deep snow covered Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road, as this photo taken at Oberlin Bend shows. NPS photo.

It took longer than usual, but the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park has been opened from end-to-end.

As recently as June 23 bulldozers and snowplows were working in tandem to blast through the remaining drifts that prevented traffic from cruising the entire 50-mile-long route that courses west to east from West Glacier, Montana, to St. Mary, Montana. This morning, though, park officials were able to lift the gates to let visitors travel the "Sun Road" from end to end.

“Our road crews have been working extremely hard to open the Sun Road this spring. Plowing in avalanche terrain is no easy task," says Chas Cartwright, the park's new superintendent. "During the snow storm that occurred the second week of June, 25 avalanche paths slid. Twenty of those paths hit the cleared road and completely filled the corridor between Triple Arches and Logan Pass.

“Through the whole process, the safety of our crews and the general public is our number one concern. We have completed the work as quickly as we can in a safe manner and are pleased that we are able to open the entire Sun Road for the enjoyment of summer park visitors.”

While the road is now open for summer traffic, that doesn't mean there won't be slowdowns as construction work resumes on rehabilitating the Sun Road. From 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. visitors might encounter up to a 30-minute delay as they cross the highway. When contractors perform night work, overnight delays might be up to four hours to allow them to work more efficiently during times of reduced vehicular travel.

Beginning tomorrow, July 3, and continuing through Labor Day, Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle system will provide free transportation to locations along the Sun Road between Apgar and St. Mary.

“Last year was a huge success,” says Superintendent Cartwright. “In its first year, 133,000 visitors rode the free shuttles. We anticipate that 2008 will be another successful season.”

Hours of shuttle operation will be from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. Buses will run every 15-30 minutes on each of the routes. The last buses will depart Logan Pass at 7:00 p.m. and travel down to both St. Mary Visitor Center and the Apgar Transit Center; visitors must plan their travels accordingly.

With the Sun Road open, so is the Logan Pass Visitor Center. As a result, rangers will resume interpretive talks six times a day at Logan Pass.

Trails in the Logan Pass area, however, are currently covered by several feet of snow. Visitors are urged to use caution and know their own personal limits when considering travel on snowy terrain. Snowpack in the Logan Pass area is double what is typical for this time of year. This includes the popular Highline Trail, which is under considerable snow. Crews are working to make the Highline and other trails passable to hikers in the coming weeks.

This is one of the latest openings of the entire Sun Road. The latest opening on record is July 10, 1943, when the snow was allowed to melt out. The earliest Logan Pass opening to motorized traffic occurred on May 16, 1987.

Elsewhere in Glacier, park roads are open for vehicle traffic. However, a portion of the unimproved Inside North Fork Road along the park’s northwest edge remains closed to vehicle use for 16 miles between Fish Creek and Logging Creek due to road damage.

For the latest information on park road and weather conditions and visitor services throughout Glacier National Park, visit the park's website, dial 511 anywhere in Montana (select option 5) or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.

Comments

This is an obvious sign of global warming and we should all be scared out of our shamies. And, beware of the global warming in Antarctica. Not only did the continent record it's greatest ice coverage on record last year but are about 60% above that level this year. be afraid, be very afraid of global warming!!!

man is so egotistical to think afer billions of years of the earth taking care of itself the humans can destroy it in a few 100 years. what t joke. solar flares are 90% of the ozone depletion and so called 'global warming'.
[This comment was edited to remove unacceptable language.]

Previous posters need a wake up call and not for Rush Limbaugh. Question, why is there talk about renaming the park because all the glaciers will be completely gone in 20 years???? Oh wait, 1 year we opened late yeah that's right no global warming - too funny...

No word about the renaming effort heard here, but on the other issue, there is a difference between weather and climate. Plus, just because you have one good winter doesn't mean the long-term trend isn't pointing to a warming trend. Frankly, I'd venture that those who are concerned about climate change would be more than happy if the science were wrong.

"Science" has has been wrong more often than not and always evolving. remember the earth used to be flat? there is much to know that humans have far to go in figuring out. nobody really knows about the "real science" they spout off about. there is alot of disagreement about "global warming" and if it really is happening. any fool thats thinks driving an electric car or other foolishness has not noticed mexico, china, india or any other country that has no intention of changing. have you been to these places? they will not change, what changes we make will have no effect on the big picture.

Kurt, that last post is not directed at you or anyone in particular. thanks, max

Plus, just because you have one good winter doesn't mean the long-term trend isn't pointing to a warming trend.

Come, on Kurt. You just pointed out that July was the warmest on record. One warm month is weather, not climate. And then you try to have it both ways by making this statement.

I still haven't seen anyone try to correct my facts and cited references on the red knot article's sea-level-rise propaganda.

Fear, fear, fear. Big Brother needs your fear and will manufacture any crisis to get it.

And by the way, how dare the NPS tell me to reduce my CO2 footprints when these behemoths unnecessarily plow alpine roads? Come on. Total hypocrisy.

It is a joke to believe that humans are not having an affect on the atmosphere and climate. Ever heard of chloroflourcarbons (CFCs)? Of course not. They are stable chemicals that do not degrade, and when they come into contact with the ozone in the stratosphere they react with free radical catalysts to destroy the ozone. These are found in your common spray cans and refrigerator coolants. In fact, the U.S and other countries were so alarmed at the rate the ozone was thinning that these chemicals were banned. This is proof that humans are having an impact on the natural systems of our planet, and to deny global warming is a sign of ignorance. Become educated.