While the Going-to-the-Sun Road that crosses the interior of Glacier National Park is open from end-to-end, ongoing construction work can make travel tricky at times. With that in mind, here, courtesy of the park staff, are the "top 10 things you need to know" about traveling the Sun Road this summer.
1. Glacier National Park is open year-round. Most visitor services and facilities are open May through September; however, autumn/winter/spring non-motorized recreation opportunities and primitive camping are available year round. Visitor services and amenities are available year round in gateway communities.
2. The Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road), the only American roadway designated both as a National Historic Landmark and a National Civil Engineering Landmark, is undergoing a multi-year rehabilitation project. Accelerated night work and shoulder season work (after mid-September and before mid-June) cause short-term impacts to the smallest numbers of park visitors.
3. Funding for the the Sun Road project often changes. Most recently the project received $27.6 million in federal stimulus money for two phases of alpine work happening simultaneously in 2010; one from Big Bend to Logan pass, the other from Logan Pass to Siyeh Bend. Early spring and late fall road work will also occur between Avalanche Creek and the West Tunnel when vehicle travel is restricted. If additional funding becomes available, additional work may be accelerated.
4. Short traffic delays will occur between Big Bend and Logan Pass and Logan Pass to Siyeh Bend. Expect one-lane directional travel and no more than 40-minute delays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Monday night through Friday, on the west side of Logan Pass, motor vehicle travel will be restricted between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. between Big Bend and Logan Pass. The Sun Road east side will have the same restrictions, but will include a 15 -20 minute access window at 2 a.m. allowing vehicles to travel to, but not beyond, Logan Pass.
• For updates tune your radio to 1610 AM or call 5-1-1 anywhere in Montana and select option ‘5.’
5. Schedules for the multi-year rehabilitation call for opening lower elevations in the spring as weather and road work permits and opening the alpine section over Logan Pass from mid-June to mid-September. In 2010, the very earliest the entire Sun Road may open is Friday, June 18. Once open, the entire Sun Road will be open through Sunday, September 19, weather permitting. From the west, the spring vehicle closure will remain at Avalanche until the entire road opens to through traffic. Hikers and bicyclists will be allowed but may be restricted in construction zones. Parking at Avalanche will be limited.
6. Regardless of reconstruction on the Sun Road, vehicle access to Logan Pass ends every year no later than the Monday following the third full weekend of October (October 18, 2010), weather permitting. If snow storms and/or hazardous driving conditions cause temporary closures prior to the projected October vehicle closure date, every effort will be made to reopen to Logan Pass as conditions permit.
7. More information about the Sun Road rehabilitation project, general park roads information, and other visitor services is available at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/goingtothesunroad.htm or http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/gtsr/. To receive email updates about the Sun Road project, please send an email message to [email protected].
8. For 2010, the Sun Road transit system operates July 1 through September 6 (Labor Day) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The system is FREE to all park visitors. An east side hiker shuttle is also available for a fee.
9. Guided park tours are available from park concessioners via boat, bus, foot and horse. For details, visit www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/outdooractivities.htm.
10. The Apgar Transit Center and newly-remodeled St. Mary Visitor Center offer transit and trip-planning information, park displays and exhibits, including a film about the Sun Road at SMVC.