Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road, an engineering marvel in the Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the most amazing highlights of Glacier National Park. This engineering marvel is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park in Montana, USA, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world. The road is one of the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring.

The road has a length of 50 miles and was completed in 1932. It’s heralded as one of the most scenic drives in USA. The road is one of the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring. Up to 80 feet (24 m) of snow can lie on top of Logan Pass, and more just east of the pass where the deepest snowfield has long been referred to as Big Drift. Going-to-the-Sun Road is open from June through early fall. In the winter, the area receives too much snow for the road to be passable. Park personnel spend early spring focusing on snow removal. Summer is the best time to visit Glacier National Park and drive the entire road. Going-to-the-Sun Road is open from mid-June through mid-October (sections of the lower-elevation are open year-round), but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Every attempt is made to clear Going-to-the-Sun Road and open Logan Pass as soon as conditions permit. Spring snowstorms or excess snow accumulation will dictate when Logan Pass can be safely opened for traffic. Whilst it has spectacular views, the road is also incredibly dangerous featuring twisting turns and ridiculously narrow lanes. The road tops out at 2.026m (6,646ft) above the sea level.

The road is winding and in many places bordered on one side by cliffs and on the other side by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the best sights in northwest Montana. The drive passes through almost every type of terrain in the park, from large glacial lakes and cedar forests in the lower valleys to windswept alpine tundra atop the pass. Scenic viewpoints and pullouts line the road, so motorists can stop for extended views and photo opportunities. It passes through almost every type of terrain in the park, from windswept alpine tundra atop the pass to large glacial lakes and cedar forests in the lower valleys. Without stopping, it takes at least 2 hours to drive the full 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The road is certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. The two lane Going-to-the-Sun Road is quite narrow and winding, especially west of Logan Pass. Consequently, vehicle lengths over the highest portions of the roadway are limited to 21 feet (6.4 m) and that means no recreational vehicles or trailers in excess of this length restriction are permitted beyond two larger parking areas, each located at lower points dozens of miles below Logan Pass, on both the west and east sides of the parkway. The road passes through just about every landscape in the park -- glacial lakes and valleys, alpine tundra and cedar forests. You can see actual glaciers from the road, at Jackson Glacier Overlook. Because the road was specially built to traverse the park, it's well-populated with places to pull over and admire the view. Dedicated in 1933, officials named the road after a local mountain. It's also a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Opening dates of Going to the Sun Road

This drive is very exciting. It’s well worth traveling in either direction, as the view from one side of the road is much different than from the other. In 1983 Going-To-The-Sun Road was included in the National Register of Historic Places and in 1985 was made a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. To help reduce congestion, vehicle size restrictions are in effect. Vehicles, and vehicle combinations, longer than 21 feet (including bumpers) or wider than 8 feet (including mirrors), are prohibited between Avalanche Campground and the Rising Sun picnic area parking. Vehicle and vehicle combinations over 10 feet in height may have difficulty driving west from Logan Pass to the Loop, due to rock overhangs. Stock trucks and trailers are able to access Packers Roost on the west, and Siyeh Bend on the east. Portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road remain open all year and provide access to many locations and activities. The opening of the alpine portion varies, based on snowfall and plowing progress. There is no set date for the road to open. Typically the road has been fully open in late June or early July. Closing portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road is also weather dependent. Typically the road is fully open until the third Monday of October, but that can change due to weather conditions at any point.
For more information on car related tips, check out Green4u.

 

 

Pin It
_
NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.