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Glacier National Park continuing preps for summer

Glacier National Park new
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 19:18:38-04

WEST GLACIER — More locations and services in Glacier National Park are gradually opening as summer gets closer.

The new Going-to-the-Sun Road Ticketed Entry reservation system took effect May 28, 2021. Entry reservation tickets are required for entering Going-to-the-Sun Road at the west entrance, St. Mary entrance or via Camas Road. Check the Glacier National Park website for more details.

Road crews continue to remove snow at higher elevations of Going-to-the-Sun Road, installing guard rails, and clearing fallen rock and debris. Weather last month slowed progress and park officials note it's too early to predict a date for the road to fully open over Logan Pass.

On the west side of the park, Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to vehicles with entry reservation tickets for approximately 18 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche Creek. Hikers and bikers may use the road to The Loop, about eight miles past the vehicle closure, when the road crew is working and may go as far as Logan Pass on weekends when the road crew is not working.

Restrooms are not yet available at Logan Pass. Visitors should check current conditions prior to visiting to learn if additional closures are in place due to avalanches or weather.

On the east side of the park, visitors with entry reservation tickets may drive Going-to-the-Sun Road approximately 12 miles from St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook. Hiking and biking are allowed as far as No Stump Point just beyond Siyeh Bend.

Two Medicine Road and the Two Medicine picnic area are open for the season. Cut Bank Road is currently closed at the ranger station. Many Glacier Road is open to public access. Visitors can expect up to 40-minute delays in both directions due to road construction during the day, and up to three-hour delays from 10 pm to 5 am.

The Inside North Fork Road is open between Polebridge Ranger Station and Logging Creek Ranger Station. Road access to Bowman and Kintla Lakes is open for the season. However, park officials note the dirt roads are prone to intermittent closure due to muddy conditions.

The Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and Polebridge areas may experience traffic restrictions due to congestion. Visitors with a service reservation in those valleys will be admitted but should be prepared for delays. Road construction on Camas Road will require 30-minute delays in both directions.

Check the Glacier National Park website for additional information on construction in and around the park.

Tickets for the park’s shuttle service along Going-to-the-Sun Road went on sale on June 1 on Recreation.gov and service will begin on July 1. Tickets must be validated at the visitor center selected at the time of reservation, either Apgar Visitor Center or St. Mary Visitor Center. Face masks are required on shuttles. Check the park website for additional information on shuttle stops.

More campgrounds will be open in 2021 than in 2020. However, St. Mary, Rising Sun, Avalanche and Cut Bank Campgrounds will not open this year due to staffing limitations related to COVID-19. Apgar, Fish Creek, Sprague Creek, Bowman Lake, and Kintla Lake campgrounds are open for the season.

Campgrounds scheduled to open in June and July include:

  • Many Glacier Campground opens June 11 and requires reservations this year due to construction on Many Glacier Road.
  • Two Medicine Campground was scheduled to open May 28 but has been delayed due to snow.
  • Logging Creek and Quartz Creek Campgrounds are scheduled to open July 1.

All wilderness campgrounds (formerly referred to as backcountry campgrounds) except in the Goat Haunt area will be available in 2021 as conditions allow. Visitors can obtain their wilderness permits at Apgar Backcountry Permit Center, Polebridge Ranger Station, Two Medicine and Many Glacier Ranger Stations. The St. Mary Visitor Center will not be issuing permits this year due to staffing shortages.

All park concessions are expected to operate this summer. Services have been modified to incorporate COVID-19 mitigations. Glacier National Park Lodges opened the Lake McDonald Lodge and Village Inn in May. Please check the concessioner websites for updates.

June and July openings include:

  • Many Glacier Hotel opens June 4 with to-go food services only. Swiftcurrent Motor Inn opens June 8. Rising Sun Motor Inn opens June 11.
  • Swan Mountain Trail Rides at Many Glacier will begin operating June 5. Trail rides began at Apgar and Lake McDonald in May.
  • Glacier Park Boat Company boat tours begin at Many Glacier on June 5 and at St. Mary Lake from the Rising Sun boat dock on June 12. Boat tours began at Two Medicine and Lake McDonald in May.
  • Lucke’s Lounge and Jammer Joe’s at Lake McDonald and the Swiss Lounge at Many Glacier will not be open for the 2021 season.
  • Sun Tours interpretive vehicle tours highlighting American Indian Culture began services on June 1.
  • Granite Park Chalet is scheduled to open June 28, and Sperry Chalet on July 11. Both will offer ala-cart food service.

Lake McDonald, Many Glacier, Kintla and Bowman Lakes are open to private boating. Aquatic Invasive Species inspections are required and available at Apgar, Many Glacier and Polebridge. Two Medicine Lake is closed to private boating this year due to staffing shortages, but Glacier Park Boat Company tours are operating.

The Apgar Visitor Center and St. Mary Visitor Center are open and park staff are providing visitor information at outside stations in 2021 to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19.

Face masks are still required in indoor spaces and heavily populated outdoor areas where social distancing isn’t possible for visitors who are not fully vaccinated. Face masks are also required for public transportation including shuttles, buses and tour boats.

Much of the park is still snow-covered this time of year and travelers should be prepared for changing conditions as avalanches can occur on slopes and route-finding skills are necessary at high elevations. Bears are also active throughout the park and visitors should take steps to travel safely in bear country.

Extensive up-to-date park information is available via the Glacier National Park website.