The Going-to-the-Sun Road cuts through the heart of Glacier National Park, offering people the opportunity experience one of the most beautiful locations in the United States – even crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.
Established in 1932, it is a winding and narrow road, approximately 50 miles long. It is perfect way to enjoy the park in a casual and safe fashion. A drive along the road will let you see glaciers, mountain lakes, waterfalls, wildlife, flora and much more.
The first thing you want to make sure you do when taking the Going-to-the-Sun Road is to check if the road is actually open. Snow will usually block the road at the highest altitudes (around 6,600 feet) until mid-June – although it has been closed as late as mid-July.
Next, try and make your trip on a clear day if possible. The views are stunning, but a cloudy day will certainly diminish the experience. Don’t forget to gas up your vehicle before you leave – and make sure you have the camera ready. Also, note that some vehicles, such as RVs, are banned from much of the road.
A drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road can be as short as two hours, but plan on twice that – at least. You’ll want to stop for photos, go to the visitor center or visit one of the historic hotels along the route.
The eastern side of the road begins at the town of St. Mary, while the western side begins at the town of West Glacier.
On the eastern side of the park you’ll find stunning views of Saint Mary Lake, as well as looks at Jackson Glacier and Wild Goose Island.
The highlight of the Going-to-the-Sun Road for most is Logan Pass. Located along the Continental Divide, it is the highest point of the park. It offers some of the most spectacular views of the park, and is a popular spot for hiking trips and sightseeing.
The Logan Pass Visitor Center offers educational opportunities, facilities and a gift shop.
On the western side of the park, you’ll travel through the Loop, a long, continuous switchback, before traveling along McDonald Lake toward the western edge of the park. Worth a visit is Lake McDonald Lodge, located on the lake of the same name. It is an old Swiss-style Chalet that is a National Historic Landmark.
Along the entire road there are many opportunities to exit your car and go on a short (or long) hike. You’ll also have many opportunities to see the local wildlife, including Bighorn Sheep, bears, deer, moose and more.
One of the many ways to travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road on one of the red buses, called Red jammers. These vehicles are restored 1930s era buses, and travel throughout the park. They are a fabulous way to experience the park. The drivers will stop at the best locations and offer a great resource for learning about the park.
Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the nation. Whether you are just passing through the area, or are vacationing for an extended period, a trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be one of the highlights of your vacation.