Glacier Park’s Sun Road opens for season

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Red bus driver Karl Aull was the first bus (103) to Logan Pass this summer. Conditions were raw at the pass, with rain, fog and wind. The entire week is expected to be on the wet side, the National Weather Service is saying. (Chris Peterson photo)

Wind, rain, dense fog in spots, and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

That’s what it was like as the full length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened Sunday morning about 6 a.m.

Despite the wretched weather in the high country, the parking lot was filling rapidly about 10:30 a.m. as word got out that Logan Pass was opening for the summer season.

There was hope the pass would open on Saturday, but icy road conditions kept it closed. Sunday was a little warmer, but still plenty wet as showers and low clouds cruised over the pass.

The east side was markedly better, with blue skies peeking through the clouds.

Because of road construction and pavement preservation work, the park has kept the road closed to motor vehicles, saying the earliest it would open would be June 22.

Motorists will see evidence of that work — on the east side there is a section of highway that currently has no center stripe above Jackson Glacier Overlook.

More pavement work will continue through the summer — some east side pullouts should see work in the next week and another west side Sun Road closure is expected in September.

Keeping the full length of the Sun Road open has proven challenging in the past few summers. In 2015, the Reynolds Fire shut it down for weeks on the east side, then in 2017 and 2018, wildfires shut it down on the west side for weeks as well.

The Logan Pass Visitor Center, sporting a fresh coat of paint, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sept. 2, and with reduced hours after Sept. 2 until Oct. 1. The visitor center offers information about the park, ranger-led programs, and a Glacier National Park Conservancy bookstore.

Motorists are reminded that vehicles and vehicle combinations longer than 21 feet, and wider than 9 feet, are prohibited on the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche Campground and Rising Sun. Vehicles over 10 feet in height may have difficulty driving west from Logan Pass due to rock overhangs.

The spring hiker-biker shuttle service has ended operations for the season. Bicyclists are reminded that bicycle safety restrictions on the Going-to-the-Sun-Road are in effect, and remain in effect through Labor Day, September 2. Bicycles are prohibited between the Apgar turnoff near the Apgar Picnic Area and Sprague Creek Campground from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bicycles are prohibited eastbound (uphill) between Logan Creek and Logan Pass from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The park’s fare-free summer shuttle system will begin operating on July 1, and will run from approximately 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., seven days a week into September.

While driving along the road, particularly through the Rim Rock area (approximately one mile west of Logan Pass), visitors should be aware of possible rockfall. Rocks and other debris continue to fall throughout the summer, requiring daily clean up along the road.

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