Glacier National Park: More Than A Century Of 'Wow!'

Published on May 07, 2019 08:03 AM in Driving Destinations, Getting There
Glacier National Park: More Than A Century Of 'Wow!'

What National Park encompasses more than 1 million acres, 16,000 square miles and drew nearly 3 million visitors in 2018? Hint: It turns 109 years old in May.

Answer: It’s Glacier National Park in Montana.

President William Howard Taft signed a law officially registering the land a national park on May 11, 1910.

Summer months are peak season at the park that’s home to literally hundreds of waterfalls and a vibrant landscape. This year, boating season begins on May 11 on the west side of the park, while the east side of the park sees its boating season begin June 1.

But recent wildfires and area closures on the west side of the park have the National Park Service urging travelers to plan ahead if they intend to visit in 2019.

“A little bit of planning can help visitors maximize their time in Glacier and be prepared for some of this year’s projects they may encounter,” said Jeff Mow, superintendent of Glacier National Park.

The park recently began a two-year pavement preservation project that’s expected to impact many vital roads. The majority of the project takes place during the off-season, but visitors should still expect to encounter roadwork in the park this summer.

Affected roads include Going-to-the-Sun, Chief Mountain and a portion of Camas, as well as parking lots and smaller roads throughout the park.

Pavement preservation work will occur on the following schedule:

  • Spring 2019-June 22: Avalanche Creek to Jackson Glacier Overlook
  • Spring 2019-June 30: Chief Mountain Road (night work with traffic control in place)
  • Spring 2019-early July: West Entrance Station to Avalanche Creek (with traffic control)
  • After September 3, 2019: West Entrance Station to Avalanche Creek (with traffic control)
  • September 2-September 15: Avalanche Creek to Logan Pass (night work with traffic control)
  • September 16-September 30 (likely): Avalanche to Logan Pass hard closure - Logan Pass will be accessible from the St. Mary Entrance.

Other tips and advice from the NPS about visiting Glacier National Park is below:

  • The Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently closed from Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side of the park to the gate just past the entrance at St. Mary on the east side of the park. It typically opens between mid-June and mid-July each year, depending on spring snow and plowing conditions. This year, it will not open to Logan Pass before June 22 due to the park wide pavement preservation project.