Snow plow crew nears Logan Pass

Tickets are hot for Glacier National Park

By: - May 14, 2021 2:04 pm

Snow plow driver clears winter’s dump off the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. (Provided by Glacier National Park for the Daily Montanan)

A snow plow crew inching up the Going-to-the-Sun Road on Thursday was just a couple of miles away from Logan Pass, according to Glacier National Park.

Gina Kerzman, Glacier public affairs officer, said this week she anticipates the road will be fully open by July 1, but it could be earlier. It depends on plowing and weather.

“We don’t know when the Going-to-the-Sun Road will open for sure,” Kerzman said.

Tourists already gobbled up the first tickets available in a rolling release for a new entry system in the park, and none were available Friday. Tickets cost $1 and are required from May 28 through Sept. 6, but the road isn’t open all the way in the early part of the season, and tickets were limited.

“We just don’t have the real estate for people to occupy because it’s only open to Lake McDonald Lodge,” Kerzman said.

From Recreation.gov: Entry tickets are available 60 days in advance on a rolling daily window for arrivals beginning on May 28th. Beginning May 26th, tickets will also available two days in advance at 8 a.m. MT on a rolling daily window. Entry tickets are good for seven consecutive days including the reserved day of arrival. Only one entry ticket is required per vehicle/motorcycle.

From the west entrance, that’s roughly the first 20 percent or so of the road that stretches some 50 miles over Logan Pass and across the park. But Kerzman said the number of tickets available from July 1 onward increased substantially compared to the number released for the days the road may be closed.

“As we get closer to the actual road opening date, additional tickets will be released,” the park said in a news release. “Visitors are encouraged to keep watching Recreation.gov for ticket availability.”

The park estimates it can accommodate about 4,600 vehicles in the corridor without gridlock. But many of those cars and trucks won’t need tickets because they’re people with camping or horseback riding reservations, for example, or driving a service vehicle. Or they’re people arriving before 6 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

“It’s an Indy 500 race up to Logan Pass first thing in the morning,” Kerzman said.

It’s the first year the park is implementing ticketed entry, so she said tweaks are expected. The park has experienced a record breaking number of visitors in the fall, but tourism also drops in cooler weather, so the situation with entries will fluctuate.

“If it looks like we have more capacity than we originally anticipated, then we will release additional tickets,” she said.

People who have reservations inside the park can consider their reservations at a campsite or lodge their ticket, for example. Tickets are required only for Going-to-the-Sun Road and not entrances to other areas of the park such as Many Glacier.

The park also recently announced shuttle services will reopen after having been closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Shuttles will be available July 1 through Labor Day Weekend with limited capacity and stops, and tickets will be available June 1 on Recreation.gov.

“The Ticket-to-Ride also serves as a Going-to-the-Sun Road entry reservation ticket for the day of reservation,” the park said.

Face masks are required on the shuttles.

Updates for the Visitor Transportation System may be found at Glacier National Park’s website in the Plan Your Visit tab under Directions and Transportation. Visit https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm

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Keila Szpaller
Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

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