Glacier National Park: Going-to-the-Sun Road

Coram, MT

We drove to northwestern Montana on Thursday and set up home base at North American RV Park in Coram, MT, just six miles from the entrance to Glacier National Park.  Since it stays light so long here (9:35 pm sunset) we decided in the late afternoon to drive up to Logan’s Pass Visitor’s Center, which is about two thirds the way across the park on the Going-to the-Sun Road.

The road is named for Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, which dominates the eastbound view beyond Logan Pass. It was completed in 1932, and is the only road that crosses the park, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.  The road, a National Historic Landmark and a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, spans 53 miles across the width of the park.  It  is one of the most difficult roads in the country to snowplow in the spring. Up to 80 feet of snow can lie on top of Logan Pass, and more just east of the pass where the deepest snowfield has long been referred to as Big Drift. The road takes about ten weeks to plow, even with equipment that can move 4000 tons of snow in an hour. The snowplow crew can clear as little as 500 feet of the road per day. On the east side of the continental divide, there are few guardrails due to heavy snows and late winter avalanches that have repeatedly destroyed every protective barrier ever constructed. The road is generally open from early June to mid October, with its latest ever opening on July 13th in 2011.

Under the railroad and into Glacier National Park

Still in the valley, see the road about two thirds up the mountain

Going up . . .

. . . and up 

Glacier-carved mountain sides

McDonald Creek Valley

Waterfalls are everywhere

Bird Woman Waterfall

Nature’s car wash

Bridge in the mountain side

Snow banks in mid-July

A mountain princess ! ! !

Approaching Logan’s Pass

While at the Logan’s Pass Visitor’s Center we spotted some special visitors – a herd of Big Horn Sheep.

The views at Logan’s Pass are spectacular.

After enjoying the sites at Logan’s Pass, we started back down the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

While Glacier National Park does not have the diversity of sights seen in Yellowstone, we had forgotten what spectacular scenery it has.  Tomorrow we head to Many Glaciers Lodge to view some more of the park.  More on that later . . .

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4 Responses to Glacier National Park: Going-to-the-Sun Road

  1. Deb says:

    Yes, the views are spectacular, aren’t they! Any idea why the one sheep looked to shaggy compared to the others? We ate lunch on the deck at Many Glacier, and it was calming, peaceful, and unreal scenery.

  2. Marsha says:

    Oh this is MARVELOUS! I am so glad you two did so many photos. I love them all.
    The glaciers looks so big and strong just reaching so high in the sky. I love all the waterfalls…even the car wash…hehe
    I think it is just amazing how much snow is still up there. It is the middle of July. I wonder if most of it melts before the next snow fall begins or if it just builds upon itself.
    That road looks a ton like going up to Glacier Point in Yosemite. Windy and turning on a hair.
    The Long Horn Sheep are spectacular. What a group of HUGE ones. The photos are so awesome.
    This is a wonderful post. I love everything about it. I think the mountain princess is my favorite of all.

  3. Bob and Jo says:

    excellent photos, we have to do this

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