WEST GLACIER – All 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun Road opened Friday morning, allowing accessibility to Logan Pass from both the west and east sides of Glacier National Park for the first time this summer.
Crews opened the final gates, allowing full access to the pass, at 8:30 a.m.
But park officials warn travelers to be prepared for all types of conditions.
Weather forecasts Friday call for rain showers, wind gusts of up to 40 mph and possible snow, according to Glacier’s public affairs officer, Denise Germann.
On Thursday, the temperature at Oberlin Bend, just west of Logan Pass, was 30 degrees, snow was falling in the upper elevations and approximately an inch of slush was on portions of Going-to-the-Sun.
Crews were still working Thursday to remove rock and debris from the road in preparation for the opening. Access to Logan Pass from the east side of Glacier opened last week.
The opening of all 50 miles is important for tourism-related businesses in and near the park, because many visitors hold off on trips until they’re certain they can cross the only road that runs through Glacier.
It climbs, amid the park’s spectacular scenery, to an elevation of 6,646 feet at Logan Pass. The visitor center there is expected to open Saturday, but Germann says hours of operation may be limited early on. Restroom facilities are available, and potable water will be, too, by Friday.
Rehabilitation of Going-to-the-Sun continues, and drivers should anticipate potential delays. Germann says construction on the west side will occur between Logan Creek and Avalanche Creek through August. On the east side, construction starts July 8 between Rising Sun and Siyeh Bend.
There, construction activity will go on 24 hours a day Mondays through Fridays. Visitors should expect maximum delays of 40 minutes for one-way travel across the entire road.
Sun Point will close to the public beginning June 30.
The visitor shuttle system that allows people to park and ride a bus over Going-to-the-Sun during construction will operate from July 1 through Labor Day. Transit centers are located near Apgar on the west side of the park, and at the St. Mary visitor center on the east.