Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile stretch of pavement cutting through the mountains of Glacier National Park, opened completely to the public Sunday.
The opening came a day later than the National Park Service anticipated, with snow and freezing rain in the park’s higher elevations causing the delay. Barring any further nasty weather, the road will remain open throughout the summer until the heavy snows begin, typically in early October.
The June 23 opening comes a little later than those of years past, which typically happen between late May and mid-June.
The plowing of the road, which began in April, opened up portions of the road to vehicles. Crews operating from both ends of the road connected May 25 at Logan Pass. Plowing and clearing work gave vehicles access to nearly 30 miles of the road prior to Sunday.
Following the clearing of all snow from the road, workers then installed 400 wooden road dividers and swept all fifty miles clean of rocks and debris.
For the next two summers, crews will also be shutting down portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road as part of a preservation project. Pavement preservation work will be done at night and during the day with traffic control. A schedule of where crew members will be working for the season can be found online.
The National Weather Service advised visitors taking the two-hour drive Sunday to be cautious of a heavy fog setting in, and also aware of possible rock falls west of Logan Pass. Rock slides occur on the road throughout the summer, and require daily cleanup.
"Even once the road is open for the summer you never know when wildland fire, summer blizzards, rockslides, or other environmental conditions will close a portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on short notice," the National Park Service posted on its Facebook page.
For updates on road conditions, visit the Naitonal Park Service’s website.