AAA/Frank Swanson
AAA/Frank Swanson
AAA/Frank Swanson
AAA Editor Notes
Going-to-the-Sun Road joins US 89 at St. Mary and US 2 at West Glacier. Acclaimed as one of the outstanding scenic roadways of the world, the 50-mile route traverses the width of the park, crossing the Continental Divide through Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet while affording magnificent views of some of the park's loveliest scenery. Several miles of the two-lane highway had to be cut out of steep mountainsides and consequently it took more than a decade to complete.

At its official dedication on July 15, 1933, the road was given its current whimsical name, which comes from a mountain looming over the route east of Logan Pass. The source of the mountain's name is open to debate. It may have originated in a Blackfeet Indian legend or simply been made up by a white explorer with an active imagination.

You could drive Going-to-the-Sun Road from one end to the other in around 2 hours without stopping, but take your time because pulling over at one or more of the road's many scenic overlooks is an essential Glacier National Park experience. Some of the classic photo ops you should look for, from east to west: tiny Wild Goose Island in the midst of St. Mary Lake; Jackson Glacier, one of the few glaciers visible from the road; Bird Woman Falls, a silver ribbon of water falling hundreds of feet down the face of Mount Oberlin; the Weeping Wall, a waterfall that actually splashes onto the roadway; and McDonald Creek, a picturesque boulder-strewn stream.

Several trailheads are just off Going-to-the-Sun Road. Some paths go for miles into the backcountry while others offer short hikes to beauty spots. At Avalanche Creek, the Trail of the Cedars offers a pleasant .7-mile boardwalk loop among moisture-loving cedars and hemlocks. At Logan Pass, the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail is a 3-mile round-trip journey through alpine meadows filled with wildlife and ending with a spectacular view high above a mountain lake.

Note: Logan Pass closes for the season no later than November 1 and reopens in mid-June (weather permitting). The park's optional, free Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle stops at various points along the road July through Labor Day. Road Closures: Due to an ongoing, multiyear maintenance project, construction delays along sections of Going-to-the-Sun Road are likely. Portions may be entirely closed before and after the main season (roughly mid-June to mid-September, weather permitting) to accelerate the project.

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