Glacier National Park opening dates for the spring and summer season released (2024)

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. - We're almost two months into spring, and many Montanans are already planning some summer trips to our state's national parks.

Folks travel from all over to visit one of the most iconic places in our state, Glacier National Park and starting today and over the next few weeks, campgrounds across the park are opening up for business.

According to a press release form Glacier National Park, park operations and opening dates are happening ahead of schedule with the plowing of the "Going to the Sun Road" expected to end in June.

Construction in West Glacier is also anticipated to end soon with paving efforts wrapping up at the end of this month and Canadian border access opening on May 15th.

Throughout the next few weeks, campgrounds across the park will be opening for the season.

Apgar campground is currently open but advance reservations are needed.

Fish creek campground will open partially on May 17th, with full operations scheduled to open on the 24th.

Other campgrounds opening on the 24th include Sprague Creek campground, Bowman Lake campground and Kintla Lake campground.

And remember, vehicle reservations are required before 3 p.m. to enter the park.

WEST GLACIER, Mont.[May 10, 2024] – Glacier National Park staff are gearing up for the season and while full park operations are still a month off, visitors will see an increase in recreational opportunities throughout May.

The west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road will undergo the last phase of construction work that began in May 2023. The last 2.8 miles of construction will focus on paving Going-to-the-Sun Road, starting west of Sprague Creek Campground up to North Lake McDonald Road. Construction resumed in April 2024, and is expected to be completed in late May to early June 2024, weather permitting. Construction will cause delays along Going-to-the-Sun Road, including weekends through Memorial Day weekend. Visitors should anticipate up to a 30-minute wait. Visitors should drive and bike with caution.

Snow removal on Going-to-the-Sun began the first week of April and will continue until open to Logan Pass. In previous years, the road opened between mid-June and early July but the road may open a little earlier this year. Typical years see snowstorms and avalanches continuing through May, making it impossible to predict an opening date. The road crew actively works across 40 avalanche paths, making operations highly dependent on avalanche hazard conditions.

North Lake McDonald Road is closed to public access including vehicles, hiking, or biking at the intersection with Going-to-the-Sun Road due to the Upper McDonald Creek Bridge replacement project. Parking at the intersection is also closed. Hikers will be unable to complete the Johns Lake Loop Trail and will need to turn around where trail closed signs are posted.

For more information about construction in the park, visit theconstruction pageon the park website.

Many Glacier, Camas, Quarter Circle Bridge, and Chief Mountain roads are open for the season. The road into Two Medicine remains temporarily closed at the park boundary. The Chief Mountain Border Crossing remains closed until May 15. SeeCanada Border Services Agency websitefor details.

Vehicle reservations are required for all west side park entrances starting May 24, and Many Glacier entrance starting July 1. Vehicle reservations are not required for St. Mary and Two Medicine entrances in 2024. Check theGlacier National Park websitefor details.

The vehicle reservation checkpoint on Going-to-the-Sun Road for east-bound traffic will be located at the turn-off for Apgar Loop Road. Visitors without a vehicle reservation orservice reservationwill be required to take a left turn onto Apgar Loop Road and circle back through Apgar Village. Congestion is expected in Apgar Village and Apgar Visitor Center with limited parking. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed to take a left turn from Apgar Loop Road onto Going-to-the-Sun Road. (See map) Service reservations originating east of Logan Pass cannot be used instead of a vehicle reservation for access past the Apgar Check Point heading east on Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Hiker/Biker Shuttle and Biking Hours on Going-to-the-Sun Road

The park’s free spring hiker/biker shuttle will provide weekend service from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. starting May 11 and ending on June 30, or when Going-to-the-Sun Road opens all the way, whichever comes first. The shuttle will run between Apgar Visitor Center, Lake McDonald Lodge, and Avalanche Creek. The shuttle operates on a first come-first served basis. Daily shuttle operations begin July 1.

Hikers and bikers can travel on Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as posted closures. Access beyond the closures is prohibited, and visitors who disobey the road closure signage are putting their safety, and that of rescue personnel, at risk.

Based on observed traffic patterns during previous vehicle reservation pilot seasons, vehicular traffic is expected to increase every day at 3 pm when vehicle reservations are no longer required for the day. For safety purposes,from May 24 through September 8 whatever portion of Going-to-the-Sun Road that isopen to motor vehicleswill be closed to bicycle use (both directions) between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. from Apgar to Logan Pass. Currently, Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to vehicles as far as Lake McDonald Lodge but is expected to open to Avalanche Campground by Mother's Day weekend.

Wilderness Permit Offices:

The Apgar Wilderness Permit office opened May 1. St. Mary, and Many Glacier offices open May 26, and Polebridge opens May 27. Wilderness Permits will not be available at the Two Medicine Ranger Station in 2024. The St. Mary, Apgar and Polebridge permit offices are always accessible without a vehicle reservation. Many Glacierpermit office is inside the vehicle reservation area. Once vehicle reservations go into effect for the season, this office can be accessed without a reservation before 6 a.m. and after 3 p.m.


Most frontcountry campgrounds will operate under a reservation system in 2024. Campground reservations can be made onRecreation.govMost campsites are reservable approximately six months in advance and several campsites in each campground can be reserved four days in advance to accommodate visitors with more spontaneous itineraries.

Visitors with camping reservations within a vehicle reservation area do not need a vehicle reservation to enter that area. For example, a camping reservation for Avalanche Campground counts as a Going-to-the-Sun Corridor vehicle reservation on the days of the camping reservation. The camping reservation may not be used to access other reservation areas including North Fork and Many Glacier.

As a courtesy to those who wish to camp in the park, visitors are discouraged from making camping reservation solely for the purpose of gaining access to a reservation area. If you have a camping reservation and your plans change, contactRecreation.govto cancel your reservation so sites can become available for other campers to reserve and enjoy.

Campgrounds in the North Fork area will be assigned first come, first served at the Polebridge Entrance Station.

Frontcountry campgrounds scheduled toopen in Mayinclude the following:

  • Apgar Campground: Currently open. Advance camping reservations are required.
  • Fish Creek Campground: Partially open on May 17 and fully open on May 24.Advance camping reservations are required.
  • Sprague Creek Campground: Opens May 24.Advance camping reservations are required.
  • St. Mary Campground: Currently open on a first come, first served basis. Fully open on May 24 and advance camping reservations are required.
  • Bowman Lake Campground: Opens May 24 on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Kintla Lake Campground: Opens May 24 on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Cut Bank Campground: Opens May 31 to primitive camping on a first come, first serve basis.

Other park campgroundsnot listed aboveare expected to open in June and July. Please check theCampground pageon the park’s website for a complete list of dates.

Boat Inspections:
Private boating will begin on May 12 for Lake McDonald with the opening of the Apgar AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) inspection station. Private boating for Bowman and Kintla lakes will begin on May
May 24and AIS inspections will take place at the Polebridge Ranger Station.

Many Glacier AIS inspections begin May 26 at the Many Glacier Ranger Station and May 25 at St.Mary.The park anticipates an operational AIS station for Two Medicine in 2024. Opening dates are still to be determined.

Concession Operations:
All park concessions plan to operate this summer. Some concessioner services will open in May including lodging, tours, food service, and retail shops. Visitors can find links to each concessioner service through the
Lodging, Restaurants, and Serviceswebpage.

Visitor Centers:
The Apgar Visitor Center is currently staffed on weekends, with daily operations beginning May 11. The St. Mary Visitor Center will be open daily starting May 24.

Much of the park is still snow-covered this time of year and travelers should be prepared for changing conditions. Avalanches are still active on trails and along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Higher elevation trails can be dangerous and snow-covered until late June. Bears are emerging from their dens hungry, and visitors should take steps totravel safelyin bear country.

Parking at Logan Pass, Apgar Village, and other areas may be congested or temporarily unavailable. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of free shuttles for hiker access to Logan Pass although waits for shuttles may be long depending on the time and location. Visitors are encouraged to check thepark websitefrequently for updates and additional information.

Alt Text for Apgar map directions:

At the four-way intersection of the West Entrance, Camas Road, Apgar Transit Center Loop, and Going-to-the-Sun Road, a text box reads, “Only turn right on Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance if you have a vehicle reservation or a service reservation for Going-to-the-Sun Road.” There is another text box at the Apgar Check Point, located at the intersection of Going-to-the-Sun Road and Apgar Loop Road, that reads, “Vehicle reservations will be checked at the Apgar Check Point. A park ranger will check to see if you have a vehicle reservation for Going-to-the-Sun Road or a qualifying service reservation.” There is another text box along Apgar Loop Road, and Going-to-the-Sun Road, that reads, “A left turn at Apgar Loop Road will not be permitted to turn left on to Going-to-the-Sun Road, at the Apgar Check Point. Left turns will only be authorized for emergency vehicles.”

Glacier National Park opening dates for the spring and summer season released (2024)


Is Glacier National Park open in the spring? ›

Spring is a beautiful and quiet time to be in Glacier National Park. The season arrives later in the year and is still much colder than most places. By mid to late May, some roads will be open for vehicle travel, with the exception of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

When was Glacier National Park opened? ›

Glacier was established as a national park on May 11, 1910, America's 10th national park. Early newspapers touted its alpine scenery and numerus glaciers as reasons to visit the park. The great Northern Railway future enticed visitors with new hotels, chalets, and horse trails through the back country.

What time of year does Glacier National Park open? ›

Glacier National Park is open every day of the year and visitors can enter the park at anytime. It goes without saying though, that the seasons are vastly different, and weather conditions dictate when visitor facilities open and close.

What parts of Glacier National Park are open in May? ›

By late May, most roads are open for vehicle travel except Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass. Lower portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road are open year-round, but the entire road does not usually open until late June or early July, and the Logan Pass area is not accessible by vehicle until then.

Is May too early for Glacier National Park? ›

Glacier National Park and Whitefish are much less busy in May and early June before kids are out of school for the summer. In spring, not all roads and hiking trails will be open, but there is still plenty to do!

Can I visit Glacier National Park in April? ›

Glacier National Park is open 24 hours a day 365 days of the year.

Is Going-to-the-Sun Road open in 2024? ›

Construction resumed in April 2024 and is expected to be completed in late May to early June 2024, weather permitting. Construction will cause delays along Going-to-the-Sun Road, including weekends through Memorial Day weekend. Visitors should anticipate up to a 30-minute wait.

Can you visit Glacier National Park in early June? ›

June is an overlooked time to visit the park — and it's become one of our favorite months. You can avoid the crowds that July and August bring, and have all of the fun on the rivers, roads, and trails of Glacier National Park! Definitely consider rafting, hiking, and biking in June.

What is off season for Glacier National Park? ›

To avoid those crowds (and enjoy a reduced entrance fee), plan to visit during the park's off-season, which stretches from October to April. Crowds are at their very smallest in winter.

Is Glacier National Park busy in summer? ›

Going-to-the-Sun Road is not the only highlight in the park. Explore the other areas of Glacier while you visit. September can still be crowded. Glacier is extremely busy during the summer.

Is Glacier Bay open in May? ›

There are no entrance gates at Glacier Bay National Park, so we are technically open 24-hours a day; however, services may be extremely limited depending on the time of your visit. The main visitor season is from late-May through early-September with the peak being the month of July.

What is the weather like in Glacier National Park in late May early June? ›

By June, temps warm into the low 70's, but remain very cold at night in the 40's. The snowpack will be the most important weather factor for your spring visit to Glacier. From early May through late June, the snow lines will rise and the road crews will clear Going-To-The-Sun Road a bit closer to Logan Pass each day.

What is the best month to visit Glacier National Park? ›

For most people, late June through mid-September is the best time to visit Glacier, because they want to drive the Going to the Sun Road, raft and fish the rivers, hike the trails, visit the backcountry Chalets, and explore several areas of the park, on both sides of the Continental Divide.

Is there still snow in Glacier National Park in May? ›

Many roads and trails are still closed due to snowy conditions in May and June – including the popular scenic drive along Going-to-the-Sun Road – and shuttles run on a limited schedule and weather-permitting basis.

Is Going-to-the-Sun Road open in May? ›

The famous Going-to-the-Sun Road traverses the width of Glacier National Park and is a must-drive while you are here. While sections of the road are open year-round, the high alpine sections typically don't open until late June or early July depending on weather.

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