by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
May 20, 2005
It was completed in 1932 and was the most scenic and daring undertaking of its time. The 50-mile paved road crosses the Glacier National Park between the East and West Entrances crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass at an altitude of 6,646 feet.
The building of this trans-mountain marvel took more than 12 years, using mostly immigrant workers, and surprisingly, only three deaths were attributed to the construction. Congressman Louis C. Cramton and Park Naturalist George C. Ruhle are credited with coming up with the name Going-to-the-Sun Road, borrowed from nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, because "it gives the impression that in driving this road autoists will ascend to extreme heights and view sublime panoramas." Visitors ever since have agreed.
The Going to the Sun Road was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and designated a National Landmark in 1996.
If you are lucky enough to drive the entire length, you will experience many different terrains, including large glacial lakes, cedar forests, and windswept alpine tundra. We were able to drive from the West Entrance about 15 miles towards the center of the park, and from the East Entrance, about 13 miles. The center section of the road was closed because of poor driving conditions. Some parts are narrow, steep, and winding, but there are numerous pull-outs for viewing and photographing scenery. We enjoyed tranquil lakes, snow-capped mountains, barren rock ledges just wide enough for the road, waterfalls, and the walk through the Trail of the Cedars Park at Avalanche Lake.
When we started our drive of the Going to the Sun Road, we knew that we could only travel about 13 miles before the road closure. When we reached that point, we parked our rental car and walked around the barriers to the entrance of the Trail of the Cedars Park. We walked along the raised wooden path that meandered through a dense cedar forest.
The weather conditions on Logan Pass, half way between the East and West Entrances is the determining factor of the road being open or not. It usually opens by mid-June and remains open until mid-October. Logan Pass was not open when we were there in May, and neither were the following:
Entrance fee for the Glacier National Park is $20 for a 7-day entrance fee. No single-day rates are offered.
From journal KALISPELL- OH, WHAT A SPELL I'M IN