Built back in 1932, the Going to the Sun Road is a 52 mile visual gem you won't soon forget. You start down "low" on either end traveling past gorgeous lakes and forest (on the western side you get to meander through the 2006 wildfire area - still burning in places while we were there). It isn't long before you start climbing (3000') - and realize how the road got its name. The road gets narrow - the scenery gets spectacular - the sun gets closer. There are several pull outs you should use for photo ops. These often have signs explaining what you are seeing from a geology perspective.
At the top you reach Logan Pass - and the Continental Divide. Take advantage of the visitor center here (great view, nice displays, a small store, and the all important restrooms - no food) - as well as one of our top 10 hikes - Hidden Lake Trail (see journal entry). Reach this spot early as the parking lot fills quickly and the visitor center isn't open late.
There are a couple of "notes" with this road. First, you can't take anything larger than 21' long and 8' wide on it... Once you've been over it you'll completely understand why... and marvel that it truly is built for two car widths as your eyes will tell you, "no way" in spots! Second, some folks aren't comfortable driving it... If you fall into either of those categories, by all means, check into car rentals or the red bus tours and let them do the driving for you (narrated tour). This road is too beautiful to skip.
There sometimes are areas they need to fix... we had to stop for a couple that were being repaired from a winter avalanche... so don't be in a hurry. Relax and enjoy the view. We spent our time wondering about the frequency of rock falls, avalanches, etc., while we waited, but that's us and our sense of humor. Don't do that if it would scare you (or your kids)!
For weather reasons, this road is only open mid-June to mid-Oct. I'm told if you come in June you'll still see snow in places. Come in August (as we did) and the wildflowers are incredible. Wildlife can be seen at any time. We saw bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, and a black bear all from the road - not to mention the countless little critters scurrying across in places. Enjoy!
Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
New York, New York
July 27, 2009
From journal Mountain-West Road Trip
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 26, 2006
From journal 2006 Trip Part 3 - MT - Glacier National Park
March 18, 2006
From journal Montana Mountain Majesty
Spanish Fork, Utah
January 11, 2006
From journal Glacier is the Greatest
North Little Rock, Arkansas
August 22, 2003
On our bus tour of the Going to the Sun Road from Glacier Lodge, we also saw Lake McDonald and Mary Lake, some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the country.
From journal Glacier National Park - Peaceful
June 26, 2001
The road itself was one of the highlights of the trip because it goes right through the huge mountain range of the park and offers many chances to pull over and enjoy the stunning views. There are also several hiking trails along the way and we took most of the day to traverse a few of them as we made our way from east to west. Here are some of the things to do in order as you drive from the East.
1. Sun Point was the best short hike we took in either Glacier or Yellowstone Park.
Incredible views and leads to a waterfall at the end.
2. Sunrift Gorge is right up the road and is a nice place to park and enjoy the rushing
water and pretty views.
3. Logan Pass Visitor Center is about half way and is located at the top of the mountain. Many people stop here and hike but it cold and wet so we passed.
4. Hidden lake trail starts at Logan's Pass but was closed because of snow.
5. The weeping wall was very upset when we saw it because of intermittent rain. More like blubbering wall at the time. Nothing special but nice views of the park.
6. Trail of the cedars is a really nice boardwalk walk that reminded me very much of muir woods with these gigantic Cedar and fur trees in the valley.
7. Lake McDonald is the end of the road and offers great views. We saw several big moose swimming in the lake and had a close encounter with one of them.
From journal Glacier National Park