Best time to visit Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana

Enjoy the views of breathtaking Glacier National Park while driving one of the most scenic roads of the United States

Best time: July–mid-October

Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road
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Going-to-the-Sun Road is a splendid two-lane mountain highway in the Glacier National Park of Montana. Being around 50 miles (80 km) long, it is the only road that crosses the Glacier National Park. At the height of 6,646 feet (2,026 m), it traverses the Continental Divide via Logan Pass, which is officially the highest point on the road.

The road takes its name from the Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. There is even a place for Native American legend in which the deity Sour Spirit went down from the sun to teach the Blackfeet the fundamentals of hunting. The image of that deity appeared on the mountain as a motivation for the Blackfeet.

Going-to-the-Sun Road construction began in 1921 and was officially open on July 15, 1933. It is one of the toughest roads to snowplow in North America. Even with the help of snow equipment, it takes nearly ten weeks to plow this scenic driveway.

Glacier National Park boasts abundant wildlife, which can be spotted here and there along the Sun Road. It is quite common to see Mountain goats and Bighorn sheep near Logan Pass.

Several sections of Going-to-the-Sun Road remain open year-round and provide access to many activities and locations. The opening of the alpine sections of the road varies, depending on the weather, plowing progress, and the amount of snowfall. Typically the road opens completely in late June or early July and remains open until the third Monday of October. However, the weather conditions can change at any point, so check the updates before the road trip.

Each season brings its perks or limitations to the area. Besides the fact that summer is the only season when all sections of the road are accessible by car, shuttle buses operate here from July to late September, weather permitting. During spring and fall, the road is open to those willing to walk, bike, or jog along the Sun Road. Some bike paths close in the summer months, so if you want to experience the road on foot or bike, try to plan your visit for spring or fall. These seasons are perfect "secret" times to enjoy the nature of Glacier National Park. Portions of the road remain open in wintertime, so snowshoers and cross-country skiers can enjoy the solitude and quietness of this part of Montana.

Practical info

When is the ideal time to go to the Going-to-the-Sun Road?

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is accessible all year, but it is ideal to visit between July and mid-October since the road is available to vehicles. During spring and fall, visitors have the option to walk, bike, or jog. However, shuttle buses operate from July to late September with optimal weather conditions. Summer is the only season where all road sections are available to vehicles. Show more

The Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road has what significance, and how high is it?

At an elevation of 6,646 feet (2,026 meters), the Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the highest point of the road and the Continental Divide where the watersheds of both Pacific and Atlantic Ocean's originate. Many visitors love to stop at the Logan Pass to explore and take in the scenic beauty of the alpine view. Show more

What inspired the name Going-to-the-Sun Road?

Going-to-the-Sun Road derived its name from Going-to-the-Sun Mountain and has a legend behind it dating back to the Blackfeet Native Americans. The story tells of a god's image appearing on the mountain along with a visit by the deity, Sour Spirit, to teach the Blackfeet people the art of hunting. The area's spectacular scenery and people inspire the road's construction, which shows the beauty and reverence the area deserves. Show more

What kind of animals can be found when traveling the Going-to-the-Sun road?

A wide variety of wildlife thrives within the range of the Glacier National Park. When driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road, visitors will encounter mountain goats and bighorn sheep, primarily near Logan Pass. Grizzly bears, black bears, and moose also reside in the vicinity. Visitors should always be cautious and follow the park's Wildlife Safety Rules when experiencing a close encounter with wildlife. Show more

What season-specific activities can one do while traveling on the Going-to-the-Sun Road?

All sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open year-round, but the accessibility of its alpine section depends on the weather condition and progress on plowing. Visitors can drive all stretches of the road and use the shuttle buses during summer. During spring and fall, walking, biking, or jogging is available to visitors. Some of the road sections remain open even during winter, where people can snowshoe or cross-country ski while basking in the peaceful solitude. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva