Visitors urged to plan before visiting Glacier National Park

Posted at 12:13 PM, Jun 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-30 14:13:12-04

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – If you want to go to Glacier National Park anytime soon, be prepared for some gridlock.

It’s not even the peak of tourist season yet, and officials say there is already traffic congestion.

Recently, as early as 10 a.m. hasn’t been soon enough to keep people from pouring into Glacier National Park, parking lots quickly filling up.

“We’ve seen gridlock on the road rather frequently this year,” said Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley.

The week of Father’s Day, the park had to temporarily close Going-to-the-Sun Road at the foot of Lake McDonald because of that gridlock. 

The park saw almost three million visitors last year, but some of this year’s delays are caused by pavement preservation.

“Reconstruction is very costly and is very impactful to the general public because it takes a long time to do sections of the road,” explained Chris Rossmiller, Federal Highway Preservation senior engineer.

If you’re interested in Logan Pass, Alley says it’s best to plan for other hiking options. Because of the million-dollar project, Alley says traffic will stop leading to Going-to-the-Sun Road, and visitors should expect wait times of 30 minutes or more.

“If the parking lot is so full that people are circulating and there’s really no more room to move those parking lot, attendants will start waving people by,” she explained. “So, if the parking lot is full, consider driving on down the road. Check out another point.”

The park also has a brand new tool for your planning: a monitor that shows real-time weather and parking availability around the park.

Alley suggests planning ahead for traffic.

Visitors should pack snacks and locate nearby restrooms in case they are stuck in traffic for an extended period of time. 

-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News