Going-to-the-Sun Road isn’t Glacier’s toughest drive by far, but being prepared with snacks and water is key, as is slowing down to respect the terrain and making sure ahead of time your route is clear and open. For Glacier novices and veterans both, the following are our best tips for conquering Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Four Signs of a Rookie Going-to-the-Sun Road Driver
- A burning brake smell. Hint: Use second gear to slow your speed on descents rather than riding the brakes down the mountain.
- A dangling extension mirror. Hint: Retract or remove those extension mirrors for fifth-wheels or trailers before driving the narrow west side below Logan Pass.
- A center-line hugger. Hint: Stay in your own lane. You’re more apt to scrape another vehicle on the skinny road than drive off the cliff. Acrophobes should let someone else drive.
- A traffic slug. Hint: Rather than holding up traffic by slowing to a stop in the road to take pictures, pull off into one of the many pullouts.
Other Tips for Driving Going-to-the-Sun Road
- Follow posted speed limits, and turn on your headlights.
- During high season (mid-July-mid-Aug.), the Logan Pass parking lot fills up by 10am, with long waits for parking spaces. Get an early start for touring Going-to-the-Sun Road.
- Take lunch, snacks, and drinks. Between Lake McDonald Lodge and Rising Sun, no food or drinks are sold.
- Watch for bicyclists. Although bicycle restrictions are in effect during July-August on Going-to-the-Sun Road’s west side, the narrow roadway, lack of shoulders, and curves squeeze cyclists. Show them courtesy by slowing down to ease around them.
- Expect construction delays. Reconstruction work usually reduces traffic to a single lane controlled by construction personnel. When workers are not present, timed traffic lights control flow. Obey both, as the single lanes allow for no pullover room for passing.
- Check for summer closures. Heavy rains, snowstorms, fires, and accidents may close portions of the road—even in July-August. Entrance and ranger stations as well as lodges have current updates of the road status available.
- Be prepared for all types of weather. Sunny skies may prevail in the valleys while visitors at Logan Pass creep along slowly in a dense fog on icy pavement.
- Passengers with a fear of heights should sit on the driver’s side of the car for ascending the west side and descending the east. This will put you farthest from the cliff edges.
- Cell phones get little or no service on the Sun Road. Turn them off and enjoy the views.