Biking In Glacier National Park
Biking In Glacier National Park: FAQ
#1 What If The Going-to-the-Sun Road Is Closed To Hiker/Biker Traffic?
Keep in mind that around here, we joke that we have two seasons, winter and road construction. When roads are closed or are in rough shape for guided biking, we may reroute our trip to another area of Glacier National Park. This may be an area which is open to vehicle traffic, such as the Camas Road. Alternatively, it may involve involve a van shuttle to a road on Glacier’s stunning east side, which will be several hours long. We’ll always keep you aware of your options.
#2 How Far Is Spring Biking In Glacier National Park On The Going-to-the-Sun Road?
It depends on how far the plow crews are in plowing the road to Logan Pass. They typically plow weekdays, and often are finished before 5 pm, turning the “road closed” sign around at the Loop as they leave their work for the day. If you’re biking during the time they are plowing, you will not be able to go past the Loop. But if you’re biking when they are not plowing — for example, on the weekends and many Fridays — you will be able to go as far past the Loop as the plowing allows you to go.
It also depends on where you start.
If you’re going on a guided tour with us, we’ll leave from Lake McDonald Lodge or the Avalanche campground, 5.5 flat miles down the road. If we leave from Avalanche, the road is largely flat for the first 6 miles, with a slight climb. The views are stunning, especially without distracting vehicle traffic. Then, the elevation gain begins to pick up as you ascend the next 2 miles to the Loop. Upon reaching “The Loop,” the single hairpin turn on the west side of the Going to the Sun Road, we’ll gain another 2,440 feet in elevation as we climb the 9 final miles to Logan Pass — if the plows have gotten that far. The earlier in the season you visit, the further away the plows will be. If you are able to bike from Avalanche to Logan Pass, you will ride a total of about 34 miles.
Bike Rental Options
If you’re on a self-guided adventure, you can rent regular bikes or e-bikes at our office. Then, you can rent a bike carrier from us and drive to Avalanche. Reservations are recommended, but not required.
You can also bike directly from here — we are located on the Gateway to Glacier Bike Path, which connects to the Going to the Sun Road. That’s approximately an additional 18.3 miles, one way, to your journey. The road will likely be open to vehicle traffic, at least to Lake McDonald. But again, it depends on the time of year and ever changing conditions in Glacier National Park. If you leave from our office and bike to Logan Pass, you will ride a total of about 70 miles.
Overall, you should know that it takes about 45 minutes for a reasonably fit person to ride from Sprague Creek to Logan Creek, and another 3 hours to ride from Logan Creek to Logan Pass. Coming down is faster, but it’s still at least a half a day’s adventure to bike the entirety of the alpine section.
#3 What Are the Restrictions on Biking in Glacier National Park?
Starting June 15, the first 8 miles of the Going to the Sun Road are restricted to bicycles between 11am and 4pm, i.e. from Apgar to Sprague. As summer unfolds and the Going to the Sun Road opens fully to vehicle traffic, other restrictions go into effect. From June 15th until Labor Day, east-bound/uphill bike traffic is prohibited from Logan Creek to Logan Pass between 11am and 4pm. Check the park’s biking page for the latest rules and regulations here.
#4 Do I Need Bear Spray for Biking in Glacier National Park?
If you’re on a guided biking tour with us, your guide will have bear spray. If you’re not with us, we recommend carrying a can in one of the water bottle carriers on your bike — it’s always best practice to keep it handy!
You should also bring water, food, and layers — just like you would if you were hiking. Click here for our Glacier National Park Day Trips Packing List – Biking. And speaking of hiking, there will likely be hikers on the road – share the road, please.
#5 Can My Dog Go, Too?
Sorry, no. During the spring, pets are not permitted past the road closure gates, which are typically at Lake McDonald Lodge or Avalanche on the West Side, and at Rising Sun on the east.
#6 Are Electric Bikes Permitted on the Going to the Sun Road?
#7 What About Mountain Biking in Glacier National Park?
Glacier Park is mostly about road biking, especially on the Camas and Going to the Sun Roads. However, there are a few dirt roads, like the road to Kintla Lake from Polebridge, and to the old Flathead Ranger Station, that are fun on a mountain bike. We also like the route from Fish Creek to Polebridge, also a dirt road, called the Inside North Fork Road. This route is typically at least partially closed to vehicles, and offers a fun dirt surface to play on. Please ride responsibly and stay off Glacier’s dirt roads if wet. Just outside of the park, Desert Mountain is a popular mountain biking location. Also, here’s a great list of area mountain biking available outside of Glacier.
Other Biking in Glacier National Park Questions? Ask Us! 406-387-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org