Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

If The Going-to-the-Sun Road Is Closed

5 Things To Do When the Going to the Sun Road Is Closed

If I had a penny for every time that someone says that Glacier National Park is closed because the Going-to-the-Sun road (GTTSR) is closed, I’d be rich.  Unfortunately, this is a very common misconception. I promise you that there is more to Glacier than the Sun. So, here are 5 things to do when the Going to the Sun Road is closed!

1. Go For A Drive!

When the Going-to-the-Sun road is closed, know that there are other beautiful drives.  Try Highway 2 over the Continental Divide to Two Medicine Valley. Next, in the East Glacier area, explore Highway 49 (Looking Glass Pass) from Two Medicine towards St. Mary. On the west side, check out the Camas road to the Outer North Fork road to Polebridge.

Two Medicine, Glacier National Park.

Two Medicine. Photo by Guide Melissa Scott.

2. Go For A Hike!

There are fantastic long and short hikes that explore the park’s outskirts. Try easier hikes like Avalanche Lake by Lake McDonald, Aster Park in Two Medicine, or Red Rock Lake in Many Glacier.  If you are an avid hiker and want more challenge, try Firebrand Pass along Highway 2, Scenic Point in Two Medicine, or Iceberg Lake in Many Glacier.

Avalanche Lake is one of the best hikes for kids in Glacier National Park.

Photo courtesy Glacier National Park, National Park Service.

3. Go Rafting!

We typically raft along the southern border of Glacier from May 1 through October 15 each year. This Wild and Scenic river is home to fun and splashy whitewater or peaceful waters for a scenic float.  Explore the Middle Fork of the Flathead for a few hours or for a couple of days. Finally, if there are no raft trips going out, there are several public access points along both the Middle Fork and the North Fork that are wonderful places to have a picnic.

whitewater rafting Glacier National Park

Whitewater rafting Glacier National Park!

4.  Go Biking!

There are several roads that are great for riding a bike.  The Inner North Fork road out of the Lake McDonald area has been closed to vehicles for years now. It’s a fantastic place to take in some fresh air.  Depending on the time of year, there are several other roads that are closed to vehicles in the off season.  These seasonal roads include the Going-to-the-Sun road, the road into Bowman Lake or Kintla Lake out of Polebridge, and the Camas road out of Apgar. NOTE: Mountain bikes are best for the Inner North Fork Rd. and Bowman/Kinta, as they are dirt.

Glacier Park in the spring

We’re more likely to be riding bikes on the Sun Road in the spring than driving on it!

5. Go Fishing!

Glacier is bordered by two fabulous Wild and Scenic rivers, well known for their fishing and great scenery.  These waters are home to cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout. Time on the river is a relaxing way to spend your day.   Fall is the best off-season for going on a fishing trip. May and June are usually, though not always, too muddy.

Glacier National Park fishing

Fishing Guide Jamie Burkholder.

Bonus – If the Going to the Sun Road Is Closed, Check Out the Apgar Visitor Center

Finally, I threw this one in because it’s a great first stop to gather information about the park, current conditions, and restrictions. Even when the Going to the Sun Road is closed, Apgar VC is open most of the year. Check out current hours of operation here.

Now you have the inside scoop on what the locals do during the off-season here.  Trust me, you’ll love it as much as we do, even if the Going to the Sun Road is closed!

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