Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

Tis the Season for Cycling in Glacier National Park

This post was originally published in 2016. Since then, we have taken our love of cycling in  Glacier National Park and added it to our guided services. When the Going to the Sun Road — or any other road in the park — is closed to vehicle traffic but open to hiker/biker access, we can take you on an adventure! If you’re looking for Glacier National Park bike rentals, we have those, too. Call us for more information! 406-387-5555

Cycling in Glacier National Park

In my opinion, whether you’re 5 or 105, cycling in Glacier National Park, especially on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, should be on your bucket list.  The Road is spectacular, but the traffic it sees in July and August can make bicycling a daunting experience. Logistics are trickier in the summer too, because bike travel is limited to early morning and late evenings. But what if I told you that you could experience the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road without having to dodge distracted drivers or stop for traffic jams? What if I told you that you could have long, peaceful stretches of this iconic road all to yourself?

GTTSR early season

Want this all to yourself? All you have to do is put on your bike helmet and start pedaling. Photo by Jacob W. Frank, Glacier NPS.

As the crews clear the road and getting it ready for summer traffic, their hard work clears the way for early season bikers, too. Once plowing activity has started, usually in late April, cyclists are welcome, even in areas closed to cars, when the plows aren’t in operation. This is generally after 4:30 on weekdays and anytime on weekends, but double-check here for details.

cycling in glacier national park

One of Glacier’s best kept secrets is early season cycling on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Photo by of Marc O’Brien (IG: marc_obrien).

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The long, steady climb up the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road gives you plenty of time to take in some of Glacier’s most stunning views. Photo by Marc O’Brien (IG: marc_obrien).

Cycling in Glacier National Park Shuttle System

Sure, this looks like fun, you say, but the prospect of hauling your bike the 15.5 miles from the West Glacier entrance to Avalanche, where the riding starts to get good, is a little overwhelming, right? Well, worry no more! Thanks to support from The Glacier Conservancy and Climate Ride, the Park Service is offering a free shuttle service for cyclists. Check here for details on hours and operation dates. This shuttle makes it easier for cyclists to access the Going-to-the-Sun Road’s unbelievable views. Also, the shuttle will help lessen congestion at Avalanche.

Glacier National Park bike shuttle

Thanks to the National Park Service, The Glacier Conservancy, and Climate Ride, you can catch a free shuttle from Lake McDonald Lodge to Avalanche campground, where you can start your cycling in Glacier National Park adventure. Photo by Denny Gignoux.

The shuttle is a small bus equipped with a bike trailer. The trailer can carry up to 16 bikes and has storage space for small wagons and bike trailers, so you can ride with your wee ones. You are expected to load your own bike and equipment. Then, the shuttle driver will check and make sure everything is secure before take off.

mother and daughter biking in Glacier National Park

The new bike shuttle makes biking excursions in Glacier easier for all ages. Photo by Denny Gignoux.

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It’s definitely a challenging ride, but I’ve never seen anyone smile bigger than a cyclist just arrived at Logan Pass. Photo by Denny Gignoux.

Take the Right Gear

Once your triumphant moment of glory at Logan Pass is over, check your gear. When you start heading back downhill, you will get chilly pretty fast. The combination of a sweat-inducing climb, the chill in the air from the remaining snow, and the windchill from a swift descent is the perfect recipe for hypothermia if you aren’t prepared. Additionally, the melting snow leaves the road wet, so you get sprayed with icy water. Take gloves, a thermal hat, rain gear, and an extra layer or two.  If you really want to take the edge off, pack a thermos of hot tea to stop and enjoy on your way down.

biking in glacier park

Early season cycling in Glacier National Park. Photo by Denny Gignoux.

Hope to see you out there!


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