Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

Glacier National Park Vehicle Reservations

We are headed into the third consecutive year of Glacier National Park vehicle reservations (previously called ticked entry.) We chatted with the National Park Service and got all the ins and outs about what to expect and have outlined it here. You, lucky dog, you!

Let’s get to it!

FIRST THINGS FIRST. DO I NEED A VEHICLE RESERVATION TO GO ON A TRIP WITH YOU?

NO. If you’re going on an adventure with us, you don’t need an Vehicle Reservation Ticket to go into Glacier WITH us. If you plan to enter Glacier National Park, with or without us, you still need to buy a park pass.

Park Pass Prices

$35/Vehicle (This is a entrance fee for all persons traveling in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle (car/truck/van). The pass is non-transferable. Visitors can enter the park at any time, if the entrance station is not staffed, a self-registration area is available for purchasing a 7-day park pass)

$30/Motorcycle (This is a per motorcycle entrance fee. The pass is non-transferable.)

$20/Individual (This is a per person entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot, bicycle, or for individuals traveling together in a vehicle as a non-commercial, organized group. The pass is non-transferable.)

PLEASE REMEMBER: Reservations for our guided services do NOT equal an Vehicle Reservation Ticket for the Sun Road, because we meet you outside of Glacier, at our office on Highway 2. So, if you are going into the park WITHOUT us through the West Glacier, Camas Road or Polebridge from May 26th-September 10th, 6am-3pm or the St. Mary entrance by Rising Sun Campground, Two Medicine or Many Glacier beginning July 1st until September 10th from 6am-3pm, you will need an Vehicle Reservation. Specifically:

-RAFTING – If you’re going rafting with us, your reservation does NOT equal an Vehicle Reservation Ticket. You will need an Vehicle Reservation if you plan to enter the park at West Glacier for Going-to-the-Sun Road, Camas Road and North Fork Polebridge Ranger Station from May 26th-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm and at Two Medicine, Many Glacier and St. Mary from July 1st-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm.

*Protip* If you don’t get a vehicle reservation, you will have plenty of time to head out on a morning half day raft trip (whitewater or scenic) OR spend all morning on the water with us on a full day trip before The Park opens to all visitors at 3pm! Take a look at our whitewater and scenic launch times to plan for some time on the water before you hit The Park.

-HIKING/BACKPACKING/CHALET TOURS – If you’re going into the park WITH US you do not need a vehicle reservation. For example, if you’re joining us for hiking, backpacking or chalet trip, you’ll be driving into the park WITH us, so therefore you will NOT need a vehicle reservation. If you plan to visit the park WITHOUT us at West Glacier for Going-to-the-Sun Road, Camas Road and North Fork Polebridge Ranger Station from May 26th-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm and at Two Medicine, Many Glacier and St. Mary from July 1st-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm, you need a vehicle reservation.

-FISHING – if you’re going fishing with us, your reservation does NOT equal an Vehicle Reservation Ticket. You will need an Vehicle Reservation if you plan to enter at West Glacier for Going-to-the-Sun Road, Camas Road and North Fork Polebridge Ranger Station from May 26th-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm and at Two Medicine, Many Glacier and St. Mary from July 1st-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm.

-BIKING – If you’re going on a guided bike tour with us, you do not need a vehicle reservation, because you will be entering The Park WITH us. If you RENT a bike and plan to enter the park in your own vehicle WITHOUT us at West Glacier for Going-to-the-Sun Road, Camas Road and North Fork Polebridge Ranger Station from May 26th-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm and at Two Medicine, Many Glacier and St. Mary from July 1st-September 10th between the hours of 6am and 3pm, you need a vehicle reservation.

*Please keep our bikes on Glacier’s paved roads — some of these are pretty rough, and that’s okay, but we do recommend you opt in for our damage insurance.*

If you are renting bikes from us, your rental does NOT equal an Vehicle Reservation Ticket, even if you plan on biking on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. You need an Vehicle Reservation Ticket, because you are not entering the park with us

We run a bike shuttle, 7 days a week, until the road opens to vehicles. If you decide to use this shuttle, we will drive you INTO the park so you DO NOT need a vehicle reservation. Here’s more info about our bike shuttle.

-GLACIER GUIDES LODGE/GLACIER GUIDES GUEST HOUSES – if you’re staying with us, your lodging reservation does NOT equal an Vehicle Reservation Ticket, as our accommodations are located outside of Glacier National Park. You will need an Vehicle Reservation if you plan to enter the park at West Glacier, Camas Road and North Fork area of the park May 26 – September 10, 6am – 3pm. Additionally, you will need a vehicle reservation for Two Medicine and Many Glacier Valleys and St. Mary for the east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road beginning July 1st until September 10th from 6am-3pm.

WHEN DO VEHICLE RESERVATIONS GO ON SALE?

New for the 2023 season, vehicle reservations will be available through two types of booking windows. A portion of reservations will be available approximately four months or 120-days in advance, using a block-release system. The first block of advanced reservations will be available through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on February 1, 2023. This round of reservations will be available to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road or the North Fork for May 26 through June 30. The next release will occur on March 1, 2023, for July 1 through July 31, including the reservation areas for Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. On April 1, 2023, reservations will be available for all areas for August 1 through August 31. On May 1, 2023, reservations will be available for all areas for September 1 through September 10. Like last year, a portion of reservations for all areas of the park will be available on a rolling basis at 8 a.m. 24-hours in advance.   

WHAT PARK ENTRANCES WILL REQUIRE A RESERVATION?

Glacier National Park will require vehicle reservations in Summer 2023 to access Going-to-the-Sun Road via the West Entrance and the North Fork area of the park May 26-September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additionally, vehicle reservations will be required for Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park from July 1-September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

HOW MANY DAYS WILL MY RESERVATION BE GOOD FOR?

West Entrance for Going-to-the-Sun Road: 3 days

Camas Road: 3 days

Polebridge Ranger Station: 1 day

Two Medicine and Many Glacier: 1 day

St. Mary east entrance at Rising Sun Campground: 3 days

WHAT DATE RANGE AND TIME OF DAY REQUIRES VEHICLE RESERVATIONS?

Going-to-the-Sun Road via the West Entrance and the North Fork area of the park May 26-September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additionally, vehicle reservations will be required for Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park from July 1-September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

WHAT CAMPGROUNDS WILL REQUIRE ADVANCED RESERVATION?

As far as we know, you’ll need advanced reservations to camp in Apgar, Sprague Creek, Fish Creek and St. Mary. This could change since Two Medicine and Many Glacier have entered the picture and we will update you as soon as we receive more information.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ROAD CONSTRUCTION?

Visitors should anticipate up to a 30-minute wait due to construction on Going-to-the-Sun Road along Lake McDonald starting in June. Additional details about construction will be posted on the park website as they become available. Entry to Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance before the 6 a.m. reservation period will not be possible due to construction activities. To avoid congestion-related delays, visitors are encouraged to use the St. Mary Entrance to access Going-to-the-Sun Road, including popular attractions such as Logan Pass and Avalanche.   

For those that love to get into the park before 6am or want to drive through after 4pm, be mindful of this project! If the road closes before you leave, you’ll either have to drive all the way around to exit or plan on watching the stars from The Lake McDonald Lodge parking lot all night. There will be an opportunity for guests to leave and enter the park through the Apgar–>Lake Mcdonald route at 12am.

WHAT IF I HAVE AN EXISTING RESERVATION WITH A LODGE, CAMPING, TRANSPORTATION OR COMMERCIAL SERVICE?

Visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, Many Glacier, or Two Medicine can use their reservation for entry in lieu of a $2 reservation to gain access to the portion of the park for which they have a reservation.  

Remember: Regardless of if you have an existing hotel or campground reservation, a trip booked with us or a vehicle reservation, YOU ALWAYS NEED A PARK PASS. This is not the same thing as a vehicle reservation, they are two separate things. The Park pass is required to enter any National Park in the United States. The vehicle reservation is to prevent congestion and gridlock throughout The Park. Park passes are $20/car and last for 7 days. These do not require reservations. 

WHATS THE DEAL WITH THE FARE FREE SHUTTLE THIS YEAR?

A fare-free shuttle service is available at shuttle stops along Going-to-the-Sun Road between Apgar and St. Mary Visitor Centers. Shuttle service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Shuttles are wheelchair-accessible.
  • Smoking, pets, and open alcohol containers are prohibited.
  • Bear spray must be safely secured to prevent accidental discharge.
  • Most shuttles have bike racks.

There are also several companies (including Glacier Guides) that will be operating hiker/biker shuttles. Here is a very helpful map from The Park that includes stops, trails and other points of interest.

HOW DO I GET A RESERVATION?

  • First, go ahead and set up an account on recreation.gov. There is an app for recreation.gov, too. And you can call, too –Call centers are open every day of the week from 8am MDT to 10pm MDT. The following lines are available for callers:
    • Reservation line (Toll-Free) – (877) 444-6777;
    • Reservation line (International) – (606) 515-6777;
    • Reservation line (TDD) – (877) 833-6777.
  • Next, figure out which day you’d like to drive the Sun Road or the North Fork area of the park, and determine when to put in for your Entry Reservation Ticket, i.e. 120 days prior. Count carefully. Make yourself a reminder!
  • Vehicle reservations will be available through two types of booking windows. A portion of reservations will be available approximately four months or 120-days in advance, using a block-release system. The first block of advanced reservations will be available through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on February 1, 2023. This round of reservations will be available to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road or the North Fork for May 26 through June 30. The next release will occur on March 1, 2023, for July 1 through July 31, including the reservation areas for Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. On April 1, 2023, reservations will be available for all areas for August 1 through August 31. On May 1, 2023, reservations will be available for all areas for September 1 through September 10. Like last year, a portion of reservations for all areas of the park will be available on a rolling basis at 8 a.m. 24-hours in advance.   

Now that you have all of that information, time to get ahold of us to plan your Glacier National Park getaway for Summer 2023. We can’t wait to see you!

As always, don’t hesitate to check out our website, or send us an email at Info@glacierguides.com with any additional questions or to find out more about the Summer 2022 Ticketed Entry system and what makes it different from last year. And, if you have more questions that weren’t answered in this blog post, visit the Glacier National Park website or our FAQ for all things concerning Ticketed Entry at GNP.

The Glacier Guides and Montana Raft Team

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