Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

What To Expect In Glacier Park: Fall 2020

Glacier Park Fall 2020 Expectations

Last week, Glacier National Park issued a news release about what to expect in Glacier Park during Fall 2020. Our big takeaways are: 

#1 No more potable water at Logan Pass after September 11, 2020. So be sure to fill up before you head up!

#2 Going to the Sun Road will close at the Avalanche gate on October 19, 2020, if not before due to weather.

#3 We’ll be rafting, hiking, fishing, and biking through October 15, 2020! Over the years, we’ve written a lot about what to expect in Glacier National Park in September and in October. Be sure to check those out.Here’s the full release — 

Glacier Park Operations Adjust for Fall Schedule

Prepare for limited services, vehicle restrictions, and closures due to changing weather and congestion  WEST GLACIER, Mont. [September 9, 2020] –  Operating hours for visitor services in Glacier National Park including campgrounds, backcountry permits, boat inspections, and concession operations begin to adjust now that the Labor Day holiday weekend passed, and the autumn season approaches.

Front Country Campgrounds

No front country campgrounds are currently open in the park. Fish Creek Campground closed Monday, September 7, 2020 as scheduled. One section of Apgar Campground Loop will open for primitive camping starting Friday, September 25, 2020. 

Fall in Glacier National Park. Lake McDonald from Fish Creek. NPS Photo.

 Campgrounds in primitive status have vault toilets available and fees are reduced. Potable water will be available in the campground through October 6, 2020. No campground reservations are issued, all camping is first-come, first-served. For current campground status information, visit the park’s campground status page.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping by permit remains available to visitors. The Apgar Backcountry Permit Office is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. through October 31, 2020. Backcountry permits will be issued until 30-minutes prior to closing. No reservations for backcountry permits are available. All permits are issued in-person, up to 24 hours in advance. Check the backcountry campground status page for current availability. 


Lake McDonald is the only body of water open to watercraft in the park. Boat inspection station hours are currently 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 7 days a week. Inspection hours will change to 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. starting September 27, 2020.

Concessioners in Glacier National Park

Many concessioner services will begin closing mid-September 2020, including lodging, food service, and retail shops: Belton Chalets, Inc. (1-888-345-2649 or www.sperrychalet.com or www.graniteparkchalet.com)Backcountry Chalets:Granite Park Chalet, closing September 13 (after breakfast)Sperry Chalet, closing September 13 (after breakfast) 

Sperry Chalet in August 2016

 Glacier National Park Lodges/Xanterra(Central reservations: 1-855-733-4522 or http://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/)Front country lodging, food and beverage services, retail, tour and transportation services:Lake McDonald Lodge & Camp Store, closing September 23, 2020 (after breakfast)Village Inn Motel, closing September 28, 2020 (after check-out)Rising Sun Camp Store, closing September 9, 2020 (at noon)Two Dog Flats Grill, closing September 8, 2020 

 Glacier Guides (that’s us!) (1-406-387-5555) or https://glacierguides.com/)Guided day hike and overnight backpacking trips (rafting, fishing, and lodging, too!)Closing Mid-October, 2020 (weather dependent) 

A sunny fall day in Montana is hard to beat. Photo by Denny Gignoux

  Swan Mountain Outfitters(1-877-888-5557 or www.swanmountainoutfitters.com/glacier)Horseback rides:Lake McDonald – September 20, 2020 (last day of rides, weather permitting)  

Visitors Centers

Visitor information services at Logan Pass Visitor Center continue daily through Sunday, September 27, 2020. The Glacier National Park Conservancy bookstore operating within Logan Pass Visitor Center will close September 27, 2020. Potable water will be unavailable at Logan Pass after Friday, September 11, 2020. 

 Visitor information services at Apgar Visitor Center continue daily through October 4, 2020, and then move to weekends only through the end of October, weather permitting. Restrooms and potable water are available at the Apgar Visitor Center plaza year-round.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Closure

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is scheduled to close at Avalanche Creek starting October 19, 2020 weather permitting. The section of the road between Rising Sun and St. Mary remains closed due to COVID-19 operating requirements.  

  Check the road status page and follow the park’s Twitter feed for most up-to-date information on road closures.  Autumn visitors to Glacier National Park will find cooler temperatures and changing vegetation colors. Visitors are encouraged to prepare for shifting weather conditions with potential for rain or snow, especially in alpine areas. The park is open year-round and recreational opportunities can be found during all seasons.  For additional information, visit the park’s website or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800. p.s. we’re happy to help, too! Give Glacier Guides and Montana Raft a call at 406-387-5555 or visit our website here.

And, you can read more about our advice on September and October in the park here –September in Glacier October in Glacier

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