/7 Things To Do On the Going to the Sun Road

7 Things To Do On the Going to the Sun Road

Looking for current Going to the Sun Road status? Click here to check the Park’s official road status page for current conditions. Read on to learn more about making the most of your Going to the Sun Road experience.

So, you’re planning a trip to Glacier Park? What is there to see along this Going To The Sun Road you’ve been hearing all about? Is it worth visiting the Logan Pass Visitor Center? Wondering about current Going to the Sun Road status? You’ve got questions. We can help!

7 Things To Do On Going To The Sun Road

The Going To The Sun Road cuts right through the heart of Glacier National Park, and driving along it provides some of the most scenic views available in all of the park. But why stay in your car the whole time? There are plenty of things to do along the Going To The Sun Road, and most don’t require more than an hour. So if the Going to Sun Road status is open, you should go adventuring!

#1 Picnics!

Pack a picnic and stop along one of the designated picnic areas at Apgar, Sprague Creek, Avalanche, Rising Sun and Rising Sun for one of the most scenic lunches of your trip!

Going to the Sun Road status picnic at Apgar

View from Apgar Picnic Area / NPS PHOTO / GABRIEL MORROW

#2 Check out the Visitor Centers

There are three visitor centers along the Going to the Sun Road: Apgar Visitor Center (located on the west side of the park), Logan Pass Visitor Center (located at the highest point of Going To The Sun Road) and St. Mary Visitor Center (located on the east side of the park). Here you can stop for bathroom breaks, soak in scenic views, pick up a guide book at the bookstore, and maybe even chat with one of Glacier National Park’s knowledgeable rangers. You might even get to meet our favorite ranger, Gracie.

#3 Take an easy hike!

For easy day hikes on Going To The Sun Road, explore these family favorites:

Sunrift Gorge – Located just a few hundred feet off Going To The Sun Road. Park near Mile 39 in the Sunrift Gorge parking area and walk the two hundred feet to Sunrift Gorge.

Baring Falls – After you get to Sunrift Gorge, continue for another .2 miles until you get to Baring Falls.

Going to the Sun Road Baring Falls

The mist from Baring Falls feels amazing on a hot day. Not that it’s ever really hot in Montana. NPS PHOTO / TIM RAINS

St. Mary Falls – Having arrived at Baring Falls, continue another 1.7 miles until you reach St. Mary Falls.

Going to the Sun Road St. Mary Falls

The power of St. Mary Falls makes you feel small, in a good way. NPS PHOTO / DAVID RESTIVO

Virginia Falls – Once arriving a tSt. Mary Falls, continue another .7 miles until reaching Virginia Falls.

Going to the Sun Road Virginia Falls

Virginia Falls is especially powerful in the spring and early summer. NPS PHOTO / TIM RAINS

John’s Lake Loop – A 1.8 mile roundtrip hike to see waterfalls and lake views. Located 1.3 miles east of McDonald Lodge along Going To The Sun Road, this is a very easy hike with only 250 feet total of elevation gain.

#4 Take a challenging hike!

For challenging hikes along Going To The Sun Road, check out these three favorites of ours:

Florence Falls – This 9.8 mile roundtrip waterfall hike will take you through beautiful dense forests and to Florence Falls. Park at the Jackson Glacier Overlook. The trailhead is on the eastern end of the parking area.

Siyeh Pass – An 8.9 mile roundtrip hike with 2090 feet of elevation gain, you’ll get unbelievable views of mountains and alpine meadows, including the Sexton Glacier. Located 2.2 miles east of Logan Pass, park at the “Siyeh Bend” trailhead.

Going to the Sun Road Siyeh Pass

Views from Siyeh Pass just don’t quit. NPS PHOTO / AMANDA MCCUTCHEON

Piegan Pass – A 9.2 mile roundtrip hike with 1850 feet of elevation gain, this is a gorgeous alternative to Siyeh Pass with slightly less elevation gain and equally stunning views, especially of Piegan Glacier. Located 2.2 miles east of Logan Pass, park at the “Siyeh Bend” trailhead and follow signs along the trail for Piegan Pass.

Going to the Sun Road Piegan Pass

Piegan Pass is one of the gentlest pass hikes out there. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s worth it! NPS PHOTO

#5 Take An Audio Tour of the Going to the Sun Road

As you drive along the Going To The Sun Road, make sure you download the new podcast from the National Park Service, “Going-to-the-Sun Road, Audio.” It’s available on iTunes. You’ll learn more about the history of the road, the history of the park, and the stories behind some of the park’s most legendary peaks and waterfalls. And the best part? It’s free!

#6 Walk The Trail of the Cedars

Located 6 miles east of Lake McDonald Lodge along the Going To The Sun Road at the Avalanche Lake trailhead, this .7 mile long roundtrip hike will take you on a boardwalk through the area’s majestic cedar trees. If you’re feeling up to it, continue another 1.6 miles to Avalanche Lake for more of Glacier National Park’s iconic views.

Going to the Sun Road Trail of the Cedars

Views of Avalanche Gorge from the Trail of the Cedars are stunning. NPS PHOTO / TIM RAINS

#7 Go to a Star Party at Logan Pass 

Amateur and professional astronomers bring their high-powered telescopes up to Logan Pass in the summertime. Sometimes there are “Star Parties” at Logan Pass during new moons. Check the park’s official website for dates! Thanks to the dark skies of Glacier National Park you’ll get to see nebulas, galaxies, and constellations that you probably didn’t even know existed. Did you know we’re the very first international park with an International Dark Sky Designation? This is thanks in part to Glacier’s nonprofit fundraising arm, the Glacier National Park Conservancy! We love partnering with them to help our park.

Logan Pass Star Party

Ain’t no party like a Logan Pass star party cause a star party just don’t stop! NPS PHOTO / JACOB W. FRANK

Other Going to the Sun Road Status Info You Should Know:

Going to the Sun Road Status

View from the Logan Pass Visitor Center / NPS PHOTO/JON RINER

How Long Does It Take To Drive Going To The Sun Road?

It takes about 2 hours to drive the entire Going To The Sun Road without stopping. But why rush? There are trailheads along the road, visitor centers, picnic spots, and scenic turnouts that will make your experience 10 times better.

Going To The Sun Road Status: Vehicle Restrictions

21 feet – Maximum Length

10 feet – Maximum Height

8 feet – Maximum Width

No vehicle or trailer combinations past Rising Sun on the east side or Avalanche on the west side.

Going To the Sun Road Status: Bicycle Restrictions

Bicycling is an amazing way to see the park, and we love guiding bike tours of the road when it is closed to vehicle traffic. Once it is open to vehicle traffic, the following restrictions are in place:

  • From Apgar Campground to Sprague Creek Campground bicycles are prohibited, both directions, between 11 am and 4 pm.
  • From Logan Creek to Logan Pass east-bound (uphill) bicycle traffic is prohibited between 11 am and 4 pm.
  • Start early! It takes about 45 minutes to ride from Sprague Creek to Logan Creek and about three hours from Logan Creek to Logan Pass.

Need a bike specced out for the Going To The Sun Road? We’ve got ’em! Just call us at 1-800-521-RAFT to reserve a woman’s, man’s, or child’s bicycle.

Going to the Sun Road bicycling

Biking along McDonald Creek on the Going to the Sun Road NPS PHOTO / JACOB FRANK

More Questions About the Going to the Sun Road Status?

We’re here to help. 406-387-5555. While you’re planning your Glacier National Park trip, don’t forget that Glacier Guides and Montana Raft offers rafting adventuresday hiking and backpacking, fishing trips, and so much more!

Going to the Sun Road jammer bus weeping wall

Iconic Jammer bus drives through the Weeping Wall on the Going to the Sun Road. / NPS PHOTO / DAVID RESTIVO

By | 2018-06-25T13:49:53+00:00 July 16th, 2017|

About the Author:

Southern expatriate. Montana devotee since 1989. As Marketing Director for Glacier Guides and Montana Raft, I strive daily to meet our mission of providing exceptional active travel vacations and experiences in and around Glacier National Park, while preserving and protecting Glacier's unique ecosystem using the best available ecologically sound practices. Otherwise, you'll find me hiking, backpacking, rafting, skiing, or cleaning up the trail of glitter my kids leave in the wake of their own daily adventures.p.s. I like guest blogging. Shoot me an e-mail for details.

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