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Plowing Begins In Glacier National Park

Plow crews work their way up Going-to-the-Sun Road in April 2015
Flickr user: GlacierNPS (PD)
Plow crews work their way up Going-to-the-Sun Road in April 2015

Plowing has started on Going to the Sun Road and other roads at Glacier National Park. Going to the Sun remains closed to cars past Lake McDonald Lodge, but hikers and bikers are now able to access 17 miles of the famous highway beyond that.

On weekends, and after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, when road crews aren’t working, hikers and bikers are allowed to venture further. Park officials say it takes an average of 10 weeks to plow and prepare Glacier’s roads for cars.

Snow is reportedly up to 10 feet deep in avalanche chutes at the part of the road known as "The Loop". The Camas Road and Grist Road are both open to vehicles. On the Park’s east side, Going to the Sun road is partially open to vehicles, from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun.

Many Glacier Road remains closed to cars until the third week of April to allow for wildlife migration. Chief Mountain Road is closed at the park boundary due to ice patches. Hiker and bicycle access is currently allowed on Rising Sun with no restrictions.

Limited foot and bicycle access is also being allowed on the Many Glacier and Two Medicine Roads. Park officials say people on the roads should be on the lookout for many types of hazards, and should consult the park’s website for frequently-changing restrictions.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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