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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Glacier Park's Western Entrance To Open June 8

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

Glacier National Park announced Tuesday it will reopen the western portion of the park to visitors June 8.

Eastern gates on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation will stay closed as COVID-19 restrictions there remain in place through the end of the month.

In a press release, the park says that starting next week its western gate will open to visitors until 4:30 p.m., giving visitors access to Apgar and Going-to-the-Sun Road up to Lake McDonald.

Hiker and biker access to the upper portions of Going-to-the-Sun will be available, as will trail access.

Eastern gates to the park will remain closed and the park says it’s working with the Blackfeet Tribe to determine when they will open. Other services such as campgrounds, hotels and visitor centers will open later in the season. Other services such as the park shuttle will not operate this summer. 

What will be open beginning June 8?

  •  On Monday, June 8 the park will open the west gate entrance at West Glacier. The gate will be open until 4:30 pm each day until operations are extended.
  •  Visitors will be able to access Apgar and Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as Lake McDonald Lodge.
  •  Going-to-the-Sun will open to hiker/biker traffic as conditions allow. Check the park website for updates.
  • Visitors will be able to access restrooms and trails that are accessible from open park roads.
  • Private businesses in Apgar Village may decide to operate.
  • The park is targeting to have personal boating on Lake McDonald and aquatic invasive species inspection stations open. Check the park website for updates.

What will remain closed until later phases of the plan?

  • East entrances from the Blackfeet Reservation will remain closed. The park is consulting with the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council to establish reopening dates for entrances from the reservation.
  • Visitor Centers and Ranger Stations will remain closed until later in the season.
  • Overnight accommodations will be unavailable until later in the season.
  • Campgrounds, backcountry permits, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, and visitor centers will remain closed. These services and/or facilities will open when safe and appropriate mitigation measures are in place.
  • Hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, and ranger programs will remain closed. These services and/or facilities will reopen when health conditions allow.
  • Visitor Transportation Service (shuttles) will not be offered this season due to social distancing requirements in according with Center for Disease guidance on transit.

Visitors should come prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance by practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible. People who are sick should stay home and not visit the park. The CDC has provided specific guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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