National Park

Glacier National Park transitions to spring operations | national news

Despite persistent winter weather, Glacier National Park is preparing for spring and summer operations.

“While full park operations are still months away, visitors will see more and more recreational opportunities throughout April and May,” park spokeswoman Gina Kerzman said. in a press release.

This spring, the park is implementing hiker/mountain bike closures around avalanche zones and hazardous trail conditions.

A road crew hiker/cyclist closure will be in place Monday through Thursday on Going-to-the-Sun Rd where snow removal crews are currently working to clear the road. Starting Thursday, an avalanche danger zone closure for hikers and cyclists will be in place when road crews have completed their work.

Visitors to the park will not be allowed to cross the closing signage. Visitors who disobey the closure could face a fine of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.

This season the park runs the Grinnell Glacier Trail like the Highline Trail, closing both trails in early spring due to snow cover on steep sections just above the cliffs. These trails will open once the exposed areas have melted, the press release said.

The free spring shuttle for park hikers and cyclists returns this year. The shuttle will provide weekend service from May 7 to June 26, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., between the Apgar Visitor Center, Lake McDonald Lodge, and Avalanche Creek. The shuttle operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

From May 27 through September 11, vehicle reservations are required to access Going-to-the-Sun Road and the North Fork area via Polebridge Entrance Station. Advance reservations are available from March 2.

Additional reservations will be posted on Recreation.gov 24 hours prior to tour date. A reservation is not necessary to access other areas of the park.

On the west side of the park, Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently open to vehicles approximately 12 miles from the west entrance of Lake McDonald Lodge.

On the east side of the park, Going-to-the-Sun Road opens approximately 6 miles from St. Mary to Rising Sun.

Two Medicine and Many Glacier roads are closed at the park boundary. Hikers and cyclists can travel further into the valleys. Hiker/biker traffic currently ends at Many Glacier Hotel intersection while road crews plow.

The Inside North Fork road is closed between Polebridge Ranger Station and Fish Creek. Road access to Bowman and Kintla lakes is not yet open for the season. These dirt roads will open when conditions permit, but are subject to intermittent closure in the spring due to muddy conditions, according to the park’s press release.

The Camas Road between Apgar and the park boundary, and the Quarter Circle Bridge Road leading to the Apgar Lookout Trail are currently closed until the snow melts.

Campgrounds

Apgar, Fish Creek, Sprague and St. Mary campgrounds will operate on a reservation system beginning May 27 for most of the summer.

Apgar, Fish Creek, and St. Mary campsites can be reserved through Recreation.gov. Reservations for the rest of Apgar and Sprague Creek will be available beginning April 20.

Reservations are only available online. Additional park campgrounds not listed below are scheduled to open in June.

Frontcountry campgrounds scheduled to open in April and May include:

• Apgar Campground will fully open April 25 on a first-come, first-served basis and is currently open for primitive camping. From May 27, advance reservations will be required.

• Bowman Lake Campground opens May 17 on a first-come, first-served basis.

• Fish Creek Campground opens May 27 and will require advance reservations.

• Kintla Lake Campground opens May 27 on a first-come, first-served basis.

• Sprague Creek Campground opens May 10 on a first-come, first-served basis. From May 27, advance reservations will be required.

• St. Mary’s Campground is currently open for primitive camping on a first-come, first-served basis and will transition to non-primitive camping on May 14. From May 27, advance reservations will be required.

• Two Medicine Campground opens May 27 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Backcountry permit

All wilderness campgrounds – formerly called backcountry campgrounds – except in the Goat Haunt area, will be available if conditions permit and require a year-round permit.

The park received nearly 4,000 requests for advance reservations on March 15, 2022. The wilderness permit office will begin processing requests for advance reservations on April 17.

The remaining 30% of wild camping permits will be available to walk-in campers the day before or the day of their trip start date. The Apgar Backcountry Permit Center will open May 1 while Two Medicine, St. Mary and Many Glacier resorts will open May 28, and Polebridge resort will open May 27.

Boat inspections

Private boating will begin on May 8 for Lake McDonald, Lake Bowman and Lake Kintla with the opening of Apgar and North Fork aquatic invasive species inspection stations. North Fork-bound boat inspections will still be available at the Apgar Inspection Station.

Many inspections of Aquatic Invasive Species of Glaciers, St. Mary’s and Two Drugs begin May 28.

Concessions and Visitor Centers

All concessions in the park are expected to operate this summer. Select concessionary services will open throughout May, including accommodation, tours, catering and retail stores.

The Apgar Visitor Center will be staffed on weekends starting April 16, with daily operations starting May 14. St. Mary’s Visitor Center will be open daily starting May 28.

Glacier National Park urges all visitors to follow the CDC’s most recent guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Those interested in working for Glacier National Park should contact Park Administrative Officer Emily Keil at [email protected] or 406-888-7880.

For more information, visit the park’s website at nps.gov/glac/index.htm.