Hikers and bicyclists will have Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road all to themselves for at least one more weekend.
Plow crews pushing through the final stretch of snow east Logan Pass have made an initial cut through the 70-foot-deep Big Drift, park spokeswoman Denise Germann said Thursday.
Workers also are clearing snow at the Logan Pass parking lot and visitor center, finishing guardrail installation and clearing out trails and facilities along the way, she said.
“The priority is getting through the Big Drift,” Germann said. “They need to continue to remove snow and open two lanes over the entire area in the upper elevations.”
During their initial push up Sun Road, plows only cleared one lane of snow in some places, so they need to go back and finish up before the road to the pass opens to motorists.
Because of this, park officials ask that those venturing beyond the vehicle closure at Avalanche Lake trailhead check day-to-day accessibility of the road by calling park headquarters at 888-7800 or checking the website at www.nps.gov/glac.
Motorists on the west side can drive as far as the Avalanche Lake trailhead, 15.5 miles up from the west entrance.
Over the weekend, hikers and bicyclists will have unlimited access beyond Avalanche toward Logan Pass, and the Avalanche Campground is available for overflow parking until the vehicle closure is moved up to Logan Pass.
Unlimited access also applies during weekdays when crews are not working, but Germann noted that crews may begin working extended hours as plowing nears completion.
Masonry at three spots near the Rim Rock area was destroyed by avalanches last season and the park is still determining a fix before vehicle traffic can be safely permitted.
The east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road will not open to motorists until June 19 at the earliest because of construction between Siyeh Bend and St. Mary.
Most other Glacier Park roads — Camas, Chief Mountain, Many Glacier and Two Medicine plus part of the Inside North Fork Road — are open.
Many of the park’s campgrounds opened last weekend for Memorial Day, and prospective campers can find information including maps of the sites, operating dates, current and historic fill times and available services by visiting home.nps.gov/applications/glac/cgstatus/cgstatus.cfm.
— Samuel Wilson / Daily Inter Lake