WEST GLACIER – Glacier National Park has begun preparing for the quieter winter season.
Most concessioner-operated services including hotel accommodations, horseback rides, guided hikes and boat tours have all ended while the Sun Tours and Red Bus Tours will continue through mid-October.
National Park Service ranger-guided programs will continue into the fall and winter. Check the park’s website for scheduled activities.
The boating season is coming to a close. All waters east of the Continental Divide closed to boating on Monday, October 1. Meanwhile, west-side waters including Lake McDonald, Bowman Lake, and Kintla Lake, will close on November 1.
The Apgar boat inspection station will be staffed every day from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. in October. However, between October 14 and October 31, the station will be staffed by law enforcement rangers and may be intermittently closed due to medical emergencies or other law enforcement priorities.
Many campgrounds have closed or have entered primitive status, which means that no running water is available. The only fully operational campground remaining for the season is the Apgar Campground which will enter primitive status on October 9. More information can be found on the park’s Campground Status webpage.
Road crews have begun installing snow poles in the alpine section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road will close in the alpine section the morning of October 15.
Park officials note that the Going-to-the-Sun Road in segments for the winter. The first segment to close is typically between Avalanche Creek on the west side and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. That closure typically occurs on or before the third Monday in October, depending on the weather conditions.
This year, a construction project will briefly close the road at the foot of Lake McDonald from October 15 until October 19, rather than Avalanche Creek.
The road then closes at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side and the “1.5 mile gate” just past the St. Mary Campground turnoff on the east side on December 15, weather conditions permitting.
Visitors traveling to the park for the later fall and winter months should plan on dressing warmly and prepare to be more self-sufficient as some visitor services in and immediately adjacent to the park will be closed for the season.