Going to the Sun Road

Glacier National Park Attractions

Going to the Sun Road

Going to the Sun Road is a 53 mile road that begins in West Glacier, and ends in St. Mary.

The roadway traverses the high mountains of Glacier National Park along steep alpine drops, and crosses Logan’s Pass at its highest point, though Logan Pass itself is the lowest elevation pass across the Continental Divide within the Park.

As the sole route connecting the east and west sides of the part, it provides visitors with spectacular views of a truly remarkable place.

The roadway across the steep and rocky terrain was a “nearly impossible” project that took nearly 20 years to construct. To this day, it continues to be re-built on an annual basis along the alpine section.

This incredible scenic route has been called an engineering marvel, and is the only roadway to ever be designated as both a National Historic Landmark, and a National Civil Engineering Landmark.

The Going to the Sun Road was designed to have minimal impact on both the physical and aesthetic nature of the Park. Rather than constructing a series of switchbacks leading up to Logan Pass, it was decided that the path should follow the natural lay of the land along the steep banks leading up to Logan’s Pass, and along the face of the Garden Wall, thus preserving the view of the Logan Creek Valley below.

To accomplish this task, it was necessary to construct multiple retaining walls, culverts, and bridges to ensure both the safety and longevity of the Going to the Sun Road. All equipment and supplies, including lumber, steel, compressors, and culverts were packed in by horse, or dragged in by sleds. Pack trips to the upper camps often took a full day. During construction, workers, horses, and dozers occasionally went over steep and unstable cliffs; however, all-in-all, there were very few fatalities.

The west side route begins at West Glacier, passes through Apgar, and along McDonald Lake. There are several points of interest along this motor route, including Apgar Village, Avalanche Creek and Avalanche Lake, the Trail of the Cedars, Lake McDonald Lodge, the West Tunnel, the Weeping Wall, the Triple Arches, the Garden Wall, and Bird Woman Falls.

Campgrounds and picnic areas on the west side include Apgar Campground and Sprague Creek Campground. Popular family hiking areas include the hike to Avalanche Lake, and the wheelchair accessible Trail of the Cedars hike.

The east side route begins at St. Mary’s and continues upward to Logan’s Pass, where it meets the west side route. Points of interest along the east route include the East-Side Tunnel, Lunch Creek, Siyeah Bend, Jackson Glacier, and St. Mary Lake.

Campground on the east side include Rising Sun Campground and St. Mary Campground. St. Mary is one of 2 campgrounds in the Park that accept reservations. All other campgrounds are first-come, first-serve.

Your drive across Going to the Sun Road may take from a few hours to all day or more than a day, depending on how much time you spend stopping along the way at points of interest. Keep in mind that there is much to see beyond the stops located directly along the roadway! There are many Glacier Park hiking trails that can take you far into the back country to experience additional wonders, including alpine lakes, meadows, waterfalls, and wildlife.

Thanks for visiting the Going to the Sun Road page.

For more information about Glacier Park Vacations,
Visit our other pages!

Montana Vacation Hot Spots
Best Montana Family Vacations
Montana Vacation Fun