KALISPELL, Mont. -- Glacier National Park has closed for the season the alpine sections of its main thoroughfare following continued winter weather.
The Daily Inter Lake reports the higher sections of Going-to-the-Sun Road closed ahead of schedule late last month after a snowstorm hit.
The road usually closes between Avalanche Creek and Jackson Glacier Overlook by the third Monday in October. Other sections typically close later in the season.
Crews reopened Many Glacier Road, Chief Mountain Road, and the portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between the foot of St. Mary Lake and Jackson Glacier Overlook following the storm.
Ice and continuing freezing temperatures kept road crews from reopening the alpine section of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Two Medicine Road also remained closed due to heavy snow.
The following was sent out by the National Park Service:
Due to continued winter weather, Glacier National Park has closed the Going-to-the-Sun Road in the Logan Pass Area for the winter season.
This section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed on September 29 due to a snowstorm that affected multiple park areas. The road typically closes between Avalanche Creek and Jackson Glacier Overlook on or before the third Monday in October, weather conditions dependent. Subsequent sections close as winter progresses.
Road crews successfully reopened Many Glacier Road, Chief Mountain Road, and the portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between the foot of St. Mary Lake and Jackson Glacier Overlook following the late September storm. The Two Medicine Road remained closed due to significant snow. Crews were also unable to reopen the alpine section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road due to significant ice and ongoing freezing temperatures.
Today’s snowstorm has temporarily re-closed Many Glacier Road, Chief Mountain Road, and the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Rising Sun. The weather forecast for the remainder of the week calls for rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.
Current road conditions, including closures, can be found on the park’s Road Status Webpage.
Crews are waiting for a more favorable weather window to remove 463 log railing pieces along the Going-to-the-Sun Road in advance of significant seasonal alpine avalanches. The steel backed 8-foot log sections require 12 bolts each to attach to the roadway, and must be removed by hand. Failure to remove them could result in significant avalanche damage to the railings or roadway. The railing removal project typically takes two or three weeks, however unfavorable conditions including ice coating the bolts and railings can extend that timeframe or make removal impractical.
Portions of the Howe Ridge Fire area continue to smoke, and are expected to do so into December. However, winter weather has allowed the park to lift some fire related closures, including popular trails like Rocky Point Trail, Johns Lake Trail, and the connector trail from Johns Lake to Avalanche Creek. Other areas remain closed, including North McDonald Road and associated trails, the Inside North Fork Road (not the Outside North Fork Road leading to Polebridge), and the Camas drainage area. Current trail status information can be found on the park’s Trail Status Webpage.