WEST GLACIER, Mont. [March 31, 2021] – Today, Glacier National Park announces the decision to implement a Going-to-the-Sun Road temporary ticketed entry system for the 2021 season. Going-to-the-Sun entry reservation tickets will be available at www.Recreation.gov starting April 29, barring any unforeseen delays.
The system will require visitors to set up an account on www.Recreation.gov and obtain a vehicle entry reservation ticket at ($2 nonrefundable fee) to enter the 50 mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) corridor at the West Glacier and St. Mary entrances between 6 AM and 5 PM from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Entry reservation tickets will not be required for those with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity within the GTSR corridor. Landowners with property within the GTSR corridor and affiliated tribal members are also not required to have a GTSR entry reservation ticket.
Glacier National Park saw record numbers of visitors in the last few years. This season is predicted to be one of the busiest on record.
“We have the making of a perfect storm this season,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “Not only do we have ongoing COVID-19 mitigations and reduced staffing, but we are also facing construction delays inside and around the park.”
In 2020, park officials implemented temporary closures 29 times in 25 days at the park’s West Entrance which at times resulted in backups along Highway 2. The ticketed entry system offers visitors increased certainty that they will be able to enter the park while reducing or eliminating the need for closures at the park’s west entrance.
“The goal is to maximize access while avoiding congestion that results in temporary closures of park entrance gates,” says Mow.
Numbers will be tracked each day and additional entry reservation tickets will be available if there is additional capacity. There will be fewer entry reservation tickets available prior to the full opening of GTSR. When the road opens, the number of entry reservation tickets available will increase. The date for GTSR opening is unknown at this time and subject to weather and plowing progress. The park plans to start plowing GTSR on April 5.
About two-thirds of the entry reservation tickets will be released for 60 days advance purchase on a rolling window, and the remaining entry reservation tickets will be released for 48 hours advance purchase, also on a rolling window. For example, on June 2 a visitor could purchase entry reservation tickets 48 hours in advance for entry on June 4. They could also purchase an entry reservation ticket 60 days in advance for entry on August 2.
The traffic congestion at Glacier National Park has been off the scale during the last several years. I am happy to see that the park administration is taking a proactive approach to this growing problem.
Malcolm R. Campbell
Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing