Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservations
Starting May 28, 2021, visitors to the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor entering from both the West Glacier and St. Mary entrances will be required to have a reservation for entry between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. This system will stay in effect through Sept. 6, 2021.
A reservation can be obtained from recreation.gov starting at 6 a.m. MST on April 29, 2021. Two-thirds of reservations will be available online 60 days in advance and the other third of reservations will be released online 48 hours in advance. The reservation costs $2 and is required in addition to a park pass.
The entry reservation is valid for seven days and visitors can enter the park on any day of their reservation to validate it. During that seven-day period, visitors can enter the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor as many times as they want. A photo ID for the reservation holder will be required in addition to the reservation confirmation upon entering the park.
Visitors to other areas of the park including Many Glacier, Two Medicine, Polebridge and Hwy. 2 will not need a reservation. If you’re entering the park on foot or bicycle, you don’t need a reservation either. If you have a reservation for lodging or camping along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, or if you have reservations for a commercial tour such as horseback riding or a guided hike, you don’t need an entry reservation for the dates of your lodging or tour. You’ll need to present your lodging or tour reservations, along with a photo ID, upon entry.
The entry reservations are hoping to curb the famous traffic on Going-to-the-Sun Road. (Download a PDF map)
“We have the making of a perfect storm this season,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow in a press release. “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, temporary closures were required 29 times at the West Entrance. The new reservation system hopes to alleviate that and allow visitors peace of mind that they’ll be able to access the park when they plan to.
Reservations won’t guarantee a parking spot at some of the more crowded parking lots like Avalanche, Logan Pass and St. Mary Falls. For your best bet at snagging a parking spot, enter the park early in the morning, or late in the evening. During Montana summers daylight lasts for 15 or 16 hours, so there’s plenty of time to explore if you get out early or stay out late.
Glacier Shuttle Ticket-to-Ride Reservations
Planning on riding the Glacier Shuttle? You’ll also need a reservation to ride in 2021. The Ticket-to-Ride system will start on July 1, 2021 or whenever Going-to-the-Sun Road opens for the season if later than July 1. The system ends Monday, Sept. 6. Beginning June 1, 2021, reserve your Ticket-to-Ride for a designated time slot between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. on your desired riding date. You’ll need to know whether you plan to enter the park through the east or west side, as your ticket will be specific to the east side St. Mary Visitor Center or the west side Apgar Visitor Center.
Your ticket time is the start of your one-hour ticket window. You must validate your ticket at the correct visitor center within one hour of your ticket time or your ticket will expire. You will receive a wrist band which will allow you to ride the shuttle unlimitedly for the remainder of the day. Shuttle service runs from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. each day. Stops are more limited this season, so be sure to check the shuttle schedule when planning hikes or excursions.
Staying inside the park at at Lake McDonald Lodge, Motel Lake McDonald, Avalanche Campground or Rising Sun Motor Inn? You can check-in 72 hours in advance at the visitor center on your ticket to ensure ease of riding the day of your reservation.
Shuttle riders with a Ticket-to-Ride do not need a separate Going-to-the-Sun Road reservation for their shuttle travel.
For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/gtsrticketedentry.htm.