Okay Montana, Now It’s YOUR Turn at Glacier National Park
If going through the fuss of getting a vehicle reservation has kept you out of Glacier National Park this year, there's good news. The park's "pilot" ticketing system ends on Sunday, meaning you can make that "spur of the moment" day trip to Glacier.
However, some big construction projects are continuing.
And that will mean some delays on the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road, and losing access to a pair of popular fall destinations on the west side of the park.
No more tickets
Effective September 10th, the park's summer ticketing system, which was extended to other areas of the park this year, will come to an end. That means you can drive into the park any hour of the day, although be prepared to still deal with some crowds in spots like Logan Pass during the busiest times of the day.
The past couple of falls there's been an obvious uptick in local traffic in the park, with a majority of "Montana" plates after ticketing ends.
But big construction continues
GNP is completing a two-year project to rehab 13 bridges in the North Fork, Camas Road, and Chief Mountain Highway. That means a full closure of access to Kintla Lake and Bowman Lake as crews work on a pair of bridges on those roads. There will be no vehicle access past Big Prairie during the Kintla closure, and then work will shift to Bowman Creek. So there will be now vehicle access to the North Fork locations of the park until early October. However, hikers and bikes can get through.
Construction is also continuing along Going-to-the-Sun Road along Lake McDonald to Upper McDonald Creek this fall, and that could mean some delays. The road is scheduled to remain open until October 15th this year, unless winter weather arrives. Even then, hikers and walkers will be permitted when the road crew isn't working.
Additional GNP fall information
Other visitor centers and campgrounds are also switching to their fall schedules. Permits are still required in the backcountry.
Lake McDonald, Bowman, and Kintla Lakes are the only "vehicle accessible" lakes in the fall and remain open until September 30th (although the North Fork bridge construction will limit that access). Boat inspection stations will continue to operate for the next few weeks.
All concession services will close on October 1st.