Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Glacier Park Gears Up For Summer Season

Glacier National Park road crews are nearing the final phase of snow removal on Going-to-the-Sun road. On the west side, road crews are tackling the Big Drift as well as removing snow from the Logan Pass parking lot. On the east side of Going-to-the-Sun road the dozer has pushed through the East Tunnel, however more snow removal is needed to reach asphalt.

The Big Drift is located east of the Continental Divide, on Going-to-the-Sun road. The snowdrift can accumulate upwards of 60-80 feet of snow as a result of blowing winds.

Once the Big Drift has been cleared, weather and road conditions permitting, it can be several weeks before vehicles will be able to drive the full length of Going-to-the-Sun road. Historically, the road opens fully to vehicle access between the middle of June or early July. In the following weeks, road crew will be cleaning-up debris which has fallen on the road, installing guard rails, preparing facilities, and assessing snow conditions.

On the west side of Going-to-the-Sun road, vehicle access is to Avalanche, 15.5 miles from the West Entrance. On the east side, vehicle access is to Jackson Glacier Overlook, 13.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance.

Hiker/ biker access on the west side is to The Loop, approximately 8 miles past Avalanche Creek, while the road crew is working. On the east side, hiker/ biker access is to Siyeh Bend, approximately 2 miles past Jackson Glacier Overlook, while the road crew is working.

To avoid congestion and minimize resource damage, visitors are encouraged to use the new free hiker/ biker shuttle from Lake McDonald Lodge to Avalanche. The shuttle operates daily from 10:00 a.m. –5:00 p.m. It can accommodate up to sixteen bikes. The shuttle is in operation until the Going-to-the-Sun road opens.

Visitors are advised to check the park's website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/ for plowing status, current conditions and hiker-biker access restrictions, which change frequently this time of year. Visitors may also visit the park's social media pages or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800 for current road and weather conditions. Please be aware of wildlife on park roads and report any bear or mountain lion activity or sighting, regardless of the location, to a park ranger.

Visitors are also reminded to use caution around water and snow. Streams and rivers in the park are cold, high, and fast moving. Always wear a life jacket when boating, and use caution when crossing or stepping near bodies of water. Hikers visiting some of the higher elevations in the park should expect snow, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. It is important to know the terrain you are about to hike or climb, and carry the appropriate equipment. When hiking may include snowfield travel, visitors should know how to travel in such challenging conditions, including knowing how to use crampons and an ice axe. It is also recommended to have extra clothing, appropriate maps, first-aid kit, water, and food.Always communicate to someone your planned route of travel and your expected time of return.

Sections of the Inside North Fork Road Are Now Open

The Inside North Fork Road is now open to Kintla Lake. The road to Bowman Lake is open as well. RVs and truck and trailer combinations are not recommended at either Bowman or Kintla Lakes due to the nature of the long, narrow, and winding dirt roads to the campgrounds. A section of the Inside North Fork Road remains closed between Camas Creek and Logging Creek due to road conditions.

Primitive, first-come-first-served camping is available at Bowman and Kintla Lakes Campgrounds at a cost of $10.00 per night. There are no potable water sources in the campgrounds. Campers are advised to bring their own drinking water. Vault toilets are available.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

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