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First Timer's Guide to the Going-To-The-Sun-Road

Glacier National Park is one of the most scenic places in the US, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to one of the most scenic drives in the country as well! And that, of course, is the Going-to-the-Sun-Road (GTSR). You may have heard of this iconic road, but if you haven’t, don’t worry… You’re in the right place! Before we get into the guide, let’s first explain exactly what the Going-to-the-Sun-Road is. The GTSR is a 51 mile, scenic route that runs through the heart of Glacier National Park which is located in the northwestern section of Montana. Along the drive you’ll find some of the most scenic hikes and views in the park. In our opinion, you shouldn’t visit Glacier National Park (especially if it’s your first time) without driving this legendary route. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into everything you need to know for a successful time on the Going-to-the-Sun-Road!

*Be sure to watch our "Montana: 1 Day in Glacier National Park" travel vlog for a closer look at our time on the Going-to-the-Sun-Road!

The Details:

1. Entrance Fees:

Entrance to the GTSR requires admission to Glacier National Park which is $35 per vehicle (non-commercial car/truck/van), $30 for motorcycles, or $20 per individual (if entering on foot or bicycle). All of these passes are good for seven days. Or you can purchase an Annual National Park Pass and have access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites around the country. Passes range from Free for the Military Pass to $80 for the Annual Pass or Lifetime Senior Pass.

2. Going-to-the-Sun-Road Vehicle Reservations:

With more than 3 million visitors a year, the NPS has been forced to find ways to manage the surging crowds that Glacier has seen in the last decade. Part of that solution is requiring visitors that are wanting to enter the park and drive the GTSR during the summer months (between 6am & 4pm) to obtain an entry ticket (valid for 3 days). The entry tickets are free but do require a non-refundable “Reservation Fee” of $2. And while the cost isn’t a problem, obtaining a ticket can be. Tickets for the GTSR are very limited. At the time of writing this the NPS hasn’t made it clear how far in advance tickets will be made available, so be sure to check the National Park Service Site for updated information on the reservation process. Visitors with service reservations (lodging, camping, commercial tours, etc.) along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor do not need a vehicle reservation. And if you're reading all of this and thinking "This is too complicated" and all of this sounds like a big headache to you, then we’ve got some good news… There are a couple of ways too avoid the vehicle reservation process! Option one is to visit the park AFTER the final date of required ticket entry. For 2022 that would be any date after September 11 and before the GTSR closes for the season (usually mid-October). Option two is to enter the park BEFORE 6am or AFTER 4pm during the summer months. Tickets are not required during these times.