With cold and snowy weather in the forecast, Glacier National Park has begun preparing for the winter season.
According to the park, road crews have begun installing snow poles in the alpine section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road will close in the alpine section the morning of Oct. 15, meaning that Oct. 14 is the last day to drive the road in its entirety before the alpine section closes for the winter. Once the alpine section of the road closes, crews will take down just under a mile of removable guardrail in eight foot sections to protect them from avalanches that cross the road all winter long, along with other winterization activities.
The park closes the Going-to-the-Sun Road in segments for the winter. The first segment to close is typically between Avalanche Creek on the west side and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. That closure typically occurs on or before the third Monday in October, weather conditions dependent. This year, a construction project will briefly close the road at the foot of Lake McDonald from Oct. 15-19, rather than Avalanche Creek. The road then closes at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side and the “1.5 mile gate” just past the St. Mary Campground turnoff on the east side on Dec. 15, weather conditions permitting.
Most concessioner operated services including hotel accommodations, horseback rides, guided hikes and boat tours have all ended. Sun Tours and Red Bus Tours will continue through mid-October.
Village Inn will close Oct. 1.
Many campgrounds have closed or have entered primitive status, which means that no running water is available. The only fully operational campground remaining for the season is the Apgar Campground. It will enter primitive status on Oct. 9.
The boating season also is coming to a close. All waters east of the Continental Divide will close to boating on Oct. 1. West side waters will close on Nov. 1. The Apgar boat inspection station will be staffed every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in October. From Oct. 14 to Oct. 31, the station will be staffed by law enforcement rangers and may be intermittently closed due to medical emergencies or other law enforcement priorities. Similar to 2018, west side waters will reopen to boating in May of 2019 and east side waters will reopen in early June of 2019. Precise dates will be released in the early spring.