Vehicle Reservations for Glacier National Park Go Online March 2
WEST GLACIER, Mont. [February 4, 2022]– Glacier National Park announces that vehicle reservations, formerly known as “tickets,” required to access Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) and the North Fork area via the Polebridge Entrance Station from May 27 to September 11, 2022 will become available on Recreation.gov starting March 2 at 8 am MST/10 am EST. Other areas of the park can be accessed without a reservation.
This will be the second year of the reservation system pilot, designed to manage high traffic volumes within the park and avoid gridlock. Glacier National Park is consistently the tenth most visited national park in the country. The 2021 reservation system pilot reduced congestion during peak hours and circumvented the need to close vehicle access to GTSR an estimated 35 times. This was achieved despite 2021 visitation numbers currently indicating the second highest visitation on record for the park. Avoiding gridlock also ensured emergency vehicle access and prevented severe vehicle back-ups at the West Entrance.
The North Fork also saw record-setting visitation. By August 2021, visitation to the North Fork was 20% higher than in 2019. In contrast to GTSR, the North Fork is managed as a “wilderness threshold zone” with emphasis on solitude, a sense of history, difficulty of access, and limited support facilities. In order to maintain these values, the park will manage North Fork visitation levels to eliminate the need to temporarily restrict access, improve visitor safety, protect sensitive resources, and provide quality visitor experiences.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road and North Fork vehicle reservations function as two separate reservation systems. Beginning March 2, 2022 at 8 am, vehicle reservations for both areas will be available 120 days in advance on a rolling window. Starting May 26, additional vehicle reservations will also be made available the day before the effective date.
The reservation system will require visitors to set up an account on Recreation.gov and obtain a vehicle reservation ($2 nonrefundable fee). Recreation.gov is the designated partner of 12 federal agencies for making reservations at 4,200 facilities and activities, and over 113,000 individual reservable sites across the country. While they are a close partner, their website is not operated by Glacier National Park.
Visitors may also make a reservation through the Recreation.gov call center. Contacting the call center does not provide an advantage towards securing a reservation but provides an alternative for those who don’t have access to the internet or are not as familiar with technology. Call centers are open every day from 8 am to 10 pm MST and the reservation fee remains $2. The following lines are available for callers:
- Reservation line (Toll-Free) - (877) 444-6777;
Reservation line (International) - (606) 515-6777;
Reservation line (TDD) - (877) 833-6777
Landowners inside the park (and their guests and employees) and tribal members are not required to have a vehicle or service reservation to access GTSR.
Details regarding when and where reservations are needed can be found below:
Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR)
- One vehicle reservation per vehicle will be required to travel beyond the West Entrance Station and the Camas Entrance Station from 6 am to 4 pm from May 27 to September 11, 2022.
- New this year, a vehicle reservation will not be required at the St. Mary Entrance. Once snow removal and road preparations are complete and GTSR opens to vehicle traffic to Logan Pass, vehicle reservations will be required starting at the Rising Sun area, located 5 miles west of the St. Mary Entrance, through September 11, 2022.
- The park will offer three-day vehicle reservations for GTSR rather than the seven-day reservation offered in 2021. The $35 Glacier National Park pass remains valid for seven days.
- Visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within the GTSR corridor can use their service reservation receipt for entry in lieu of the $2 vehicle reservation from Recreation.gov. This included reservation only applies to the date of your service reservation.
- The fare-free park shuttle will operate in the park this year on GTSR from Apgar Visitor Center to St. Mary Visitor Center. Unlike 2021, the shuttle system will not require a separate reservation and will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
- In addition to Fish Creek and St. Mary campgrounds, Apgar and Sprague Creek campgrounds will require advance reservations. Reservations are available on Recreation.gov on a 6-month rolling basis. At this time, reservable campsites for Apgar and Sprague Creek campgrounds have not been released on Recreation.gov. The park anticipates releasing these sites in late March/early April. Rising Sun and Avalanche campgrounds will remain first-come, first-served. The park anticipates all campgrounds to operate in 2022.
- The park is currently working on details for a utility project this summer that may require the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road to be closed at night, except for emergency vehicles. More details on this project will be forthcoming, but visitors should anticipate nightly closures from Apgar to Lake McDonald Lodge from June to September.
- New for 2022, one vehicle reservation per vehicle will be required at the Polebridge Entrance Station to visit the North Fork area of the park from 6 am to 6 pm from May 27 to September 11, 2022.
- North Fork vehicle reservations will be valid for one day.
- The North Fork area does not offer lodging, transportation, or commercial services, and camping is first-come, first-served. Campsites will be assigned at the Polebridge Entrance Station.
Other Park Areas
Vehicle reservations are not required for any other portions of the park (e.g., Many Glacier, Two Medicine, Cut Bank, or Chief Mountain Highway) but visitors are still required to possess a valid park pass.
- The park anticipates continued congestion at Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys. As in past years, entry will be temporarily restricted when these areas reach capacity. Visitors are encouraged to plan their visit outside of peak hours (10 am to 2 pm). Visitors with service reservations (e.g., boat tours, lodging, horseback rides, guided hikes) in these valleys will be permitted entry during temporary restrictions.
For more information, visit the Glacier National Park website.
- by Gina Kerzman, NPS -