Traffic Numbers Up on Going-to-the-Sun Road
WEST GLACIER, Mont. – Going-to-the-Sun Road successfully opened on June 25 and preliminary data shows a 41% increase in the number of vehicles on Going-to-the-Sun Road over opening day in 2019.
The seasonal opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road marked the beginning of a new phase of the ticketed entry system, designed to reduce vehicle congestion on the road. While the system is working well, getting the park close to maximum capacity without reaching the point of severe congestion and gridlock, park officials continue to evaluate and make changes to manage visitation levels.
Due to the ticketed entry system, park officials have avoided implementing West Entrance closures to relieve severe congestion. Data suggests that congestion and gridlock would have required the West Entrance to temporarily close at least 15 times from Memorial Day weekend through the end of June in the absence of the ticketed entry system. Overall, the number of vehicles on Going-to-the-Sun Road during the same period was up 20% from 2019 levels.
With the road open, the number of Going-to-the-Sun Road ticketed entry reservations available on Recreation.gov 48-hours in advance has increased. Tickets for the end of August are also still available for visitors planning trips later in the summer. Tickets are not required before 6 am or after 5 pm, and not required for other areas of the park.
The park is seeing expected changes in visitation patterns, with traffic more spread out throughout the day. Visitors can expect long lines and wait times at 5 pm when tickets aren’t required, which can be avoided by arriving closer to or after 6 pm.
July 1 marked the first day of operation for the park’s Ticket-to-Ride shuttle service. Tickets for the shuttle are still available and can be reserved on Recreation.gov 60-days and 48-hours in advance.