Weather rules the roost in Glacier National Park. As such, the Park announced Tuesday it closed the alpine sections of Going-to-the-Sun Road for the winter.
On the west side, the road remains open to Avalanche Creek, though it will close down to Apgar temporarily beginning next week, as the park adds another culvert to the road. The road will be closed from Oct. 15-19 and should reopen after that.
The upper sections of the Sun Road first closed Sept. 29 due to a snowstorm. The road typically closes between Avalanche Creek and Jackson Glacier Overlook on or before the third Monday in October, depending on weather conditions. Subsequent sections close as winter progresses.
Monday’s snowstorm has temporarily re-closed Many Glacier Road, Chief Mountain Road, and the east side of the Sun Road at the foot of St. Mary Lake. The weather forecast for the remainder of the week calls for rain, snow and freezing temperatures.
Current road conditions, including closures, can be found on the park’s Road Status Webpage.
Crews are waiting for a more favorable weather window to remove 463 log railing pieces along the Sun Road in advance of significant seasonal alpine avalanches.
The steel-backed, 8-foot log sections require 12 bolts each to attach to the roadway, and must be removed by hand. Failure to remove them could result in significant avalanche damage to the railings or roadway.
The railing removal project typically takes two or three weeks, however unfavorable conditions including ice coating the bolts and railings can extend that timeframe or make removal impractical.
Portions of the Howe Ridge Fire area continue to smoke, and are expected to do so into December. However, winter weather has allowed the park to lift some fire related closures, including popular trails like Rocky Point Trail, Johns Lake Trail, and the connector trail from Johns Lake to Avalanche Creek.
Other areas remain closed, including North McDonald Road and associated trails, the Inside North Fork Road (not the Outside North Fork Road leading to Polebridge), and the Camas drainage area.