West Glacier, MT – Spring at Glacier National Park means increased recreational opportunities, including hiking and biking beyond vehicle gate closures on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Spring weekend hiker and biker shuttle service starts May 11.
The hiker-biker shuttle will run every twenty minutes from Apgar Visitor Center on Saturdays and Sundays between 9 am and 5 pm, and on May 27 (Memorial Day). Shuttles, equipped with bicycle trailers, will stop at Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche Creek (once open to motor vehicle traffic).
The fare-free weekend-only shuttle will operate until the full length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens to motor vehicles. The road typically opens to Logan Pass between mid-June and mid-July, depending on snow and plowing conditions.
Donations to the Glacier National Park Conservancy support the spring shuttle service and volunteer bike patrol unit.
Here’s a roundup of tips for spring hiking and biking:
- Dress for change. Elevation gains mean temperatures and weather can change quickly. Avoid hypothermia by packing multiple layers of clothing suitable for wet, cold, and windy conditions.
- Be avalanche aware. Late-season avalanches can occur at higher elevations. If you see evidence of a recent avalanche like fresh snow piles on the road, do not cross avalanche debris. Turn around. More snow could slide. Hike or bike with a friend and have a plan for getting help. If you cannot avoid crossing an avalanche chute, move across one person at a time while another acts as lookout.
- Bike and hike defensively. Treat the road like a trail and watch out for paving cracks, black ice, and falling rocks. Use extreme caution when traveling downhill. While biking, wear a helmet, stay in your lane, and pull to the side of the road when stopping. Keep young riders close. Carry a repair kit and a bicycle light. Don’t forget bear spray.
- Know where plows and construction crews are working. Be aware that administrative vehicles and snow plows may be on the road preparing the area for public vehicle access. Know where you can hike and bike before you go to the park by checking the park’s road status webpage. It will tell you where the hiker-biker closure is during weekdays while plow and construction crews are working.
For more information on biking in the park, visit the park’s biking webpage.