Glacier National Park is often called the Crown of the Continent because of its incredible beauty. The main road in the park is called the Going to the Sun Road and is one of the most scenic drives in US national parks. Unfortunately, the road can often became a traffic jam due to the large number of visitors trying to access it, and the national park rangers often closed it for several hours a day in the busy summer months.
To alleviate this congestion and prevent the need for unannounced closures, the National Park Service is now implementing a reservation system for access to the road.
The reservation system can be a little complicated. I am a national park expert and I have written this detailed guide to the Going to The Sun Road ticketed entry to make your planning easier and help ensure you get on to the road and can enjoy the stunning scenery.
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Type of entry tickets/ reservations
There are two separate tickets needed:
1) Going To The Sun Road
Glacier National Park reservations are required for to enter the Going to the Sun Road between 6:00 am and 4:00 pm via the Camas Road Entrance, West Glacier Entrance, and once the GTSR is open to Logan Pass, at the start of the Rising Sun area, 5 miles west of the St. Mary Entrance.
2) North Fork
One ticket per vehicle is required at the Polebridge Ranger Station to visit the North Fork area of the park.
Note that reservations for Going to The Sun Road and the North Fork are separate and one does not cover the other.
Period reservations are needed for
The ticketed vehicle entry system will be in place between May 27 and September 11, 2022. Tickets will not be required at the St. Mary Entrance prior to the full opening of the Going To The Sun Road, typically in late June.
How to get entry tickets/ make reservations
Glacier National Park tickets start to go on sale in March 2, 2022.
There will be 4,600 issued for each day. The tickets will be released in two different allotments:
1) 75% of them will become available at 8:00 am Mountain Time each morning 120 days in advance on a rolling basis.
2) The remaining 25% of the tickets will be released at 8:00 am Mountain Time the day before each date.
Glacier National Park permits are only available online at the NPS reservation system. They will not be available at park entrance stations, visitor centers or park offices.
One thing to note is that although 4,600 entry tickets will be issued each day, there are only about 2,100 parking spots along the Going to The Sun Road, so getting an entry ticket doesn’t guarantee getting a parking spot. Try to get there early if you can.
Cost of tickets/ reservations
1) Going To The Sun Road
Tickets cost $2 per vehicle (and all its occupants) and are valid for three days. You can validate the ticket on any day of your three-day reservation; it does not need to be the first day.
Note that this $2 is in addition to the park entrance fee and is not included in the national park fee.
2) North Fork
Tickets also cost $2 per vehicle and are valid for one day only.
When is it not necessary to make a reservation for Glacier National Park?
This reservation (and fee) is not required in the following circumstances:
1) It is not necessary to make a reservation for the Going To The Sun Road if you have a reservation for:
- overnight accommodations at:
- Village Inn
- Lake McDonald Lodge
- Rising Sun Motor Inn
- Granite Park and Sperry Chalets
- Fish Creek, St. Mary, Apgar and Sprague Creek Campgrounds
- an in-park private lodging
- wilderness camping
- one of the following services offered between the West and St. Mary entrances of the park:
- boat rides
- guided hikes
- horseback rides
- bus tours
You will need to show proof of a reservation in lieu of your entry ticket.
Note that the North Fork area does not offer lodging, transportation or commercial services, and camping is first come, first served, so this exception doesn’t apply to the North Fork reservations.
2) You enter the road before 6:00am or after 4:00pm. The entry ticket is only required for entry between 6:00am and 4:00pm.
3) You hike or ride a bicycle. The entry ticket is only required for automobiles, not bicycles or on-foot entry.
Note though, that cyclists aren’t allowed on the west side of the Going to The Sun Road (Apgar turnoff (at the south end of Lake McDonald) to Sprague Creek Campground in both directions) and eastbound from Logan Creek to Logan Pass) between 11:00am and 4:00pm in summer (June 15 through Labor Day).
4) You take the park shuttle from the east (Rising Sun). The reservation checkpoint at the east end of the road is AFTER the parking for the shuttle, so you can enter the park and take the shuttle (be aware there are often long lines for the shuttle – especially to return at the end of your day).
NOTE that this is not true for the west (West Glacier) entrance because the reservations check point is before the start of the shuttle, so you can’t get to the shuttle without a reservation.
Tips For Making Reservations for the Going to The Sun Road, Glacier National Park
Read my post about which national parks require reservations for some insider tips on making reservations (and the low down on the other national parks that also require some form of reservations this summer).
Good luck and enjoy Glacier National Park!
Do you have any other tips for getting tickets for Glacier National Park? I’d love to hear them. Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.
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If you are thinking about traveling to some other national parks, don’t miss my guides to:
Which national parks require reservations
Angel’s Landing permits lottery system
Yosemite National Park day use reservations
Rocky Mountain National Park timed entry system
Acadia Cadillac Mountain reservation system
Arches National Park timed entry system
James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.
He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.