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 used to close 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 has now implemented a reservation system for access to the road – and, indeed, the whole park.
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 (and other sections of Glacier National Park) *** updated for 2024 *** 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 three separate tickets needed:
1) Going To The Sun Road (West – Agpar – Entrance only)
Glacier National Park reservations are required to enter the Going to the Sun Road between 6:00 am and 3:00 pm via the West Glacier (Agpar) Entrance. Reservations valid for 1 day (a change from 2023, which was 3 days). Note that there is no timed entry requirement for the east St. Mary Entrance to the park in 2024.
In 2024, you can access Apgar Village amenities, including the Apgar Visitor Center, without a vehicle reservation. Lodging, camping (including front country developed campgrounds and backcountry camping permits), transportation, or commercial activity reservations originating in Apgar will no longer provide access beyond the Apgar filter check point!
2) North Fork
One ticket per vehicle is required at the Polebridge Ranger Station between 6:00 am and 3:00 pm to visit the North Fork area of the park. Reservations valid for 1 day.
3) Many Glaciers valley
Access to this area between 6:00 am and 3:00 pm also requires reservations. Reservations valid for 1 day.
Note that reservations for these sections are all separate and one does not cover the others.
Period reservations are needed for
The ticketed vehicle entry system will be in place:
- between May 24 and September 8, 2024 for the West Entrance to the Going to the Sun Road and North Fork area. Both these areas are on the west side of the park.
- between July 1 and September 8, 2024 for Many Glacier, which is on the east side of the park.
How to get entry tickets/ make reservations
1) The first round of the tickets are block released at 8:00 am Mountain Time each morning 120 days in advance, on ta rolling basis (a change from 2023) starting January 25, 2024 at 8:00 am MST.
2) A small number the tickets are released at 7:00 pm Mountain Time the day before, starting May 23, 2024.
Entry tickets are only available online at the NPS reservation system or on the phone. They will not be available at park entrance stations, visitor centers or park offices. Phone reservations will be available 8:00 am – 10:00 pm MST on 877-444-6777 (toll free); 606-515-6777 (international); or 877-833-6777 (TDD).
One thing to note is that more entry tickets will be issued each day than there are 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
Tickets to each of these four areas cost $2 per vehicle (and all its occupants).
All tickets are valid for one day only.
Note that this $2 is in addition to the park entrance fee and is not included in the national park fee.
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) You enter any areas requiring reservations before 6:00am or after 3:00pm. The entry ticket is only required for entry between 6:00am and 3:00pm.
2) If you enter the Going to the Sun Road at the east St Mary Entrance at any time or date.
3) You take a shuttle on the Going to the Sun Road from the Agpar Visitor Center at the west entrance. You can take the park shuttle from either entrance now that you can access the Apgar Visitor Center without needing a vehicle reservation.
Note: Although the NPS has said that “visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within the specified reservation areas can use proof of their reservation for entry in lieu of a Recreation.gov reservation to gain access to the portion of the park for which they have a reservation.”, they also said ” Lodging, camping (including front country developed campgrounds and backcountry camping permits), transportation, or commercial activity reservations originating in Apgar will no longer provide access beyond the Apgar filter check point.”
4) 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).
6) It is not necessary to make a reservation for the North Fork if:
- you are planning to camp there. The campground is first-come, first-served, but if you show up to the Polebridge Entrance Station and tell the ranger you want to camp that night, if there is a space available at that time, they will reserve it for you for you and let you enter without a reservation. Spots fill early!
- you enter before 6:00AM or after 3:00PM
7) It is not necessary to make a reservation for the Many Glacier area if:
- you enter before 6:00AM or after 3:00PM
- you have a reservation for a boat tour, horseback riding or accommodations in the Many Glacier area.
NOTE that if you have a reservation for an activity or accommodation, you will not need a reservation, but this only applies for that AREA on the day(s) of your reservation(s) only!
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).
In 2023, because you won’t be able to access the west side of the Going To The Sun Road before 6:00AM due to construction to get around the reservation requirement (this may change – check the NPS website for updates), if you are going to be staying on both the west and east sides, try to get a reservation for the dates you’ll be on the west first to maximize your chances of getting that reservation.
Remember, you have 15 minutes from when you place the first item in your shopping cart to check out, so you can Continue Shopping and try to nab more reservations for all the sections of the park you’ll be visiting.
If you miss out, book a boat tour or other activity (or accommodation) and/ or try again for the last-minute release.
Good luck and enjoy Glacier National Park!
Here is a simple summary of the steps to take to maximize your chances of getting a reservation for the national parks. You’re welcome to share this image on your site using this code and attribution:
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.
If you found this post helpful, please share the love and Pin it to your Glacier National Park board!
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 is a national park, camping and hiking expert.
He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and all of the main national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks.
Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.
As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.