Bike Glacier National Park in the Spring—Sans Cars

The evening sun setting over Glacier National Park.

Photo © BackPackPhotography, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Spring is the best time to visit Glacier National Park on a bicycle. As the park service plows snow from Going-to-the-Sun Road, segments are opened to the public for bicycling and hiking while the road remains closed to vehicles. Each week in spring welcomes more miles of pavement cleared from both the east and west sides of the road over Logan Pass.

No matter how far you ride, the sights are amazing: gushing waterfalls, harlequin ducks bobbing on rapids in McDonald Creek, arched windows in the west tunnel framing snow-laden Heavens Peak, and grizzly bears scrounging for carcasses in avalanche debris. By early May, the west side vehicle closure usually bumps from Lake McDonald Lodge to Avalanche, making the ride to The Loop a nine-mile ascent. No matter how far you ride, the sights are amazing: gushing waterfalls, harlequin ducks bobbing on rapids in McDonald Creek, arched windows in the west tunnel framing snow-laden Heavens Peak, and grizzly bears scrounging for carcasses in avalanche debris. On Mother’s Day, loads of local families bike together, including children on tricycles.

After plows ascend the upper cliffs above The Loop in early June, riders with gumption can reach Logan Pass to enjoy it without the mayhem of summer traffic. Pending weather and plowing, the road tentatively opens to vehicles in mid-June, and the park service regularly posts updates on the road, plows, construction, and closures.

Shaggy mountain goats are a regular sighting in Glacier National Park.

Shaggy mountain goats are a regular sighting in Glacier National Park. Photo © Richard, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

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