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West Glacier, Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road

The only road through the heart of Glacier National Park. 

Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed in 1932, and it is the only road that crosses through the heart of Glacier National Park in Montana, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

It is considered one the loveliest mountain roads in North America, offering some of the very finest views and the road connects to highways that will also take you into Waterton Lakes Park in Canada.

The road is also one of the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring. Up to 80 feet of snow can lie on top of Logan Pass, and even more just east of the pass where the deepest snowfield has long been referred to as the “Big Drift.” The road takes about ten weeks to plow, even with equipment that can move 4000 tons of snow in an hour. The snowplow crew often clears as little as 500 feet of the road per day. On the east side of the continental divide, there are few guardrails due to heavy snows and the resultant late winter avalanches that have repeatedly destroyed every protective barrier ever constructed.

The two lane Going-to-the-Sun Road is narrow and winding, especially west of Logan Pass. Consequently, vehicle lengths over the highest portions of the roadway are limited to 21 feet (6.4 m) and that means no recreational vehicles or trailers in excess of this length restriction are permitted beyond the two larger parking areas, each located at lower points dozens of miles below Logan Pass, on both the west and east sides of the parkway.

This road is also shown in the opening credits of the film The Shining, as Jack Torrance’s Volkswagen glides past St. Mary Lake and up the road, underneath a small tunnel and onward, presumably going to the Overlook Hotel for his job interview as a caretaker.

 

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