Spring is on its way to Montana and Glacier National Park is preparing its landscape for visitors eager to see its stunning views and captivating wildlife. Snowplows and excavators have made their way onto the expansive property to clear the trails of their last remnants of winter.
So far, the crews have made their way through Camas Road, clearing the path for restoration teams to bring their equipment in for the rehabilitation project on Going-to-the-Sun Road. The west side is closed to drivers, bikers, and hikers until May 5th.
On April 1, crews started plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Lake McDonald Lodge to North Lake McDonald Road and to the Lake McDonald Ranger Station. This was to provide access for contractors who are replacing the Upper McDonald Creek Bridge. Plowing is still happening today.
A bridge provides access to the northwest side of Lake McDonald, connecting private homes, a ranger station and trails. A new bridge is being built about 30 feet upstream from the current bridge, resulting in changes to the roads leading up to it.
North Lake McDonald Road and the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be completely closed off during construction. This means no public access, including vehicles, biking, or hiking, and no parking at the intersection. Visitors planning to hike the Johns Lake Loop Trail will need to stop where the closed signs are located and won’t be able to finish the loop.
Bicycle paths at Apgar and West Glacier have been plowed and cleared for traffic. The Glacier Park Information Officer Gina Kerzman stated that the paths “are no longer snow covered or used as ski trails and are again open to leashed pets.”
Construction on the Lake McDonald Utilities Project will continue on Going-to-the-Sun Road from Apgar Campground, near the south end of Lake McDonald, until May 15, 2023. However, visitors are expected to be able to drive and recreate on Going-to-the-Sun Road up to Lake McDonald Lodge.
“After that, they can hike or bike during construction and are advised to use caution and watch for potholes and uneven surfaces,” Kerzman added.