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Biking the Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park

P. Marlin July 2020


The Going to the Sun Road is a popular road in Glacier National Park. The road begins at the Glacier National Park entrance, and traverses across the mountains and gorgeous scenery for about 50 miles to St. Mary's Lake. During the week of our visit, the Going to the Sun road was closed to vehicular traffic from Avalanche Trail, a few miles north of the Lake McDonald Motel where we were staying, to "The Loop," a further thirteen miles. Minimal traffic on the Going to the Sun road provided a great opportunity on one of the heavist traveled national park roads.

In anticipation of our biking excursion on the Going to the Sun Road, I reserved bikes at Glacier Outfitters in Apgar Village. I reserved electric bikes knowing that some in my family were not comfortable with enduring the distance on a regular bike. The afternoon before our trip, we stopped at Glacier Outfitters to sign the rental paperwork, as well as pick up bear spray, and rent a bike rack. Arriving at Glacier Outfitters around 7:45am the day of our biking trip, we packed up our bikes and returned to Lake McDonald Hotel to make final preparations.



A note about electric bikes, not everyone in our family rides bikes, so we could have never have completed this trip without these bikes. I only wish we had used the 'electric' part of the bike more often. For some reason, I thought we had to reserve the battery. There really was no need to reserve, we had plenty of power when our trip was over.

In all, we biked 31 miles, 15.5 miles each way. Going up was slow and arduous, however, the scenery encourages one to press on. Once we decided to return to the Motel, the trip down the mountain was very quick. Traffic had increased, so biking alongside cars from Avalanche Trail to Motel Lake McDonald was a little more intense.

Among the photos below, is a photo of the Going to the Sun Road West Tunnel during its construction in the 1920's. I am standing at the same location with my electric bike nearly 80 years later.


Leaving the Lake McDonald Motel.









The West Tunnel in the 1920's.

The West Tunnel in 2020.