GREAT FALLS — Glacier National Park officials will implement and test a vehicle reservation system in 2024, beginning May 24 for the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road and North Fork and July 1 for Many Glacier.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Dave Roemer said in a news release this week: “Our balanced approach for the 2024 pilot reflects feedback from Tribes, the public, partners, and stakeholders, particularly regarding access to the Apgar Village area and Two Medicine. We also heard that knowing what park operations and access will look like sooner, rather than later, is important.”
One reservation per vehicle will be required to travel Going-to-the-Sun Road beyond the Apgar Village area between May 24 and September 8, 2024, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can enter before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation.
New in 2024, vehicle reservations will be valid for one day only, down from three days in 2023. Park officials note that data from 2023 indicates that only 2% of three-day reservations were used for all three days. Park officials note in a news release that by changing to a one-day reservation, consistent with other park areas, a greater number of reservations can be made available.
Also new in 2024, visitors will be able to access Apgar Village amenities, including the Apgar Visitor Center, without a vehicle reservation. Lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations originating in Apgar will no longer provide access beyond the Apgar filter check point.
One reservation per vehicle will be required at the entrance station between May 24 and September 8, 2024, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day. Visitors can enter before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation. There are no changes in the North Fork from 2023.
Many Glacier Valley
One reservation per vehicle will be required at the entrance station from July 1 until September 8, 2024, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day. Visitors can enter the valley before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation. There are no changes in Many Glacier from 2023.
New in 2024, visitors will be able to access the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east side beyond Rising Sun without a vehicle reservation. Visitors will also have access to the St. Mary Visitor Center and shuttle stop on the east side of Glacier National Park, as in 2023.
“We will be testing vehicle reservations proactively in areas where congestion most frequently occurs – the North Fork, Many Glacier, and through the West Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road – and will take a wait-and-see approach at other locations and manage adaptively if needed,” said Roemer. “In all locations, our goal is to learn how effective these systems are at improving visitor experiences and protecting park resources.”
Vehicle reservations and entrance passes
Vehicle reservations will be available at https://www.recreation.gov/, the Recreation.gov mobile app, or the Recreation.gov Call Center at 877-444-6777. Each of the specified areas of the park will require a separate reservation. Visitors will need to set up an account on Recreation.gov to obtain reservations. The only cost associated with booking a reservation is a $2 Recreation.gov processing fee.
Pursuant to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, vehicle reservations are not required for tribal members throughout the park.
Vehicle reservations will be available through two booking windows.
- A portion of reservations will be available 120 days or approximately four months in advance, starting on Jan. 25, 2024, at 8 a.m. MST on a rolling basis on Recreation.gov.
- New in 2024, the remaining vehicle reservations will be available at 7 p.m. MDT for next-day entry starting on May 23, 2024.
Park officials say that in addition to a vehicle reservation, each vehicle entering the park is required to have an entrance pass for any entry point into the park.
These passes could include any of the following:
- A $35 vehicle pass, good for seven days
- A valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass
- A Glacier National Park Annual Pass.
A vehicle reservation does not include an entrance pass, and the park entrance pass does not serve as a vehicle reservation.
Like previous years, 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.
As in past years, entry will be temporarily restricted in areas of the park that become too congested for visitor safety and resource protection. Parking at Logan Pass, Apgar Village, and other areas may be unavailable.
Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of free shuttles for hiker access to Logan Pass although waits for shuttles may be long depending on the time and location. Visitors are also encouraged to plan their visit outside of peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Visitors with service reservations (e.g., boat tours, lodging, horseback ride, guided hikes) in these areas will be permitted entry during temporary restrictions.
Visitors are encouraged to check the park website frequently for updates and additional information.
This will be the fourth year of piloting vehicle reservations in the park. "The pilots help test the effectiveness of different approaches to manage high traffic volumes within the park while delivering quality visitor experiences," the release states.
During an open comment period for 2024 Visitor Use Management Strategies, a total of 1,408 comments were received. Input from these comments has helped inform strategies for how visitors will access park areas in the summer of 2024.
The comments along with a summary report can be found on the park’s 2024 Visitor Use Management Strategy web page.