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Glacier in June?

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Glacier in June?

Old 08-17-18, 01:38 PM
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Glacier in June?

I don't think this belongs in this forum because I am not doing a tour but I figure where are a probably a higher number of knowledgeable folks here.

I have a few days booked at a hotel first week of June. I wanted to take advantage of the roads being closed to cars. Now I realize it is impossible to predict what happens next year so I am just looking for a guess. at this point. I was wondering how far up the Going to the Sun road will be cleared the first week of June. How much do they usually get cleared by that time of year?
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Old 08-17-18, 02:31 PM
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Spin -

I've biked Glacier a dozen or more times.
Haven't managed to do it without cars - but have done Yellowstone without cars.
It really is a crap-shoot.

Going to the Sun Road has opened anywhere from late May to early July.
https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/...-6-26-2017.pdf

This year it opened on June 23rd after more than 300 inches of snow over the winter.
It hasn't opened before June 15th since 2005.

Rarely do they allow you to do any through biking on the closed GTTS even if the plowing is completed.
Often the snow slopes remain unstable and avalanches are still possible.
The closure gates are usually at Big Bend on the west side and Siyeh Bend on the east side.
You can usually bike a mile or two past the gates, at most.

Also, early June is hardly summer in Glacier - in fact the weather can be pretty nasty.
Freezing night temps can still occur and melt water can make for slick roads.
It's really hard to predict - anywhere from 30F to 85F. Sunny to socked in.

The east side gives you far more paved options for touring when GTTS is closed.
You can bike down to Two Medicine - a truly magical area.
Or you can bike up to Many Glacier - a bit busier, but really nice, too.

On the west side, US 2 is nothing to write home about - limited scenery and moderate traffic.
Inside North Fork Road is unpaved and has been closed for some time - bikes allowed. usually - but muddy in spring.
Outside North Fork Road heading up to Polebridge is partly paved but has moderate local traffic.
It has better maintenance than the park road, but can also be muddy in late spring rains.

If I had to guess, you might have a two-day window where you could cross Logan Pass before the road officially opens.
There is no way to predict when those days occur - some years not at all.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-17-18, 02:59 PM
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I don't want to cross Logan Pass. My plans are to base camp at a motel in West Glacier. Ride up GTTS as far as I feel comfortable. I won't be touring. This is sort of a test for a full tour. I don't know how my body will react to altitude (yeah I know it is not that high but still higher then I have ridden) and not sure if I will be comfortable with the drop offs.

The problem with east Glacier is getting a bike there. Many Glacier is out of the question aside of riding there or renting a car. And I don't think you can rent a car or a

How is this for a plan? Spend a day or two in West Glacier. Ride the GTTS. Jump on the Empire Builder to East Glacier. Stay in a motel in East Glacier. Do a day ride to Two Medicine (only ten miles each way). Then take the Empire Builder back home (with the bike)

What is the road like to Two Medicine?
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Old 08-17-18, 05:43 PM
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Last year I went up the first day it opened to cars beyond Avalanche Campground. That was 6/21. Prior to that, it was open to bikes all the way to the pass. When it opened to bikes to the pass I don't know. First week in June could be cold and wet.

Have you mapped out the route to see how far it things are from W. Glacier? From the junction with U.S. 2 its 16.5 miles just to Avalanche Campground. You are not going to get the really spectacular scenic views until you get a decent way beyond that point. Having ridden the west side four times, I wouldn't risk my time or money going to the park that early to ride only to be limited to the section to Avalanche.

From U.S. 2, the ride on MT 49 and Tow Medicine Rd. is 11.4 miles with 851' of climbing according to RWGPS. Not super hilly, but not flat.
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Old 08-17-18, 06:38 PM
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They have a bike shuttle that runs from Apgar to I think Avalanche. It runs before during the car opening season.

Thanks for the tips on weather. Should I wait to after Labor Day? I think open to cars but relaxed bike rules. My worry too late in the summer is fires. Lake McDonald Resort has canceled all stay from now till end of season because of fires.

RidewithGPS profile does not look two bad from East Glacier to bad. Looks like most of the climbing is at he very end around 5-6% for about a mile.
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Old 08-17-18, 07:47 PM
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Spin -

So you are coming out via Amtrak.
They stop at East Glacier (summer only), Essex (on US 2 & remote), and West Glacier.
By taking Amtrak, you should have moderate altitude adjustment already.
And even Logan Pass is not all that high. You will be under 5000 ft. most of the time.

In early June the closure gates may be lower - although biking up to the Loop or Siyeh is likely.

If you must pick a side, I would do the east side.
There is a shuttle that runs from East Glacier to St. Mary - don't know how early in June they start up.
https://www.glacierparkcollection.co...-side-shuttle/
And there is a shuttle from St. Mary to Many Glacier.
Shuttles
Not to mention the famous red jammer buses.

The truly spectacular lake view are along St. Mary Lake - not Lake McDonald.
If you were to arrive at East Glacier (in the evening) you do do an out-and-back to Many Glacier on Day 1.
Then spend the remainder of your time based in St. Mary.
(The ride from from Two Medicine - 32 miles on Hwy 49 & US 89 - is pretty tough.)
A morning ride from St.M west on GTTS usually has little wind, but big tailwinds coming back in the afternoon.
It's a 45 mile round trip to Many Glacier - but certainly worth it. No big climbs - great scenery.
You might consider a boat ride into the back country at Two Medicine, Rising Sun, or Many Glacier.

PS - I would strongly suggest the second week in June rather than the first.



Going to the Sun Road along St. Mary Lake
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Old 08-17-18, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
Spin -

So you are coming out via Amtrak.
They stop at East Glacier (summer only), Essex (on US 2 & remote), and West Glacier.
By taking Amtrak, you should have moderate altitude adjustment already.
And even Logan Pass is not all that high. You will be under 5000 ft. most of the time.

In early June the closure gates may be lower - although biking up to the Loop or Siyeh is likely.

If you must pick a side, I would do the east side.
There is a shuttle that runs from East Glacier to St. Mary - don't know how early in June they start up.
https://www.glacierparkcollection.co...-side-shuttle/
And there is a shuttle from St. Mary to Many Glacier.
Shuttles
Not to mention the famous red jammer buses.

The truly spectacular lake view are along St. Mary Lake - not Lake McDonald.
If you were to arrive at East Glacier (in the evening) you do do an out-and-back to Many Glacier on Day 1.
Then spend the remainder of your time based in St. Mary.
(The ride from from Two Medicine - 32 miles on Hwy 49 & US 89 - is pretty tough.)
A morning ride from St.M west on GTTS usually has little wind, but big tailwinds coming back in the afternoon.
It's a 45 mile round trip to Many Glacier - but certainly worth it. No big climbs - great scenery.
You might consider a boat ride into the back country at Two Medicine, Rising Sun, or Many Glacier.

PS - I would strongly suggest the second week in June rather than the first.

The problem with St. Mary shuttle is they don't carry bicycles.

And it looks like the special bicycle shuttle on the west side only runs on weekends. I think I will move my arrival date till June 15 and hope the road is still closed to cars. And June 15 is my birthday. A good day to ride the GTTSR.


Again I will not be touring. What Highway 89 and 32 miles? I will be coming from East Glacier only 11 miles. How is that route?
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Old 08-18-18, 08:33 AM
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US 89 is on the east side.
It appears that you will stay on the west side.
June 15 is better.
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Old 08-18-18, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
US 89 is on the east side.
It appears that you will stay on the west side.
June 15 is better.
The plan is to stay on the west AND in the east.

I am rethinking the whole thing. getting a bike to the park could be an expensive propitiation. . I will either need to stop over in Whitefish or ship the bike to Seattle and bring it with me on the train. The way I figure it will be $80 just in train bike fees alone. Seattle to West Glacier $20, West Glacier to East $20, East Glacier to Chicago $20, Chicago to Pittsburgh $20. And I still need to ship it out to Seattle and have it built. I might just rent if I can't ship to West Glacier. Just ride Going to the Sun on a rental and do without the rest od the trip.
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Old 08-18-18, 02:27 PM
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Just a quick heads up for folks that might want to ride in this area. Glacier Park is well within the 100 mile borderzone, and you may encounter BP agents that will check your immigration status, so you should have some documentation on you when you are riding your bike. There have been some incidents in recent years of illegals trying to infiltarate through the Park, so keep your eyes open.
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