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Logan Pass....Going to the Sun from West to East.

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Old 12-03-13, 02:09 PM
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nun
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Logan Pass....Going to the Sun from West to East.

Does anyone have any sage advice for riding the "Going to the Sun" road from West Glacier to St Mary's?

Where's the best place to stock up on food and fluids? When did you start out? What does the Visiors Station sell at the top...any food and drink?
How long did it take you?

My plan would be to do it in mid July and stay at Macdonald Lodge so that I can get on the climb early
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Old 12-03-13, 02:33 PM
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I rode Logan pass West to East in late June 2009, just a few days after the road opened. I'll remember as best I can what I did. The night before, I stayed at Avalanche Creek campground, which is the closest campground to the summit, about 16 miles away, and filled up with water there. I used about 4 bottles (3L) on the way up. I carried a lot of water on that tour (total capacity about 6 liters), so I didn't try to fill up at the top, and I can't tell you what they have at the visitor center at the top. I got a pretty early start (on the road by 7 or so) to avoid car traffic. IIRC, it took about 3.5 hours to climb the pass fully loaded, including lots of stops for pictures.
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Old 12-03-13, 04:58 PM
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I did the ride from East to West in July, 2013. There is no food at the top. Just bathrooms and water fountains, plus a ranger desk and a gift shop.

If, for some reason, you can't get to the top in time, there are buses that have bike racks that drive up and down GTTSR, stopping at several places on the west side of the pass and at the top. You could even take the bus up with your load, leave it there, and then take the bus down and ride up unloaded.

This is a fabulous ride. One of the best days on the road I've ever had. Here is my day's journal entry for my ride (East to West) on GTTSR.
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Old 12-03-13, 09:24 PM
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I did it west to east, stayed at the last hotel before the park entrance, started riding at first light, and had plenty of time to make it to the top.

There were mountain goats on top. I don't remember any services. I think we must have filled water bottles at a campground somewhere, but I don't remember where.... and it wasn't an issue or I would remember.

The pie at the Park Cafe on the east side is phenomenal.
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Old 12-04-13, 12:01 AM
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We ran into a lot of road construction last summer, which really slowed us down.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-04-13 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 12-04-13, 07:35 AM
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I rode west to east. I camped at the campground near the west entrance at the Apgar Visitor Center. I got up at dawn and tried to get going quickly because of the summertime restriction from cycling on the west side of the pass between 11am-4pm. The pass is glorious, the prettiest in the US, IMO. I loved how you can see nearly the entire climb on the west side before you begin the climb. It's a fairly gentle and consistent grade. As you gain altitude, more peaks gradually become visible. The same was true for animals. I would see more and more on the distant mountainsides the higher I got. I reached the summit at 10:45am. I went on a pretty hike to Hidden Lake from the top before I began the great descent to the east.
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Old 12-04-13, 08:23 AM
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I rode East to West. Less elevation gain that way and one of the zones with cycling restrictions does not apply that way. The elevation profile for that day from my GPS data:



I agree with everything written by others above, you will have a zone with time restrictions, shuttle buses have bike racks, water at the top but nothing else available at the top (maybe they sell candy bars? maybe not?), etc.

You will need to get an early start to complete the ride within the time restriction, that is a lot of elevation gain so if you are not a fast climber take that into account. If you plan to take photos, and there will be lots of opportunity to take photos, incorporate time off for photos into your schedule too. The first photo below I took from inside the shuttle bus when I did sightseeing for a day before my climb. If you have time to go sightseeing on the shuttle for a day before the day of your climb, I suggest you take advantage of that.



But, I will add one more warning. With a dysfunctional congress, it is impossible to predict if the park will actually be open that far into the future. Probability of a closure is small, but probability is greater than zero.
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Old 12-04-13, 08:42 AM
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Have done it three times. Last time was '09.

As noted, there is no food between Lake McDonald Lodge and Rising Sun east of the pass. By sufficient supplies the day before at the store at the lodge complex. It will not be open if you start out very early in the morning. In '09 it did not have the greatest selection of stuff. There is a better market at the start of GTS, just after you turn off U.S. 2. Since the ride from there to the lodge is basically flat, carrying food won't be a problem.

From the lodge, the first 8 or so miles are very gentle. You probably won't even realize that you are gaining altitude. IIRC, there are now bathrooms and possibly water at the "Loop." Overall, the climb is not that difficult grade-wise. Start very, very early (i.e., the crack of dawn) to get a head start on auto traffic and to give yourself a better chance to see wildlife. Also, you will want to stop and take a zillion photos. At the summit, I highly recommend the relatively short hike to Hidden Lake that starts behind the visitor center. There probably won't be too much snow on the traiil by mid-July.

It's possible that you will encounter construction delays due to the multi-year road re-hab project that is still going on. Check the park's web site next year for details as to where they will be working.

Have a slice of pie at the Park Cafe in St, Mary.

Will you be continuing on to Waterton Village in Alberta?
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Old 12-04-13, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Have a slice of pie at the Park Cafe in St, Mary.

Will you be continuing on to Waterton Village in Alberta?
I've heard the pie is good so I will definitely get a piece, maybe two.

From St Mary I'll probably just head towards Browning and Cut Bank
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Old 12-04-13, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
From St Mary I'll probably just head towards Browning and Cut Bank
I'd suggest riding 25 miles up to Many Glacier and camping there for a day or two. The campground has a hiker/biker site and the hiking around there is fabulous. There is a lodge a 3 minute walk from the hiker/biker site that offers showers (for a small fee), a restaurant, and a store with a few food items (including huckleberry soft ice cream in the summer).

I'm beginning to sound like Jamawani....
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Old 12-04-13, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I'd suggest riding 25 miles up to Many Glacier and camping there for a day or two. The campground has a hiker/biker site and the hiking around there is fabulous. There is a lodge a 3 minute walk from the hiker/biker site that offers showers (for a small fee), a restaurant, and a store with a few food items (including huckleberry soft ice cream in the summer).

I'm beginning to sound like Jamawani....
Sounds nice. I'll take it as it comes. I'll probably be ready for a couple of days rest after the Rockies.
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Old 12-04-13, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I've heard the pie is good so I will definitely get a piece, maybe two.

From St Mary I'll probably just head towards Browning and Cut Bank
Wateron Village is a nice place for a day off. Was there again in '09. The ride there from St. Mary is nice, but difficult once you hit Chief Mountain Hguhway. Worth it if you have the time. However, I think indoor lodging can be difficult if you are not campimg. I also don't know what's available lodging wise around Magrath before you head back into the U.S. at Del Bonito. That's a neat but lonely ride. There was nothing between Magrath and Cut Bank except for a store in Del Bonito, before you cross the border. IIRC, it is some 70 miles to Cut Bank. Maybe it's been built up more since I rode that stretch in '99.

St. Mary to Browning via U.S. 89 starts with a 5-6 mile climb then a bunch of ups and downs. Cutting off at Starr School Rd. to Browning may be easier. If you are a glutton for punishment and have the time, take U.S. 89 and then MT 49 to East Glacier to pick up U.S. 2 to Cut Bank. MT 49, also known as Looking Glass Hill, has some pretty views, including one fo Lower Two Medicine Lake. Some climbing is involved, but it's not overly difficult, and there is a nice descent to E. Glacier, where you will find a couple of places to et and get snacks and drinks. There is also at least one motel/campground there. IIRC, it's 32 miles to East Glacier if you go that way. Total of 80 miles to Cut Bank.
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