Glacier National Park, a key destination for outdoor enthusiasts, has opened its new vehicle reservation system for 2024. This initiative, aimed at enhancing visitor experiences and managing park traffic, represents a significant shift in the park’s access regulations.
The reservation system, now live on Recreation.gov, offers a dual booking window to facilitate visitor planning. A portion of the reservations became available 120 days in advance on a rolling daily basis. Additionally, next-day reservations are available at 7 p.m. Mountain Time, starting May 23, 2024.
Significant changes have been made to the Going-to-the-Sun Road access for the 2024 season. Apgar Village, including the Apgar Visitor Center and the free park shuttle, is accessible without a reservation. However, reservations originating in Apgar do not grant access beyond the Apgar reservation checkpoint, located just past the Apgar Campground turn-off.
For eastbound traffic on Going-to-the-Sun Road past the reservation checkpoint, vehicle reservations are mandatory. This requirement is in effect from May 24 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. These reservations are valid for one day only. Visitors without reservations are redirected through Apgar Village, which is expected to face increased traffic and high parking demand.
In a notable update for 2024, access to Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east side beyond Rising Sun does not require a vehicle reservation. This includes access to the St. Mary Visitor Center and shuttle stop on the east side of Glacier National Park, continuing the policy from 2023.
The North Fork area also requires vehicle reservations from May 24 to September 8, 2024, during the same hours. These reservations are valid for one day.
Reservations for the Many Glacier Valley are necessary from July 1 to September 8, 2024. Advanced reservations for Many Glacier were made available from March 3, 2024, at 8 a.m. Mountain Time. These were released 120 days in advance on a daily rolling basis. Next-day reservations for Many Glacier are also available starting May 23.
Visitors planning to explore different areas of the park need to secure separate reservations for each. Reservations can be made on the Recreation.gov website or through its mobile app. Visitors are required to set up an account on Recreation.gov to book reservations. A nominal $2 processing fee is associated with each booking.
Established on May 11, 1910, Glacier National Park is a cornerstone of the outdoor recreation industry. The park’s infrastructure includes 8 Class A campgrounds with 943 sites and 5 Class B campgrounds with 61 sites. It boasts 158 trails, totaling 745.9 miles, offering diverse hiking experiences.
The launch of the vehicle reservation system is designed to streamline visitor access, reduce congestion, and enhance the overall experience. This system aligns with the outdoor recreation industry’s trend towards sustainable tourism practices. By managing visitor numbers, the park aims to preserve its natural beauty and ensure a high-quality experience for all guests.
As the outdoor recreation industry evolves, Glacier National Park’s approach serves as a model for balancing visitor access with environmental stewardship. The 2024 vehicle reservation system is a step towards a more sustainable and enjoyable outdoor recreation experience.