Summer Season Begins in Glacier National Park

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Lake McDonald on July 23, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | FlatheadBeacon

By the Flathead Beacon Staff

The Memorial Day holiday weekend represents the unofficial start to summer, and that is especially true in Glacier National Park.

Visitors can enjoy many services and facilities that are becoming available this weekend and over the next few weeks. An estimated 48,270 people visited Glacier in April, roughly 20,000 more than in April 2014. In May 2014, there were 112,187 visitors to Glacier.

Visitors can drive 15.5 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche Creek along the Going-to-the-Sun-Road. Over the holiday weekend, hikers and bikers will have unlimited access from Avalanche towards Logan Pass. As of Tuesday, May 26, access may change day-by-day depending on road crew work activity, with unlimited access after 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Vehicle access is limited to the St. Mary Visitor Center on the east side of the Sun Road due to road rehabilitation work. Hikers and bikers will have access beyond the gate during the Memorial Day Weekend only. Beginning Tuesday, May 26 through June 18, hikers and bikers will not have access to the Sun Road on the east side due to road reconstruction crews working seven days a week, including evenings. This work will include heavy truck traffic hauling recycled asphalt. The recycled asphalt was removed from the road over the past two years and is being reapplied as base material in preparation for paving this summer.

The park’s west-side shuttle system begins Friday, May 22. The Lake McDonald Lodge and Camp Store opens Friday, too.

The Apgar Campground, the largest campground in the park, is open and hosts almost 200 camping sites for tents and RV campers. Potable water is accessible in the campground, and restroom facilities provide flush toilets and sinks with running water. All Apgar Campground sites are first-come first-serve, with a summer overnight fee of $20.

Most campgrounds in Glacier are on a first-come first-serve basis. Reservations are available at Fish Creek and St. Mary Campgrounds beginning June 1, and may be made up to six months in advance through the National Recreation Reservation Service or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Campers without prior reservations are also welcome at these campgrounds, as space is available.

Water is available at most campgrounds, but there are no electrical or water hookups at any campground in the park. Dump and water fill stations are available at most campgrounds. Water is not available when a campground is in primitive status.  Many campgrounds can accommodate campers and trailers, with some size restrictions. When campgrounds are in primitive status no water is provided. Any water taken from streams or lakes requires treatment before use. Primitive and winter front-country campgrounds include pit toilets, no running water and only a limited number of sites.

Specific information about each campground, including a map of the sites, operating dates, available services, current and historic fill times, and more is available by visiting here.

Hiker/bicyclist sites are available at Apgar, Avalanche, Many Glacier, Rising Sun, Sprague Creek, and Two Medicine campgrounds for $5 per person per night, and at Fish Creek and St. Mary for $8 per person per night.

Group sites are available by reservation for groups. These sites are located in the Apgar and St. Mary Campgrounds. These sites can be reserved up to one year in advance through theNational Recreation Reservation Service or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Many Glacier and Two Medicine Campgrounds have one group site at each campground, and both are on a first-come first-serve basis.

Campers are reminded to keep a clean camp and obey food storage regulations. Animals are attracted to food and food odors. All food, garbage, and equipment used to cook, serve or store food must be kept sealed in a vehicle or in an approved bear-resistant container.

The park’s campground opening and closing dates are as follows:

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Visitor centers are located at Apgar, St. Mary, and Logan Pass and each feature unique exhibits and activities. Interpreters and rangers are available at each visitor center during open hours.

The park’s visitor center opening and closing dates are as follows:

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Concessioners within Glacier National Park work under contract, providing visitor services including lodging, food service, retail shops, tours, transportation, horseback riding, guided day hikes and backpacking trips, boat tours and small boat rentals.

Services are listed in alphabetical order:

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