Author Topic: Goint to the Sun Road  (Read 302 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline driftlessregion

Goint to the Sun Road
« on: March 03, 2019, 06:13:18 pm »
I've only ridden the Going to Sun Road from the west (35 degrees and raining so missed much of the view).  I suspect riding from the east is easier because the elevation at St Mary is already 4515' where it is only 3170' at the Apgar campground. Anyone done it both ways and can comment?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 06:36:10 pm »
In my opinion, which way is easier is irrelevant. From the west is more magnificent.

Offline jamawani

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 07:22:05 pm »
I have ridden both directions may times.
Both have advantages and disadvantages - but I find east to west far more pleasurable.

The main reason for this is that the morning sun illuminates the mountains heading westbound.
Then after a few hours hiking up top, the afternoon sun shines on the Garden Wall.
I always start at dawn to take advantage of quieter roads while climbing.
And, yes, there is less climbing heading west.

The main advantage of riding west to east is that you are unlikely to encounter headwinds.
On the east side of the park, southwest winds can be brutal in the afternoon.
Also, it kinda sucks to brake away all that climbing. Which is what you do on the west side coming down.
On the east side you can zoom from Siyeh Bend down.

<<<>>>

My favorite ride -
Start at Sunrise early in the morning.
Stop to admire dawn light on the the peaks and Wild goose Island.
Get up to Logan Pass by mid morning.
Hike out on the Highline Trail and lunch at Haystack Rock.
Check my brakes before flying down the west side.
Hit Lake McDonald Lodge for ice cream.
Camp either at Avalanche or Sprague Creek

<<<>>>

IMHO - You can keep the circuses at Apgar or St, Mary.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 07:22:32 pm »
I agree that W>E is more meaningful.

You have hours to look up at the great scenery as you slowly (but not too slow so you miss the deadline) up the western side of the pass.  However, when I did it years later E<W, it was much easier to ride and I had no restrictions on time which was very nice.  I stopped numerous times in little 3'x10' "pockets" of shoulder on both sides of the road so I could take in the scenery on the western side so I didn't miss it all as you fly downhill.

Overall, I would say 60/40 in favor of W>E.  To me, a more important concern would be the weather not blocking the few.

Tailwinds, John
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline bicycleTour

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2019, 03:58:53 pm »
I rode it both ways, self contained touring, at opening week summer 2016. Both ways are enjoyable.

For me, much of a ride's enjoyment is due to less traffic and better lighting for scenery as I ride.

West->East - longer, more scenic overall. More of the "classic" way - I encountered several day cyclists riding up "going to the sun" to the summit only - and not doing the other side.

East->West - less traffic?  better photography/views (sunlight for riding in morning). I believe less traffic because the pattern for vehicles is to come from the west, go over pass, and then return to the west, in an all-day road trip, taking many stops along the way.


Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 05:02:10 pm »
Ridden up the west side 4 times, down the west side 3 times and down the east side once.

J is right about the headwinds. It was no easy pedal to St. Mary once I got down on the flatter portions heading east. Descending west you will have to hit the brakes a lot, if only for the traffic in front of. Good thing is that you can take the lane and the steeper parts.

Whichever way you go, do start early. If you are the around the solstice, you can pretty much start out around 5:45 a.m. without the need for a headlight to see, even on the west side. If you go west, you cannot go beyond Sprague Creek Campground between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sprague Creek is much smaller than Apgar, which is a zoo. Nice hiker/biker spots on the infield. Bear boxes and tent pads. When I was there in 2017 there were also some camp chairs and an axe to split wood, which the host offered to me for free along with some cookies his wife had just baked. The lodge is within walking distance, but don't expect to find much in the way of groceries at the camp store. It's mostly junk food and trinkets for tourists. The food at the lodge was actually quite good in 2017. Had a nice salad, mussels and steelhead filet. Line up before the place opens for dinner so you can get a window seat.

Offline jwrushman

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 05:59:57 pm »
I don't want to be a jerk, but... what's the point of this question?  Are you going to base the direction of your trip based on the best way to do the GTTSR?  Or are there trips that you can choose to do it one way or the other?   


Wrong-way Rushman
Hoping to be there on Fourth of July!

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2019, 08:48:47 pm »
All other factors of my route are fairly equal so yes this decision is important. It may not be important to you.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2019, 07:29:32 am »
All other factors of my route are fairly

What route is that that gives you the option of starting the road in St. Mary or W. Glacier?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2019, 12:25:04 pm »
Your original post asked which way was easier. If that is still your only criteria, then the decision is a no-brainer: ride east to west. There's 1/3 less climbing in that direction. You get the added benefit of no time-of-day restrictions.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 12:26:56 pm by John Nelson »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2019, 02:12:08 pm »
Going west to east you can cut down the mileage and climbing by staying at Rising Sun instead of St. Mary. There are hiker-biker sites at both. Plus, there are showers at Rising Sun.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 03:25:28 pm »
We'll start in Missoula going to Fernie and looping back south.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Goint to the Sun Road
« Reply #12 on: Today at 07:46:40 am »
We'll start in Missoula going to Fernie and looping back south.

That's what I thought, which is why I asked. Having done the "Glacier-Waterton Loop" (Whitefish to Eureka, Sparwood, Pincher Creek, Waterton Village, St. Mary), and reading comments from others who have done the same, the general consensus is that clockwise is advantageous.