Author Topic: Going to the Sun Road  (Read 1229 times)

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Offline driftlessregion

Going to the Sun Road
« on: March 17, 2020, 04:12:11 pm »
Does anyone have  knowledge that the traffic east bound on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park will be any heavier on a Sunday morning in mid July v. a Wednesday morning?

Offline jamawani

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2020, 04:46:35 pm »
I have ridden Going to the Sun more than a dozen times - both directions.
(Which, I guess, puts me among the fortunate few.)

In mid-summer, the day of the week doesn't make much difference.
With local weekenders, it might be a smidgen busier on Sunday.

The biggest factor is time of day - start as early as possible.
I prefer to start just before sunrise when there is enought light.
The traffic is light, but people can see you.

Eastbound, you really should start from Avalanche.
Westbound, it's best to start from Rising Sun.

Also, I much prefer westbound to eastbound.
Most importantly, you have the morning sun illuminating the peaks.
And you get full sun on the Garden Wall on the way down.

YMMV



« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 04:57:51 pm by jamawani »

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2020, 07:04:05 pm »
Thanks. Sunday fits our schedule.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2020, 01:14:43 am »
I ride the Sun Road every summer. I really think there is very little difference in the day of the week as far as traffic is concerned. As was mentioned, time of day is more important. Remember there are restrictions for bicycles on the west side of Logan Pass so I'd start there early and then head down the east side to Rising Sun. That would give you time to ride back up to Logan Pass, hang out a little bit until restrictions are lifted and then take the downhill coast back to your starting point. Remember, if you start early it can be quite chilly even in August.  Be prepared for that. Just my experience.

As far as traffic is concerned, it's never been a major problem for me. The speed limit is slow and drivers are generally pretty courteous. It's a fantastic ride. Surely one of the most beautiful the nation.  Enjoy it. Glacier is a magic place.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2020, 01:16:55 am by hikerjer »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2020, 10:13:16 am »
I've climbed the east side 4 times. Only once fully loaded. Each time I have started from Sprague Creek Campground. Agree that the day of the week at that time of year is a non-issue. Also agree that time of day is much more important. Usually shove off from Sprague Creek around 5:15 a.m., but my rides have been closer to the solstice. An advantage to leaving as early as possible, at least if you stay at Sprague Creek, is that you make it through the flatter parts before traffic picks up. The flatter parts are where people seem to drive the fastest.

Time to give you an idea of how traffic picks up, the park's web site indicates that the parking lot at the pass can fill up as early as 8:30 a.m., IIRC. That's with people coming from both sides.

Bring more snacks/food than you think you might need. There is nothing up at pass. If time permits and the trail is clear, do the relatively short hike to Hidden Lake overlook. It's worth it, and you will probably encounter mountain goats.

Offline KF8MO

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2020, 11:39:06 am »

...Eastbound, you really should start from Avalanche.
Westbound, it's best to start from Rising Sun...


My wife and I plan to include a westbound crossing of Logan Pass and then eastbound through Marias Pass on a trip we're planning, basically going south on the Great Parks North route to east on the Northern Tier. My main concern is getting a campsite at Rising Sun. Will they accommodate cyclists who pedal in from Alberta arriving late in the afternoon?

Offline jamawani

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2020, 03:45:50 pm »
Rising Sun has a large hiker/biker campsite that will accommodate 8 or 10 cyclists.
You shouldn't have any concerns. Best to get there before dark, though.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2020, 04:46:54 pm »

...Eastbound, you really should start from Avalanche.
Westbound, it's best to start from Rising Sun...


My wife and I plan to include a westbound crossing of Logan Pass and then eastbound through Marias Pass on a trip we're planning, basically going south on the Great Parks North route to east on the Northern Tier. My main concern is getting a campsite at Rising Sun. Will they accommodate cyclists who pedal in from Alberta arriving late in the afternoon?

You probably know this, but you cannot go west of Sprague Creek Campground between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are planning to camp there, the infield of the one vehicle loop has maybe 4 raised tent pads but can accommodate far more tents than that. There is also at least one bear locker. One year I stayed there with more than a dozen other cyclists. While it's close to the road, it's small and so not a zoo like Avalanche and Apgar. The host couple is really nice. Plus, you can easily ride or even walk to the lodge. The food is pretty darn good there. Or you can hang out the lodge until 4 and keep heading west. Sprague Creek also has a day use picnic area where you can hang for free.

If your day to Rising Sun starts at Waterton Village, don't underestimate it. No passes, but it is not an easy day by any means. The real kicker could be that after you are done with the hills, you will have a stiff headwind on U.S. 89.

Marias Pass is a long slog up with no shade. Look for mountain goats a bit up on the hill on the left when you pass the sign for Goat Lick.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2020, 12:14:56 am »
I rode it eastbound on Sunday, June 25, 2012. Start as early as you can. I started at first light from Avalanche Campground. There was zero traffic until 8:00 am, and then traffic increased gradually for the next two hours. The cars weren't much of a problem by themselves, but the closer I got to the top, the worse the visibility got and the road was hemmed in by 15-foot walls of snow on either side. For the three miles on either side of the pass, visibility was near zero. I was worried that the cars wouldn't be able to see me, and there was nowhere that I could go to get out of the way. Take a very powerful taillight if you can. Obviously I survived.

I was greatly disappointed to discover that the visitor center at the top of Logan Pass had no heat. Boy I was hoping for heat.

Having said all that, Going to the Sun Road is the greatest cycling road in the United States, IMHO. Unless Going To The Sun Road is closed when you get there, don't even consider using Marias Pass instead. That would just be silly.

As already mentioned, Rising Sun will never be full for a cyclist. And it's only 29 miles from Avalanche.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 12:19:25 am by John Nelson »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2020, 01:43:59 pm »
BTW...Despite the park being closed to visitors, plowing has already started.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2020, 01:58:54 pm »
BTW...Despite the park being closed to visitors, plowing has already started.

Gotta have it ready for the day everyone's healthy and the contagion is over (May 1).

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2020, 10:19:51 am »
Only six photos so far, but check back later. They usually post some dramatic images as they get higher up.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/albums/72157713900310191/with/49777739877/


Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Going to the Sun Road
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2020, 08:47:39 am »
Only six photos so far, but check back later. They usually post some dramatic images as they get higher up.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/albums/72157713900310191/with/49777739877/

Check the link now. Cool grizzly and black bear photos taken during drives to the worksites.