As Montana continues its phased reopening from COVID-19 lockdown, there are still many unknowns for travelers hoping to plan trips this summer. The best advice out there is to do your research and be prepared for the unexpected. This isn’t the year to get attached to a plan, as it seems like the situation, services, and business could change at any moment. But there’s no doubt that one of the best things you can do for your health is to relax and breathe deep to take in the fresh air in wide-open spaces. Here are some resources and information for planning your Glacier trip in 2020.
For information on the status of Montana’s phased reopening, and to find out what each stage entails, you can visit the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force website. Some businesses may choose to operate in a more limited capacity, so it’s a good idea to reach out to individual companies if you know you’d like to dine in their establishment, shop in their stores, or attend a tour.
Glacier National Park announced that it would begin a phased reopening on June 8, 2020. To begin with, the park will be open for day use only during Phase 1. So at first, you can expect to enjoy hiking trails and scenic vistas, wide-reaching fields of wildflowers, and the tableaux of native animals on the landscape.
The park recommends that visitors bring face coverings, maintain social distancing, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home if they’re sick. Park statements indicated that visitors should expect longer wait times and limited services at the early stages of reopening. At first, only the West Glacier entrance will open, as the Blackfeet Reservation maintains restrictions through the end of June. Spring biking is a hit on the west side of the park while plow crews are still at work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and hiking trails along unrestricted roads will be open as well.
The park expects to move to Phase 2 as health conditions allow, in June or July. That is when visitor centers, bookstores, backcountry permit offices, limited personal boating, and lodging and food services will begin to open. For more information on current restrictions and upcoming phases, visit the park website here.
One thing is for sure: Montana has plenty of fresh air to go around. If you plan to spend your time out in nature, or viewing the world from your own vehicle, you can’t go wrong. Whereat normal times, offerings like tours, and guided trips may be limited for a while, so plan on going the DIY route for now. But you can always hop on a more formal trip if the option opens up.
Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road is no simple feat, with plenty of elevation gain on the west side of the park up to Logan Pass at 6,646 feet above sea level. But the open mountain views, with no traffic, are well worth the work. You can also plan a hike, or take the scenic drive on Highway 2 around the southern boundary of the park from West Glacier to Marias Pass.
When you stay just outside the park, you don’t need to be put off by limited services like lodging and dining. A stay in nearby Bigfork gives you easy access to the park, with the benefit of dining, shopping, and activities in the neighboring communities. Find your way to a scenic escape in the great outdoors of Glacier National Park.
Whether you are coming for an adventure, or just passing through, we have eight properties in Gardiner, Livingston, Bozeman, and Bigfork to help you feel at home while you are on the road. Click here to book now.