The Seasons of Glacier National Park
Have you been wondering when is the best time to visit Glacier National Park in Montana? Each season offers its own colors, its own temperatures, and its own road closures. When the best time is to visit will have to be something that you ultimately decide, but here I am sharing a bit of information about each season, as well as photos of what to expect during that time.
I love fall in Glacier National Park. There are fewer people, and you can find great lodging deals during this time. The weather has generally cooled down, but is still warm and pleasant (60’s to 70’s Fahrenheit). The colors of the trees lighting up the mountains will knock your socks off!! You can still do a lot of hiking at lower elevations. The Going-to-the-Sun Highway is generally still open to Logan Pass (even if it is closed halfway so that it doesn’t connect from the east to the west side). You can follow the road closure information here.
I really cannot say enough good things about this beautiful time of year in Glacier National Park.
The snow-capped peaks of Glacier National Park are absolutely stunning during this time. On clear days, the blue sky behind the white snow will take your breath away. Just a drive to Apgar for a view of Lake McDonald is all I need during the winter.
While the roads may be closed over the Going-to-the-Sun Highway to vehicle traffic during this time, there are still plenty of options if you plan your visit during this time. There are plenty of cross-country skiing opportunities available, but be sure to check with rangers and plan ahead — most trails are not marked and you need to be prepared for the conditions. You can click here for more information. You can also go snowshoeing, and Glacier provides free guided tours leaving from Apgar during the winters (usually on Saturdays).
I would say the least-crowded time to visit Glacier National Park would probably be the spring. You will find very few other people here during this time.
The Going-to-the-Sun Highway will still be closed due to snow, and there won’t be much hiking available during this time. But you can still access the east and west side of the park, which both offer amazing views. I have also captured some of my favorite photos during this time of year.
Summer in Glacier National Park (and anywhere in Montana for that matter), is by far the busiest season. Tourists flock to the national parks, and enjoy the warmer temperatures, and the ability to access more remote areas that are closed during the winter due to snow.
If you want to have the place to yourself, this is not the ideal time to visit. You can plan on lodging being more expensive, and more booked. You can plan on waiting in line for ice cream, and needing a dinner reservation at most restaurant to get in.
However, this is such a fantastic time of year. You will find the clearest blue lakes, green mountains, and you can count on lots of sunshine! Temperatures will range from the 70’s to the 90’s (in Fahrenheit), which is just the right temperature to enjoy summer if you ask me.
Another plus is that in the middle of summer in Glacier National Park, roads such as the Going-to-the-Sun Highway will be completely open to vehicle traffic. The road is open from June/July (depending on snow) until September/ October (again, depending on snow). More roads and more hiking trails will be open this time of year.
No matter when you visit Glacier National Park and Montana, you are sure to enjoy your trip!
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog