Tips for Visiting Logan Pass and Glacier National Park in June or Early Summer
The entire Going to the Sun Road only opens for a few short months of the year, due to snow making Logan Pass impassable during the winter months. I usually don’t absolutely count on the road being open all of the way from West Glacier to St. Mary (which takes you over Logan Pass) until the Fourth of July. By this date you are pretty guaranteed to be able to access Logan Pass. But this year we had a low snow year, and the road opened from West Glacier to Logan Pass on June 11. Unheard of! (Keep in mind the east side of the road from Logan Pass to St. Mary remained closed until June 19.) We took this opportunity to get out and enjoy Logan Pass the first weekend we could, June 13, 2015.
Of course, the Going-to-the-Sun Road did not disappoint! This spectacular road is so fun from beginning to end. View more photos from Logan Pass by clicking here. View some snapshots of one of our June 2015 drives along the Going-to-the-Sun Road here.
Here are a few tips if you visit Glacier National Park this early in the season:
1. It can be cold at Logan Pass
This early in the summer, Logan Pass will not be at the same temperatures as lower elevations. Plan ahead and dress warm. Today we could have used warm jackets when we arrived around 9:30 am. Thankfully I did bring hats for the kids. The wind was pretty chilly, and I saw a lot of people wearing shorts and tank tops.
2. There will still be snow at Logan Pass
The snow at the pass will not melt for a few more weeks, until the temperatures get much warmer. This means you should be sure to wear sneakers and possibly boots if you plan on walking very far from the parking lot.
Because of the snow, the hiking trails leaving from Logan Pass will not be open. Do not plan on being able to hike the Highline Trail or the Hidden Lake Overlook or Hidden Lake this early in the year. Fairly soon you should be able to at least get to the Hidden Lake Overlook, but right now the trail is a large snowfield.
That being said, thanks to the snow, you do have the opportunity to ski at Logan Pass if you bring your skis and boots! Follow the crowds if you don’t know where to go. There are plenty of locals who come up to enjoy a few June runs down Logan Pass. You will see ski tracks everywhere. Not that the snow is any good, of course. It is more just to say you skied in June, in Glacier National Park.
I took the chance today to try out my new Marmot hiking pants and did some sledding on my bottom to see how the pants held up to the moisture. They did great, and dried quickly.
3. The waterfalls
Thanks to the melting snow and the spring runoff, waterfalls are spectacular this time of year. There will be extra waterfalls that don’t even exist later in the summer. The large waterfalls will really be gushing water right now, making it an ideal time to visit Glacier National Park!
4. This usually is not a great time for wildflowers
Usually the best time for viewing wildflowers is later in July and August. They are most spectacular during those months and are dying by the end of August.
I couldn’t believe it today though! The Indian Paintbrush and the BearGrass are already blooming!
5. Arrive to Logan Pass early
In the middle of summer, I always recommend arriving to Logan Pass by 9am to ensure you get a parking spot in the small lot. This time of year, you can arrive a little bit later. However, parking is always a concern and the park gets busier in the afternoon, so I would still arrive in the morning to ensure you don’t have to stress.
Places like the Avalanche Lake trailhead require you arriving early (before 9am) all of the time due to unbelievable congestion and traffic.
We just had a fantastic day enjoying the snow and sunshine! We only got to see one mountain goat, but thankfully this made my 3-year-old’s entire trip! She thought we were going to the mountains to see mountain goats! Usually we see a lot more than that around Logan Pass, but today I guess they were all hiding.
Another highlight of the day was the ladybug we spotted near the visitor center. Aw, kids. They don’t need views. They just need bugs. It is the little things they can appreciate!
Click here to see the photos from a June 2015 trip we took to Logan Pass. Click here to watch a video of our day!
Enjoy your time in Glacier National Park in the early season, where you will find fewer crowds!
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog