GTSR Plowing will not be delayed
March 26, 2013
from NPS News Release ~ Glacier National Park Superintendent Kym Hall
The earliest the Going-to-the-Sun Road could be accessible for its entire length is June 21, 2013.
The Great Northern built its line (railroad) over
Marias Pass in 1891.
Recent Events and Updates as of May 16, 2013
NPS Trail Status
Since July of 2011 this site has had visitors from 131 countries.
Which leaves 65 countries to go.
(My visitor data for the previous four years is not as easy to track.)
May 16, 2013
Headquarters to Lincoln Creek Tr. Jct. / 5.3 mi.
Initial clearing scheduled for: : complete 5/14/13.
Lincoln Creek Cable Bridge: Installed on 5/14/13.
Going to hike South Boundary Trail sometime this month.
Snowshoed on it several times this winter.
Road end to Apgar Lookout / 2.8 mi.
Initial clearing scheduled for: 5/31/13
Trees Down: unknown as of 4/30/13
Quarter Bridge is closed at the winter gate at the Apgar Horse Corral due to flooding.
May 13, 2013
North Fork River, Middle Fork River and McDonald Creek flooding. This time mostly from high day and night time temps. Almost no debris in the water.
Water across the road between Polebridge and the Polebridge Bridge.
May 12, 2013
Flood watch in effect for next three days for the Flathead River.
May 10, 2013
NPS Trail Status Report for the West Lakeshore Trail
North Mcdonald Road (Kelly Camp) to Fish Creek CPG. / 6.6 mi Initial clearing scheduled for: 5/31/13.
Trees down: 50-70 trees down, most were "walk overs" but there were some big ones. Stock travel is not recommended on this section of trail. Once the leaves come out that trail will be very brushy. 4/29/13 .
Thats about twice the number of trees down as there were last year when I did this trail.
Trees are dead falls from the 2003 Roberts Fire. Makes for a lot of scrambling.
May 9, 2013
Early season hiking. It appears that the road to Apgar Lookout Trail Head is now open from this trail status report. Beware I did this trail a couple of times last year after trail crew had taken out 50 down trees and two days later there was another 20 trees across the trail. Since this trail has NOT been cleared this year expect at least 50 trees across the trail.
NPS Trail Status Report as of 5/10/13
Apgar L.O. Trail/ 2.8 mi. Road end to Apgar Lookout / 2.8 mi.
Initial clearing scheduled for: 5/31/13
Trees Down: unknown as of 4/30/13
HAZARD FROM 2003 FIRES
May 5, 2013
Avalanche Lake Trail
First 3/4 of this trail is DRY and clear of trees. One tree down across the trail that you need to duck under. Shortly after last years avalanche the snow line starts. Trail fairly well packed down but with warmer temps you might start to punch through the snow.
May 4, 2013
GTSR open to Avalanche!
No hiker / biker restrictions this weekend.
GTSR starts on Monday May 6, 2013
Bikers beware that at this time the GTSR is not paved from Avalanche to the gravel pit. Road surface is smooth for a gravel road but could be tricky for those of you with city tires. Weather forecast for weekend is nice, mainly. With Sunday the most promising. Avalanche Trail will most likely be muddy.
You might notice that there are two reports for April 9 plowing. The earlier report was what showed up and was dated April 9 mid day April 9. When I checked back today April 11, there was a new report dated April 9. The reports clearly covered two different days so will leave dated as GNP posted them originally.
Plowing Activity April 9, 2013 West Lakes Road Crew On April 9th, the West Lakes Road Crew plowed from Packer's Roost, 22 miles from the West Entrance, to the Loop, approximately 2 miles beyond Packer's Roost. Snow depths were around 24 to 48 inches. Weather: Mostly sunny with light winds
April 9, 2013
Went biking in GNP last week from Apgar to Sprague Creek Campground. Very little snow for this time of year. Which shows up in the plow reports below from GNP. Hope to get over to Two Medicine sometime in the next 10 days to bike from Running Eagle Falls to Two Medicine Lake. The web cam has been down since March 7 so don't know how much snow is left over there. On the 7th there was about 4 feet of snow at the campground entrance.
Plowing Activity April 9, 2013 West Lakes Road Crew On April 8th, the West Lakes Road Crew plowed from Logan Creek, 20 miles from the West Entrance, to Packers Roost, 2 miles beyond Logan Creek. Snow depths were around 36 inches.
Weather: Mostly sunny with light winds.
Hudson Bay Road Crew The Hudson Bay Road Crew finished up with the plowing in Many Glacier on Friday and will be mobilizing the equipment to Two Medicine on Tuesday, April 9.
Weather: Cloudy to Partly cloudy, with variable winds.
April 5, 2013
West Lakes Road Crew On April 4th crews completed removing snow from the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche Creek and Logan Creek. Snow depths have averaged 26-36 inches. There was no plowing activity on the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road today. Crews will resume plowing on Monday April 8th. Weather: Cloudy to mostly cloudy
Hudson Bay Road Crew The Hudson Bay roads crew, has completed their work in the Many Glacier Valley and will be mobilizing next Tuesday (4-9-13) to Two Medicine. Weather: Cloudy to Partly cloudy, with variable winds.
From GNPSplow reports
March 26, 2013
GNP informed the world today that the annual plowing of the GTSR which starts April 1st will not be delayed by budget cuts thanks to a "A generous offer from the Glacier National Park Conservancy" plus some fast budget foot work on the part of the acting GNP Superintendent Kym Hall.
Thats the good news, the bad news is that unnamed campgrounds will close early this year along with less trail maintenance.
GNP trail crews as I have mentioned numerous times in the past are the unsung heroes of GNP. Few visitors to Glacier realize the extent of trail work performed every year. The plow crew gets well deserved praise but their counterparts on the trail crew keep GNP trails on a world class basis. Winter tends to be windy in NorthWest Montana along with micro-burst and avalanches creating havoc on the hiking trails.
March 14, 2013
More information regarding delayed opening date for the GTSR in the March 14, 2013 and possible campground closings. Missoulian
February 20, 2013
According to an article in the February 20, 2013 Missoulian "Group says Sun Road delay part of Glacier sequestration plan"
February 17, 2013
At the start of this month I planned on resuming updates regarding GNP on March 1, 2013 but this article in the Washington Post has made me realize that updates will need to start today. At this point I have erased some of my thoughts regarding our Do Nothing Congress which sadly includes the Freshman Congressman from Montana. If you are planning on visiting any National Park this year I urge you to read this article and contact your Congressional Representative.
February 1, 2013
Starting March 1st of this year I will resume regular updates regarding conditions in Glacier Park.
At this time snow pack on the west side of Glacier Park is at 100% of the 30 year average for SWE. (SWE = snow water equivalent)
January 30, 2013
Glacier Park back pedals on Jammers
The National Park Service announced today that it was modifying the terms of a prospectus for the concessions operations at Glacier National Park to reinforce the park's intention to retain the operation of the entire fleet of red buses while providing safe, informative and memorable experiences for Glacier National Park visitors. Acting Glacier National Park Superintendent Kym Hall said, "We love the red buses and our intent has been to retain this iconic symbol of the park."
January 9, 2013
Two skiers triggered an avalanche on Elk Mountain in Glacier National Park on Tuesday afternoon. Park dispatch received a call at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, indicating that two skiers were involved in an avalanche and one skier was injured. Park rangers and local emergency personnel organized and responded to the incident. At approximately 6:30 p.m. park rangers found the skiers and transported them to a nearby trailhead. The Glacier County EMS Ambulance transported the injured skier to a medical facility and the other skier was released at the scene. The skiers, male age 34 and male age 35, both from the local area, were skiing a ridge of Elk Mountain, just west of Marias Pass, when one of the skiers fell and triggered an avalanche. The skier was carried with the slide and partially buried. The other skier was skiing below when the avalanche occurred and was able to escape from the avalanche slide path, and then help rescue his companion. The skier that was partially buried sustained significant injuries.
October 26, 2012
Glacier National Park is one step short of full winter mode. Going To The Sun Road is closed at Rising Sun on the East and Avalanche on the West. Many Glacier and Two Medicine are both closed to motor vehicles.
October 16, 2012
Unlike an earlier search this summer for a missing hiker this one ends happily. Despite much more dangerous weather conditions these hikers were well prepared for winter like conditions. I was at Morias Pass last Friday when these hikers were first reported missing and the weather was chilly with high winds.
NPS Press Release
Missing hikers Neal Peckens and Jason Hiser spent an additional five nights in the backcountry of Glacier National Park than they anticipated. The successful rescue of the hikers is credited to dedicated search and rescue personnel and Peckens and Hiser's preparation and sense of situational awareness. Glacier National Park Chief Ranger Mark Foust said, "We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this incident, and perhaps we all can learn from this experience and these two men." Foust said, "These hikers were prepared with appropriate equipment and they used their situational awareness skills to determine how to respond to the unexpected in the backcountry." A standard recommendation for anyone that may be lost is to "STOP" and that is exactly what they did; Stop, Think, Observe and Plan. Glacier National Park is identified as one of the most beautiful places on earth, and can also be one of the most unforgiving places. Changing weather, steep/difficult terrain, and wildlife all contribute to the unique environment of the park. Without planning and awareness of an individual's surroundings, accidents can happen. Visitors are strongly encouraged to plan for and enjoy all that Glacier National Park has to offer. This includes learning about the area you plan to visit, especially when traveling in the backcountry, and having the items you may need if the situation changes. "We are fortunate to have some very experienced and talented staff at Glacier National Park, as well as with our cooperators," said Foust. Much appreciation goes to Flathead County Sheriff's Office, Flathead County Search and Rescue, North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Emergency Aviation Resources, US Border Patrol and the pilots at Minuteman Aviation for their assistance. According to park rangers, Peckens and Hiser were planning to hike from the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine and camp at the Oldman Backcountry Campground on Tuesday, October 9. After spending the night in a backcountry campground as planned, they continued on their 17-mile hike on the east side of the park. They encountered winter conditions, including snow on the trail and very high gusts of winds as they hiked a section of trail on a ridge along the Continental Divide. One of the hikers slipped and fell approximately 100 feet down a steep area. The hikers tried to parallel their hike for a bit, one above and one below. They determined the best approach would be for both hikers to be together, to go down the mountain and perhaps try another route back up. They had a quality map of the area and when looking at it, extreme wind gusts blew it out of their hands. They continued down the mountain side and spent Wednesday evening in the Nyack Lakes area. They set up camp, including a fire. On Thursday they started to hike back up the mountain by another route hoping to get back in the direction that they began. Weather conditions and mountainous terrain were challenging. They put considerable thought into what their best options would be. They decided to travel back down the wet and slippery terrain and wait for a break in the weather. The break in the weather did not come and they camped in this spot, near the headwaters of the Nyack Drainage at approximately 6,000 feet for the next four nights. They rationed their food, collected fire wood and materials to create a fire and smoke, turned their cell phones on during the day, displayed their space blanket for possible reflection during the day and used it to stay warn at night, and created a SOS message with logs. On Monday, October 15, approximately 3 p.m. (MST) two Glacier National Park employees were searching on foot when one of the searchers saw colored flagging that led him to a tent, and the missing hikers. Peckens and Hiser were cold and wet, but in fairly good condition with no injuries. Foust said, "Weather conditions certainly played a role in this incident, both for the hikers and for the search personnel." The hikers were challenged to travel, stay warm and dry, and to maintain a fire. The search operation was hampered by low visibility and cloud cover, mud, snow and very windy conditions. Many of the searchers were still in the backcountry today and had to hike out in miserable conditions; rain, sleet, hail, snow and wind. Peckens and Hiser communicated their appreciation to the searchers and were ready to travel home with family and friends.
October 15, 2012
Searchers located missing hikers Neal Peckens and Jason Hiser this afternoon at approximately 3:30 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) in Glacier National Park. The men are doing well with no injuries. They were flown out of the backcountry and met family members anxiously awaiting their return. Peckens and Hiser were hiking on the east side of the park near Two Medicine and on Friday, October 12 they failed to make a flight back home to the east coast. An investigation and search was initiated Friday evening by the National Park Service. The weather was quite challenging for the search operation. Search personnel encountered winter weather conditions and up to 18 inches of snow on trails, snow drifts, limited visibility and very windy conditions. Organizations assisting Glacier National Park with the search include Flathead County Sheriff's Office, Flathead Country Search and Rescue, North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Emergency Aviation Resources, and US Border Patrol. Additional information regarding the incident will be provided tomorrow, Tuesday, October 16.
October 8, 2012
Going To The Sun Road closed at Jackson Glacier on the east side no word if it will re-open this year.
September 27, 2012
October 4, 2012
Lots of snow at higher elevations started Wednesday night and continued throughout the night. Accumulation of up to 14 inches at Logan Pass. Deeper snow at higher elevations. Logan Pass from the east was closed to auto traffic.
Ptarmigan Tunnel is now closed for the season, 9/27/12
September 17, 2012
Going To The Sun Road closed to through traffic today. Access to Logan Pass is still open until mid October or heavy snow from St Mary entrance to Glacier Park. All open park campgrounds are now primitive except for Apgar which will go primitive on October 10, 2012. All the North Fork campgrounds are open only Apgar is open on the west side. On the east side Many Glacier, Two Medicine remain open until mid October while St Mary Campground is open year round.
September 14, 2012
Heavy smoke from forest fires near Hamilton Montana have drifted north.
Glacier National Park Rangers have recovered the body of missing hiker Jakson Kreiser. At approximately 12:30pm today, hikers notified park personnel that they found evidence believed to be related to the search for Kreiser. The hikers found human remains in an area southwest of Hidden Lake. Park rangers and a Flathead County Coroner traveled to the site and the coroner confirmed that the deceased body was Kreiser. The body was recovered and an autopsy will be performed to determine cause of death. . . NPS Press Release 9/13/12
September 13, 2012
Highline Trail ~ Handline scheduled to be removed 9/20/12.
Just back from 4 days camping in Many Glacier!
Sometimes smoky, more often windy and on the nippy side in the mornings. A few heavy thunderstorms and some hail. Winter is on it's way to Many Glacier. The Many Glacier Campground goes to Primitive Status starting 9-19-12. Primitive Status means no running water and no flush toilets. Most of the restaurants close down along with the gas stations and hotel. (gas stations in St Mary)
September 12, 2012
My last sight this trip of Many Glacier was a Bull Moose using the crosswalk on the Many Glacier entry road near the Many Glacier Hotel turnoff. More construction spots on the west side of the GTSR. Bright blue sky with a light frost to start the day. Cooling temps, high winds and a little rain. Avalanche wildfire appears contained for the moment. Campgrounds are starting their winter shutdown with Fish Creek, Cut Bank and Avalanche closing. Rising Sun and Sprague will close down soon. The rest will shortly switch to primitive which means no drinking water. Back from five days of camping and hiking on the east side will report on that soon. Currently blue skies on the west and cloudy and wet on the east. Gunsight Lake suspension bridge is still out. Cracker Lake bridge is being rebuilt.
September 10, 2012
Gunsight Pass Trail posted for bear frequenting
Lake Ellen Wilson Campground is closed due to bear. 09/09/2012
TRAIL POSTING: 8/30/12 for bear frequenting
September 9, 2012
Cracker Lake Trail Trailhead at Hotel to Cracker Lake Campground/ 6.1 mi
Initial clearing scheduled for: Trail is clear of trees and snow, 8/20/12
The Allen Creek Bridge, 3.7 miles from the Trailhead has been rebuilt
September 4, 2012
Gunsight Lake Trail took the easy way in and out by way of St Mary's Falls Trail. Cloudy, cool and light rain to start then warmed up with blue skies and high cumulus clouds. Great meadow to mountain landscapes peeks along the trail. Two bridge crossings the first at Reynolds Creek a suspension bridge. Just before Gunsight Lake the downed trees from last years avalanche line the trail. Suspension bridge still not in place so I don't expect it will be put in this year. (bridge was installed on 9/5/12 I last hiked to Gunsight Lake on 9/4/12) Once again sat on the rocky beach without any other hikers coming to the beach. Going to research light weight tents so that I can do the Gunsight Pass Trail in three to four days. (4 days would be limited to September) Any readers with real world experience on light weight one man tents please let know. Need to be able to withstand high winds and rain. Cow moose in the marshy meadow on the return from Gunsight Lake. Bear frequenting signs at the start of the trail. Going to think about getting a Spot for these longer solo hikes.
September 3, 2012
Iceberg Lake Trail
Lots of large wildlife with an 18 year old sow grizzly (bear 451) on the trail just after the trail flattens out. Hadn't hiked this trail since 2005 forgot how much magnificent scenery surrounds this trail. After encountering the grizzly waited for the Ranger Led Hike to catch up. Didn't have my telephoto lens so don't have any great shots but do have a record of the encounter. Managed to stay ahead of the Ranger Led Hike and came across a bull moose just before arriving at Iceberg Lake. Would have come upon the bull moose on the trail itself but had stopped to talk with another photographer on the trail. So I have some close ups of parts of moose antlers in velvet as the moose was in the trees when I got to that spot on the trail. There was a band of Big Horns up at the top of the vegetation line above were the moose was on the trail. Surprised to still see ice at Iceberg Lake there weren't any free floating icebergs but some ice should break loose soon. In the meadow just before the lake wildflowers were still in bloom but past there peak with a scattering of bear grass still blooming. Plenty of water in the creeks and at Ptarmigan Falls. First time that I have hiked this trail without any sign of bugs.
September 2, 2012
Running Eagle Falls and Cobalt Lake Trail
Finally got to Running Eagle Falls when the hidden middle falls was visible. Last year the creek was so high that the bridge was put in until late August. This year in early September the creek was dry. (not the falls creek) Early in the morning for this falls is a treat with the light on the falls nestled inside the rock. Missed the early boat and decided to wait for the 10:30 AM boat as I had hiked the South Shore to Rockwell Falls about two weeks ago. Trail crew had finished clearing back the underbrush which chokes the trail above Two Medicine Lake. It was a windy day but this trail is mostly sheltered from the wind. Made a brief stop at the the upper part of Rockwell Falls and then onto Cobalt Lake. This is not a heavily traveled trail and there was only a couple of avid hikers at Cobalt Lake when I arrived. Those hikers went onto to Two Medicine Pass but I will wait until I'm camping at Cobalt Lake to try that hike. Cobalt Lake still had snow on the far side of the lake. Will add a Cobalt Lake Trail page sometime in the next couple of weeks but I'm headed back to Many Glacier while Logan Pass is still open.
August 31, 2012
Swift Current Pass Trail to Red Rock Falls. Short hike to Red Rock Falls after setting up camp. On the return ran into a couple who had hiked to Swift Current Pass and were returning. The wife was suffering from an apparent heart attack. Would like to thank the unknown younger couple who ran back to the Many Glacier Ranger Station to get medical help for this couple. Didn't know that the Law Enforcement Park Rangers are the EMT first responders for back country medical emergencies. First arriving ranger ran to Red Rock Falls carry a fifty pound medical emergency back pack plus another tote bag with oxygen bottles. Three other rangers including one from Two Medicine on his day off soon arrived along with four members of the trail crew with a single wheel stretcher. (wheel is removable) If this couple gets a chance to read this please drop me a note.
August 29, 2012
Blue skies with high scattered cumulus clouds.
August 27, 2012
Smoke is starting to soften the views on the west side of Glacier Park. Camp sites are available at all campgrounds except for Many Glacier.
August 26, 2012
Hiked to Gunsight Lake and a short way beyond. The new suspension bridge is still not complete so waded across knee deep water. Water shoes or flip flops would have been nice as there are lots of sharp rocks in the creek bed.
NPS Trail Report ~ Hand cable removed at outlet of Gunsight Lake 8/16/12 will be re-installed by 9/7/12 or bridge will be in service on that date
Great views of Jackson & Blackfoot Glaciers from the trail. Gunsight Lake is a very nice alpine lake with no crowds. Spent an hour on the beach before anyone else came to the shore. 12.8 miles round trip as I took the easy way out to the St Mary Shuttle stop. Toads on the trail pn the return trip.
August 25, 2012
Logan Pass photographed marmot with infant. No sign of Big Horn Rams at the pass but am told they are on the Highline Trail. Hidden Lake Trail remains closed due to bears. August 24. 2012
Wind Advisory changed to Wind and winter weather advisory
".. Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until noon MDT today for Glacier National Park west of the Continental Divide... A Winter Weather Advisory for Glacier National Park west of the Continental Divide remains in effect until noon MDT today. * Impacts/timing: a huge change to much colder conditions... strong winds and mixture of rain and snow for the higher terrain is expected this morning. * Strong winds can be expected over the higher terrain... with gusts to 70 mph at Logan Pass. * Snow accumulations: up to one inch is expected in the higher terrain of Glacier National Park... mainly above 7000 feet. * Temperatures should be 20 to 30 degrees colder than observed the past few days. * The higher terrain will also become obscured in the clouds and showers this morning."
August 23, 2012
Sometime this month GNP trail crew replaced the first log bridge and installed a new less confusing trail sign at the 'T' intersection of the Siyeh Bend and Piegan Pass Trails.
Hiked to Siyeh Pass and took stub track to Sexton Glacier. Snow at pass from end of July totally gone. Route up to Siyeh Pass across scree field was VERY windy luckily the pass itself provides a wind break when you get to the pass. Descent to Sunrift Gorge in late afternoon was also very windy. Access to the base of Sexton Glacier was clear of snow until the large snowfield at the base of the glacier itself. Made no attempt to climb on glacier, which has large deep crevasses. The stub track, it isn't really a trail, should only be attempted by those comfortable and experienced with off trail travel. Including not walking on plant life, and finding a safe route.
August 22, 2012
... Wind Advisory in effect from 3 am to 6 PM MDT Friday... The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a Wind Advisory... which is in effect from 3 am to 6 PM MDT Friday. * Impacts/timing: westerly winds will be increasing Thursday night before peaking during the day Friday. Outdoor enthusiasts should be prepared for very windy conditions. In addition... temperatures will struggle to make it out of the 40s in the mountains... with only 50s at the lower elevations on Friday. * Winds: west winds 15 to 25 mph are expected throughout the West Glacier region. However... higher terrain sites will likely experience wind gusts up to 50 mph. Logan Pass could see gusts up to 70 mph. * Locations impacted include... bad Rock Canyon... Essex... Marias Pass... Polebridge Precautionary/preparedness actions... A Wind Advisory means that winds of 35 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult... especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution.
August 21, 2012
Much needed rain but not enough made it's journey East.
Jackson Glacier, Cracker Lake, Scenic Point and Dawson Pass are on my hikes to do list plus a second trip to Grinnell Glacier sometime around mid September.
August 20, 2012
I had planned on taking the shuttle to Logan Pass but plans changed at the last moment which resulted in my seeing and getting pics of a bull moose in McDonald Creek. Logan Pass parking lot was as expected full. With the construction delays on GTSR cars from the west side appear at the pass in waves. If you are not the leader of that wave your chance of getting a parking space mid day is small to none.
After spending several hours on the east side of GNP returned to Logan Pass and clear weather. Hiked up towards Hidden Lake in the hope of getting a pic of a Pika. Clear weather rapidly changed to a fast moving Thunderstorm. Got back to pass just before the storm started to break against the Garden Wall towards Granite Park. Drove down GTSR dodging rocks as the storm passed quickly over the divide.
August 19, 2012
Logan Pass to Hidden Lake Overlook and part way up Reynolds Trail. My thanks to the Tripadivsor crew as I saw my first up close Pika on this hike. Snow on Hidden Lake Overlook Trail is all gone and bridge is now visible over creek before moraine.
August 16, 2012
Hiked from the Loop to Granite Park Chalet and from there to Swiftcurrent Lookout. 360 degree views of Many Glacier, Garden Wall, Logan Pass at one point you are looking straight down on the section of the Garden Wall the leads up to Iceberg Point.
August 12, 2012
hiked to Grinnell Glacier by way of Glacier Boat. No snow on the trail. Wildflowers beyond there peak. Most of Upper Grinnell lake is still frozen.
August 10, 2012
Grinnell Glacier Trail is posted for bear on the north shore trail, board walk to the Glacier
August 9, 2012
Hiked from The Loop to Granite Park Chalet. The Loop Trail was hot and dry, wildflowers still abundant but past their peak. After getting some much appreciated Gatorade at the Granite Park Chalet, then continued hike up to Grinnell Overlook on the Garden Wall Trail. Garden Wall Trail is not for the faint at heart. Steep, slippery trail with steep drop off to awesome views with even greater drop-offs. Don't try this trail when windy or wet! If you were bothered by the cable section of the Highline Trail this trail is 100 times trickier both up and down.
August 7, 2012
Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail opened this afternoon.
August 5, 2012
Search Effort Scaling Down for Missing Hiker
"No new clues have been found in the search for missing hiker, Jackson Kreiser. Limited search efforts will continue until the probability of finding new information or clues leading to the location of Kreiser are exhausted.
August 4, 2012
NPS press release 8-4-12
"WEST GLACIER, MT. - Additional clues were found Friday evening in the continued search for missing hiker, Jackson Kreiser. Partial boot tracks similar to the boots believed to be worn by Kreiser were found in the Floral Park area by trained human trackers assisting with the search. These tracks are believed to be different from those found on July 31. "
NPS Press Release 8-5-12
August 3, 2012
Still no word when the Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail will open this year to the Overlook. Currently the trail is closed two miles from the start of the trail due to snow and ice conditions on the trail.
August 2, 2012
Several storm fronts passed through Glacier Park on Thursday bringing high winds, lightening and rain. Hiking on windy trails can be tricky. My hiking partner was blown off the Scenic Point Trail by a sudden gust of wind. Luckily no major injuries. When returning from Two Medicine to the west side by way of the GTSR in the early evening hours encountered numerous rocks on the road surface. Entered the clouds before the east side tunnel which reduced visibility to 20 feet.
August 1, 2012
Hungry Horse News published a close encounter of the bear kind that occurred on July 29, 2012 on the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
July 31, 2012
Hiked from Siyeh Bend to Siyeh Pass and then down to Sunrift Gorge. From the pass down needed to cross numerous snow fields covering the trail. Plus upon entering the forest at Sunrift Gorge there is a bear frequenting sign. So for the less adventurous or skilled hikers it would be best to limit it to Siyeh Bend and Preston Park or Siyeh Pass for those up to climbing up the narrow scree switchbacks to the always windy Siyeh Pass. If you do not have real world experience crossing snow fields on a steep sloping trail then don't try to gain that experience on this trail. You can hike either from Siyeh Bend to Preston Park or Sunrift Gorge to the snowfields. (see bear warning above) to see a major bear grass and wildflower bloom.
July 30, 2012
"A search operation is underway in Glacier National Park for a 19-year male hiker that failed to return following a day hike on Saturday, July 28. Late Saturday night dispatch received a call informing them that Jackson Kreiser, a seasonal employee with Glacier Park, Inc. at Lake McDonald Lodge, was overdue from a personal day hike in the park."
NPS Press Release
Hiker missing in Flower Point area.. . . This is the same general area that a hiker went missing from some four years ago.
July 29, 2012
NPS Trail Report
Piegan Pass Trail
Trail is clear except for one low angle, icy snow field covering about 20 ft.. of trail at trail head 7/27/2012 ~Siyeh Bend
Preston Park Act. to Piegan Pass/ 1.8 mi.
Initial clearing scheduled for: Clear except for 1 low angle snow field covering about 50 ft.. of trail
July 26, 2012
Highline Trail expected to open Friday. NPS Press Release
The HighLine Trail looks like it's going to be tricky in parts this year thanks to the recent flooding along the Garden Wall. Please read the NPS Press Release before deciding on hiking it this year!
July 25, 2012
Ice gone from Hidden Lake.
About 20% snow cover on Hidden Lake Overlook Trail.
Conditions at the moraine are tricky as the current 'trail' across the slope of the moraine is now on bare ground and it is NOT the actual trail. What this means is that for a short way you will be scrambling across rocky, steeply sloping bare ground. Use extreme caution. There are several areas of potential snow bridge collapse if you wander above the existing track!
Trail work has resumed on the Highline Trail!
Siyeh Pass Trail ~ Trail Posting at trailhead to one mile up trail 7/24/2012 for bear frequenting
Sunny and warm! Snow is melting fast on Alpine Trails.
July 24, 2012
Sunny and warm!
July 22, 2012
Iceberg Lake trail
Trail is POSTED for bear frequenting, 7/21/12
July 21, 2012
Huckleberry Lookout Trail Trail clear of snow, tons of mosquitoes on the lower portion of the trail. Huckleberries are starting to ripen on the lower portion of trail. Indian paintbrush providing lush display on the trail after the saddle and before the final ascent to the lookout.
July 19, 2012
Luckily for GNP the storm didn't hit Glacier Park!
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Glacier National Park on Friday, July 20 from noon to midnight. Heavy rain, lightning, hail, and winds up to 60 miles per hour may occur. Rainfall up to 2 inches per hour is forecast. - - Visitors are reminded to drive cautiously and stay alert for signs of slides when driving the Sun Road. - - NPS News Release
July 18, 2012
With the GTSR closed to through traffic the Sperry Snyder Mount Brown and Fish Creek Trails filled up with hikers. Hot sunny day, lots of reports of bear sittings black and grizzly. Just after I turned onto the Mount Brown Trail I could hear several large animals running through the underbrush just about the time I met up with two soon to be three hikers coming down from Mount Brown Lookout. At about the same time a black bear most likely a two year old started playing circle tag around us in the woods with another slightly larger black bear. The other hikers thought that it was two cubs after I think it might have been one cub and the cubs slightly larger mama. Don't know as I never was able to clearly see the larger bear which stuck to the trees. The smaller black bear at one point after tagging the larger bear came out onto the trail as started up the trail towards us. Luckily as I already had the safety off my bear spray the bear veered back into the woods and once again tagged the larger bear. Later that day I spoke with another hiker who had seen another black bear mama with two small cubs just slightly higher on the Mount Brown Trail. I did ask that hiker to show me with his hands the size of the smaller cubs and they were not the two bears that I had seen a few hours earlier.
I never did make it to Mount Brown Lookout and turned around at 4 PM as I did not want to be hiking out near dark.
The average time that the younger hiker set was taking start to finish yesterday was 4 1/2 hours from The Going To The Sun Road - to the Lookout and back to The Going To The Sun Road. My time if I would have continued would have been twice that.
July 17, 2012
One and one half inches of rain in 25 minutes resulted in 12 rock/mud slides on the West Side of The Going To The Sun Road from below Rim Rock area to near Road Camp.
Rock/Mud Slide closes Going To The Sun Road from Logan Pass to Avalanche!
July 16, 2012
Cracker Lake Trail
Trail is Posted for bear frequenting, 7/13/12
July 15, 2012
NPS Trail report for Logging Lake ~ Trail is muddy. For those of you that have hiked this trail in the past this report is no surprise, not mentioned but also a given on Logging Lake Trail would be mosquito's!
July 13, 2012
"Glacier National Park's summer astronomy program begins July 11 with day and evening ranger-led activities held on the east and west side of the park . . . Evening telescope viewing will be available Wednesday - Sunday at the Apgar Transit Center and daily at the St.. Mary Visitor Center from 10:00pm to midnight, weather and sky visibility dependent . . . Solar-viewing opportunities will be available at the Apgar Village Green, 100 yards north of the Apgar Visitor Center, on Wednesday - Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Informal solar-viewing opportunities will also be available at the St. Mary and Logan Pass Visitor Centers, weather permitting. Visitors can safely view sun spots and coronal mass ejections through a hydrogen-alpha filtered telescope."
excerpts from NPS Press Release
Thunder storms predicted for six days.
Apgar Web Cam seems to be locked up again.
The good news about the current weather is that Northwest Montana is getting rain along with lightening.
July 13, 2012
Thunder storms predicted for the next four days.
NPS Trail Status Update
Cracker Lake Trail
Trailhead at Hotel to Cracker Lake Campground 6.1 mi
Trail is clear of trees and has two small snow patches, 7/8/1
Ptarmigan/ Iceberg Trail Motel parking lot to jct. above Ptarmigan Falls/ 2.4 mi.
Cleared of downfall 6/29/12
Trail is clear of snow, 7/5/12
Jct. above Ptarmigan Falls to Iceberg Lake 2.1 mi.
bridge installed 7/6/12
100% clear of snow to bridge and from the bridge to the lake 100% snow covered 7/6/12
Ptarmigan Lake to Ptarmigan Tunnel 0.9 mi.
Tunnel was CLOSED for the season 10/4/2011
Trail is 30% snow covered, 5-6 steep snowfields/chutes exist around west side of lake.
2 steep snow chutes on switchbacks to Tunnel.
Trek poles recommended at least
Tunnel is scheduled to open 7/20/12
Huckleberry Mountain Trail
Camas Road to Huckleberry Lookout/ 6.0 mi.
Trail cleared to saddle unknown if trail is clear to the lookout.
Snow at saddle has melted as of 7/10/12.
July 11, 2012
Glacier Lilies blooming at Logan Pass
Lower meadows behind Visitor Center are mostly snow free.
HighLine Trail still closed.
Logan Pass parking not full at noon today.
Bear Grass starting to bloom along GTSR in the alpine area on west side.
July 10, 2012
For some reason the NPS can't figure out how to update their website with news releases on the day of the news release. I gave up on fax machines almost five years ago so I have to wait a day sometimes two days to get the latest news release. So check the local papers today for the latest news regarding Glacier Park.
The first hike I did this year in Glacier Park was in mid April on the South Boundary Trail ~ before the suspension bridge was put in for the 2012 hiking season. Will need to hike that trail again later this season while the bridge is still in place so that I can check out the new addition to Glacier Park.
July 7, 2012
Missoulian reports that "Glacier Park employee in stable condition after fall"
It was a warm and sunny day in Glacier Park today. Glacier Lilies are just starting to bloom at Hidden Lake. Lots & lots of mountain goats and mountain goat babies at Hidden Lake Overlook. The Trail is still 90% snow covered.
It appears that the Gunsight Lake Suspension bridge has been repaired and installed. (I spoke with some hikers that camped at Gunsight Lake last night and did not need to wade across the creek!)
July 6, 2012
Most people when hiking to St Mary Falls and Virginia Falls start at the tiny parking area on the GTSR. The is another way to do these falls and add another fall plus great views of St Mary Lake. I will be putting together a new trail page in the next few days for Sun Point To Virginia Falls which is an easy hike with great views. Another sunny warm July day in Glacier Park in the valleys. Temp at Logan Pass dropped this morning at 7 AM to 46 F. Hope to get up to Mount Brown and Huckleberry Lookouts during the next couple of weeks.
Still no word regarding the hopefully recovering trail crew worker injured on July 3, 2012.
July 5, 2012.
It's July, it's sunny so most of the campgrounds are filling up by early afternoon.
Current weather conditions at Logan Pass are much warmer then yesterday at the same time and with little wind compared to yesterdays gusts of up to 60 mph. It is also mostly sunny in Glacier Park!
Work on the GTSR will resume today so expect delays of up to 30 minutes on the west side no construction work on the east side of GTSR this year.
No more information has been made public regarding the Trail Crew worker injured from a fall from the Highline Trail onto The Going To The Sun Road. GNP Trail Crews as I have mentioned repeatedly over the years are the unsung heroes of Glacier National Park.
July 4, 2012
All of my transportation within GNP today by way of the Free GNP Shuttle ~ starting with the Hikers express leaving Apgar at 7 AM and arriving at Logan Pass at 8 AM.
East Side Shuttle departed from Logan Pass at 8:30 AM
Nippy at Logan Pass at 8 AM this morning temp 35 F wind 41 mph gusting to 61 mph
at 2 PM it got to a balmy 45 F wind 26 mph gusting to 47 mph Sunny at 8 AM and at 2 PM. Hiked from Sun Point to St Mary Falls then after lunch at Rising Sun back to Logan Pass and up to Hidden Lake Overlook with lots of mountain goats and one baby mountain goat around Hidden Lake Overlook. Hidden Lake Overlook in much better condition then last week but still one very tricky short section.
July 3, 2012
NPS press Release 7-3-2012
WEST GLACIER, MONT A Glacier National Park employee was seriously injured today in a fall while working. As a veteran member of the park's trail crew, the 31-year old female was working with other crew members on sections of the popular Highline Trail. The incident occurred as the crew was returning to the Logan Pass Trailhead. GNP Press Release
GNP Trail Crews are the unsung heroes of Glacier Park . . .
July 2, 2012
Glacier Park campground have started their annual rite of filling up. Yesterday five campgrounds filled up with as usual Many Glacier leading the way by filling up the earliest. Many Glacier filled up at 2:44 PM this time but will soon start filling up early in the morning. St Mary's web cam is out of service. Rain is forecast for Tuesday.
Sperry Chalet is opening early this year contact them about vacancies.
July 1, 2012
NPS News Release " . . .Logan Pass will be accessible through Sunday, October 21 from the east side, and to allow for accelerated rehabilitation work this fall, the last day to access Logan Pass from the west side will be Sunday, September 16. This year is anticipated to be the last west-side early fall closure due to road rehabilitation work, and then the work will shift to the east side of the road below Siyeh Bend. Early fall closures are anticipated through 2015 on the east side. . ."
Which means that I can get to Logan Pass in late September and early October. With the onset of colder weather when the mountain goats and big horn rams start to grow their winter coats.
June 30, 2012
Shuttle Service starts tomorrow at 7 am in Apgar and 7:30 am in St Mary.
GNP has posted it's revised Shuttle Schedule for 2012 with a decreased frequency in shuttle service on both sides of Glacier Park.
West side shuttles depart every 30 minutes. East side shuttles depart every 40-60 minutes.
I used to be a shuttle fan . . . at least on the west side of Glacier Park.
June 28, 2012
Sunny and warm!
Lots of wildlife this year Big Horn Rams are active on the west side of GTSR and at Logan Pass ~ look out for them walking up the west side of GTSR. Saw my first weasel in GTSR near Two Dog Flats then while taking flowers pics along the GTSR on the west side a long tailed weasel was walking up the double yellow line. Luckily I was using my telephoto lens for the wildflowers and I was able to get some pics before the weasel made it's way up the rock cliff on the other side of the road. While I was at Hidden Lake Overlook others saw two different wolverines.
Hidden Lake Overlook Trail is slippery at the narrow spot on the trail as the snow consistency with all this rain is pretty tricky. If your not comfortable hiking in snow on a steep slope it is not a good trail choice at this time.
Snow depth is pretty low at Logan Pass with bare ground already showing up at the meadows near the visitor center.
June 26, 2012
St Mary has gotten 2.46 inches of rain since Saturday Afternoon!
1.16 of rain in the last 48 hours almost all of it since 1 pm today.
June 2012 is sweeping away all records for rainfall.
Flood warnings possible new rain up to 1 inch!
June 25, 2012
Sunny and I'm off to work.
Most of the construction in the Avalanche area is on the various pull outs and is not delaying traffic to any great extant. All of the 'extra' side of road parking past Avalanche has been blocked off this year.
There are reports of a small avalanche crossing the GTSR on Monday.
June 24, 2012
St Mary got dumped on Saturday Night with 1.3 inches of rain. Kalispell got over a half inch of rain in 20 minutes. Flathead Valley has now broken the all time record for the rainfall during June. Will need to wait to the end of the month for Glacier's data but currently stands at twice the average rainfall for June. Creeks, lakes and rivers are high. Went up to Logan Pass three times on Sunday found parking twice ~ the pass was below the cloud level ~ visibility varied from 20 feet to 10 feet. Of course when it finally cleared up in the afternoon I was not able to find parking at the pass. Delays at Big Bend on the west side of GTSR are by automated stoplight and last for 1/2 hour. The weeping wall is flowing not weeping, good thing that the GTSR is paved there otherwise it would have washed away. At times cloud level extended down to Siyeh Bend. Siyeh Bend this past winter experienced a large avalanche which has filled the Siyeh Pass Trail starting at the bend with ten feet and more of snow. All the trail signs but one have been destroyed, the one is leaning over. Don't see this trail opening any time soon. On the East Side of the GTSR wildflowers are making their appearance. The glacier lilies have come and gone but the bear grass has started along with alpine paintbrush, and numerous other wildflowers.
June 23, 2012
Flathead County and Glacier National Park just had a massive Florida style thunderstorm. Luckily (I hope) Flathead County took the brunt of the storm cell otherwise the GTSR is going to be in trouble.
NPS Trail Status for Hidden Lake Trail
100% Snow Covered, trail marked with yellow stakes to Overlook. Steep slippery snow at the moraine near Hidden Pass 6/22/12
Avoid resource damage, stay on boardwalk! Do not walk in meadows or on any vegetation.
June 22, 2012
NPS Trail Status for Highline Trail
TRAIL CLOSURE: from Logan Pass to Haystack Butte, for snow hazards 6/19/12
June 21, 2012 Sunny and warm!
NPS Trail Status report for the Grinnell Glacier Trail From Josephine Lake to Glacier Overlook ~ 3.7 mi. Trail CLOSED due to bear frequenting 6/15/2012
Trails around Josephine Lake to Grinnell Lake North Shore Trail to Oastler Shelter ~ 1.7 mi.
North shore trail is CLOSED due to bear frequenting, 6/8/12
The Trail Status Report page is a good source of information regarding trail conditions in Glacier National Park. There is no currently closed trail page.
June 19, 2012
Quarter Circle Bridge is now CLOSED due to flooding per dispatch-6/18/12
June 18, 2012
Current forecast calls for partly cloudy Wednesday - Friday this week.
June 16, 2012
NPS Trail Status report for the Highline Trail.
NPS Trail Crew Report: 2012 Logan Pass - Granite Park Chalet/ 7.6 mi.
Initial clearing scheduled for: 7/5/12.
Safety handline cable: installation scheduled for 6/30/12.
Narrow Trail Advisory: There is a narrow section of trail about 1/4 mile from the Trailhead at Logan Pass about 100 feet in length.
Use caution while traversing. Do not kick or dislodge rock
June 15, 2012
This is a guess based on GNP plowing map that the GTSR might open over the next two or three days.
It was warm and sunny at Apgar Lookout today. Hiked to Apgar Lookout first time since the Roberts Fire that I haven't had to step over downed trees! Muddy and buggy on the lower section of the trail after that a smattering of wildflowers including one I need to look, up which had an overpowering cloying scent.
June 14, 2012
Elevation gain from Avalanche to The Loop on the GTSR is 900 feet with The Loop being at 4,300 feet. Google it seems is getting rid of their on-line topo maps which is very sad. I have a National Geographic waterproof topo map of Glacier Park but it is very tricky to figure out elevations out that aren't marked. So for you bikers out there it's 7 miles and 900 feet gain.
June 13, 2012
Average rainfall for June in West Glacier is 3.5" this years rainfall for June as of June 12, 2012 is 4". Good for wildflowers bad for hiking.
June 12, 2012
NPS Press Release
June 12, 2012
WEST GLACIER, MONT. - Access to Logan Pass via the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is anticipated to be available to the public by the middle of next week. A weekend storm dumped another 10 inches of snow prompting additional snow slides on the road. Since Memorial Day Weekend, a minimum of 35 inches of snow has fallen at the higher elevations of the road. Glacier National Park Deputy Superintendent Kym Hall said, "Our goal has been to open access to Logan Pass by mid-June and we believe we can accomplish that by the middle of next week, weather dependent." Hall said, "The weather has been challenging the past couple of weeks, but the plowing crew has put in extra time and done an exceptional job to provide mid-June access."
NPS Plow Crew Report for June 12, 2012 mentions the east and west crews will be working jointly on Big Drift and the Logan Pass parking lot. Which means they most likely have Big Drift down to a 'level' surface of snow so that the east side crews can bring their equipment across the Big Drift. (or they trucked a bunch of equipment up Rt 2 and up the GTSR from the west side.)
Logan Pass will not open before middle of NEXT WEEK
Warm, sometimes sunny weather continues for GNP, followed by more rain. Biking on The Going To The Sun Road remains a popular activity for visitors along with hiking Avalanche Trail (west side of park). Parking remains at a premium at Avalanche. Yesterday it was 70 F and sunny at The Loop at 4:30 PM. A quick rain squall arrived at Sprague Creek Campground around 7 PM. Not many campers willing to brave the weather forecasts of rainy weather. NPS plow crew still hasn't updated their Flickr photos since June 2, 2012. Weekday hikers and bikers going up GTSR have to share the road with various sizes of trucks and bears. Wildflowers have staged a rally with the warm weather.
June 10, 2012 it snowed again at Apgar Lookout!
Snow gone June 11, 2012.
It snowed at Apgar Lookout - June 6, 2012
Logan Pass got 12" of snow
June 11, 2012
Great Falls Tribune quotes GNP press officer Denise Germann that GNP 'hopes' to be open this Friday.
Since the plow crew hasn't updated their pics since June 2, 2012 and it snowed again on Sunday I can't predict opening date with any certainty. Snowline in GNP varies with which way the slope is facing and how steep the slope is but as a rough estimate Snowline is now around 6,000 feet. In heavily treed areas it will be lower on south facing steep slopes it will be higher. So for now the Alpine Trails will be mostly snow covered.
June 10, 2012
It's snowing again at Apgar Lookout. Which means it will be snowing at Logan Pass again. Historically June is a wet month but this year appears to be heading towards setting records for rain and snow!
June 7, 2012 Sunny, warm weather followed yesterdays chilly, snowy weather. Plows back up top clearing new snowfall from GTSR and working on the Big Drift.
June 6, 2012 snow as low as Apgar Lookout heavy rains at lower elevations. Flood watch for streams and rivers in Glacier National Park. Winter storm warning for Essex and Marias Pass 6 - 12 inches of snow expected.
At this point there is no chance of Going To The Sun Road opening on June 15, 2012.
NPS Trail Crew Report for Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
Trail clear of trees and snow for first 3.5 miles. Windmaker Creek Suspension bridge installed. After bridge, trail 100% snow covered, 6/6/12
June 5, 2012 Rainy weather is keeping it's grip on Northwest Montana. One sunny day a week forecast for last week and this coming week, hopefully this weeks forecast will be more accurate.
NPS Trail Report for Scenic Point Trail/Mt Henry Trail
1 tree on trail near trailhead. Snow cover upper 1/3 of trail. Snow hazard near Scenic Point. 5-31-2012
NPS Trail Report for Loop - Granite Park Chalet 4.0 mi. Clearing started 6/4/12. no report on snow cover.
NPS Trail Report for Snyder Lake Trail
Sperry Trail to Snyder Lake / 2.6 mi.
Trees Down: 15, 05/28/2012 per 223. Snow Cover: 20%, 05/28/2012 per 223
June 4, 2012 GNP plow crew posted last Fridays plow pics this morning on Flickr. West side plow crew was at Logan Pass east side plow crew started on Big Bend. Looks like GTSR will open sometime on June 15, 2012. (see note above from June 6, 2012)
June 3, 2012 Forecast was for sunny weather, biked to The Loop with patches of blue sky and the clouds brushing the ridge of the Garden Wall. Stopped for a break and chat with friends at The Loop and was just getting ready to bike up to the Bird Woman Falls Overlook when I glanced towards Heavens Peak which is 8,869 feet and the sky was black so we elected to go back to Avalanche and made it almost half way back before the rain hit. Since it was about thirty degrees warmer then last week it was just a wet ride back to Avalanche. On the way up to The Loop, I missed by about 10 minutes, seeing a moose with twin calves on the opposite shore of McDonald Creek. The flowers between Avalanche and Red Rock Falls have peaked, ferns and cow parsnip quickly filling in the undergrowth along the GTSR.
A hiker on the Huckleberry Lookout Trail had an encounter with a grizzly bear, some huffing and puffing on both parts and all parties elected to turn around.
June 3, 2012 Snotel reports an increase of 20% in the snow-pack for western Glacier Park.
June 1, 2012 Rainy season in Glacier Park has started. East side plow crew forced to lower elevations by poor visibility.
McDonald Creek rising with spring melt. No west plow report for June 1, 2012, it's possible that the west side crew has started work on Logan Pass parking lot but no firm information at this time.
May 30, 2012
The weekend's storm deposited 16 inches of new snow. New slides ranged from 8 to 15 feet deep and 25 to 30 feet deep in the Rim Rock area. GNP plow crew report
May 29, 2012 Snotel reports an increase of 15% in the snow-pack for western Glacier Park.
Compared to last year at this date this years while above average
is a drop in the bucket compared to 2012.
May 27, 2012
GNP Visitor Centers have current Trail Status lists, with emphasis on which trails have been posted for bear frequenting or closed due to bear activity. This holiday weekend has been wet and in places like Two Medicine snowy. Watched another great presentation by Sumio Harada's on "Four Seasons of Red Squirrels" at Montana House located next to Apgar Visitor Center. At the Apgar Visitor Center was introduced to a GREAT wildflower book aptly titled "Wildflowers of Glacier National Park". Which allowed me to identify the Early Blue Violet which I had photographed while biking up to The Loop.
May 25, 2012
Bike closure up to Bird Women Overlook for holiday weekend. West Side
On the East Side hiker/biker access is to Siyeh Bend, 2 miles past the vehicle closure - while the road crew is working. No hiker/biker restrictions Friday through Monday. Hikers and bikers should always be on alert for construction hazards and avalanche danger. East Side
Avalanche danger is always a possibility this time of year on both sides of GTSR.
Cold, wet, snowy weather at The Loop and above on the west side today.
Biked to The Loop, in addition to the flowers mentioned in an earlier post Indian Paintbrush are now blooming starting around Packers Roost turnoff, plus a large increase in bellflower's. Limited visibility with cloud cover down to just a bit higher then The Loop at some points today. Rain, sleet and high winds at times.
May 25, 2012 NPS Trail Crew Report 2012
Trail Crew Report Running Eagle Falls Trail Cleared and bridge installed 5/25/12
Running Eagle Falls Trail did not open fully in 2012 until August.
May 24, 2012 Plowing Activity On Thursday, May 24, 2012, The West Lakes Road Crew and the Hudson Bay Road Crew had to stop plowing due to inclement weather in the high country. They faced strong blowing snow and low visibility. (NPS Plow report)
May 24, 2012
NPS Plow Report On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, The West Lakes Road Crew continued plowing Rim Rocks, approximately one mile west of Logan Pass. The crew also made a pioneer cut to Logan Pass. Snow depth was up to 30 feet. It rained and snowed with strong winds all day and temperatures ranged from 31-33 degrees.
May 23, 2012
NPS news release Weir to be removed and Bridge Replaced
Plow Crew Report GNP plow crew battled wind, rain, snow and near freezing temperatures on May 22, 2012. West side crew is almost to Oberlin Bend which is the last curve in GTSR before Logan Pass. East side crew is at Lunch Creek and is getting ready to tackle the Big Drift.
No word yet on how deep the Big Drift is this year.
May 23, 2012
First heavy equipment makes it to Logan Pass
May 21, 2012 Snotel reports has the North Fork of the Flathead River at 108% a drop of 15% over the last two weeks (there was not a report last week)
NPS Plow Report
May 22, 2012
Avalanche Trail posted: Bear frequenting 5-21-12
Hiker/Biker Access: On the West Side, the hiker/biker closure is at Loop,
7 miles beyond the Avalanche Creek closure.
On the East Side hiker/biker access is to Siyeh Bend,
2 miles past the vehicle closure - while the road crew is working.
Yesterdays weather forecast has so far been accurate with heavy rain last night.
Many Glacier, Two Medicine and Rising Sun Campgrounds are scheduled to open this Friday May 25, 2012
May 21, 2012
Weather forecast for the next week is cloudy and wet.
May 19, 2012
Biked from Avalanche to The Loop no snow at The Loop. Lots of wildflowers along the GTSR. Trilliums, glacier lilies, spring beauty and bluebells. Plus a bear on the side of GTSR and three harlequin ducks in McDonald Creek. A male and female harlequin duck near Logan Creek and a solitary male harlequin duck near the moose bog.
Signs warning of trucks on the road but none came by while I was biking but as I left Avalanche had a dump truck follow me out of the park.
Be prepared this summer for major parking and congestion problems at Avalanche. Road construction is scheduled to start this summer just past Avalanche up to the GNP gravel pit which is just before Logan Creek. Depending on where they put the construction flagman things could get very interesting at Avalanche.
May 18, 2012
Plow crew working during snowstorm near Logan Pass.
NPS Trail Report for
May 15, 2012
Apgar Lookout Trail
6 new trees have come down since earlier clearing operation.
All in first 1.5 miles of trail. HAZARD FROM '03 FIRES May 17, 2012 GNP plow crews are five weeks ahead of 2011 plowing on the west side of GTSR
May 12, 2012 GTSR open to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side.
May 4, 2012 Going To The Sun Road open to Avalanche.
May 7, 2012 Snotel reports show a 12% increase
in snow water equivalent.
April 30, 2012 Snotel reports show a drop in snow-pack with the average at 104% for this date.
May 16, 2012
Logging Lake Trail cleared as of May 16, 2012
Temperatures have been from 10 to 15 degrees above average for this time of year. Creeks and rivers are rising, flood potential if there is heavy rain.
West side plowing continues to be one month ahead of 2011.
May 15, 2012
West Lakeshore Trail to back country campground. Regrowth in deciduous area of Roberts Fire of 2003 along Lake McDonald is extensive with new trees from 3 feet to 10 feet tall. The cedar forest on the other hand has almost no tree regrowth just lots of shrubbery choking the trail. Twelve trees across trail despite trail being cleared last week. The last two were the only tricky ones.
May 12, 2012
Went to presentation at the Montana House, located next to the Apgar Visitor Center, given by Rachel Potter on Botanical Expeditions in Glacier National Park during 1909 and 1910.
May 11, 2012
Huckleberry Lookout Trail was cleared by NPS trail crew today, they were leaving when I got a late start.
Wildflowers blooming on Huckleberry Lookout Trail, Trilliums, Glacier Lilies, and among others. Did not make it to the snow line, trail in good shape, slightly muddy in spots. North facing switch backs have deep snow cover. Great views once you get up in elevation. Did not make it to the ridge.
Apgar Lookout Trail was cleared on May 9, 2012 also still has snow cover from near the top.
Quarter Circle Bridge is high and dry this year.
Should be a good wildflower year.
Temperatures were in the low twenties overnight in the valleys.
Well unless GNP has a severe weather event, or there is some hidden massive road damage The Going To The Sun Road won't have a late opening this year. Plows continue to be one month ahead of were they were in 2011. Valley level snow in Lake McDonald is essentially gone. Lower trails on the west side are drying out fast.
Inside North Fork Road: OPEN to vehicles from Polebridge to Logging Creek, then closed to vehicles between Logging Creek and Fish Creek
Bowman Road: OPEN to vehicles
Kintla Road: OPEN to vehicles
Chief Mountain: OPEN to vehicles to border.
No entry into Canada until May 15.
Kintla and Bowman Campground open in primitive state. (no water) THURSDAY MAY 10TH: Hiker/Biker Access is at Claude's Corner, approximately 5.5 miles past the Avalanche vehicle closure.
Fridays through Sundays, the hiker/biker closure will be at Bird Woman Falls Overlook.
May 9, 2012
Avalanche Trail is 99% snow free and 99% dry. There was a swan on the lake on May 9, 2012 first one I've seen in twenty two years of hiking this trail!
Sprague creek Campground opened.
May 8, 2012
The GNP plow crews continue their assault on the GTSR and are at Big Bend on the west side of the park. The plow crews did not reach this point until June 8, 2011. Be aware that spring snow, and wet weather have as much effect on the opening date of Logan Pass as winter snow depth at this point in the plowing. Last week the snow pack went up 15% from the previous week and is still above average for this date.
The highway repair work contract prevents the Going To The Sun Road opening before June 15, 2012 this year.
May 6, 2012
Lots of wildlife in Many Glacier.
Iceberg Lake Trail closed due to bear.
Less snow then same date 2008 in Many Glacier.
Two Medicine Lake minor ice on the lake compared to last year with the whole lake frozen nearly a month later. Highway 49 between Two Medicine and East Glacier not open yet. So it's the long way to Browning then East Glacier to get to Many Glacier. All the paved roads clear of snow. The campgrounds in Two Medicine and Many Glacier still filled with snow. Swiftcurrent Motor Inn has started their annual spring clean up.
Many Glacier has large areas of bare ground while in Two Medicine the only bare areas are plowed paved roads.
No wildflowers yet.
May 4, 2012
OK my guess from prior years is that the GTSR openings won't change much except on the east side when it will move to Jackson Glacier Overlook hopefully by Memorial Day.
The following status report is from GNP Plowing Info. Depending on weather will go to the east side to Two Medicine and Many Glacier as last trip was to East Glacier.
Packers Roost Road (6 miles beyond Avalanche Creek)
Note: Construction crews are now working all weekends on the Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation project, except Memorial Day Weekend.
This weekend and next weekend, the hiker-biker closure will be at Haystack Creek.
This upcoming Monday through Thursday,
there will be no hiker-biker access beyond Avalanche, until after 6 pm.
Hikers and bikers should always be on alert for construction hazards.
Jackson Glacier Overlook (13.5 miles west of St. Mary)
Going-to-the-Sun Road, west side: Open 16 miles from West Entrance to Avalanche Creek then closed to vehicles at Avalanche Creek
Quarter Circle Bridge Road: OPEN
North McDonald Road/Kelly Camp Road: OPEN to vehicles
Packers Roost Road: CLOSED to vehicles
Camas Road: OPEN to vehicles
Bowman Road: CLOSED to vehicles
Kintla Road: OPEN to vehicles for 6 miles, then closed at Big Prairie
Inside North Fork Road: CLOSED to vehicles
Going-to-the-Sun Road: Open 5.5 miles to Rising Sun, then closed to vehicles at Rising Sun
Many Glacier: OPEN to vehicles
Two Medicine: OPEN to vehicles
Chief Mountain: CLOSED to vehicles
Cut Bank: CLOSED to vehicles
May 3, 2012
East Side plow crews clearing out Siyeh Bend
Many Glacier: OPEN to vehicles
Two Medicine: OPEN to vehicles
Packers Roost Road(6 miles beyond Avalanche Creek)
Jackson Glacier Overlook (13.5 miles west of St. Mary)
April 11, 2012 The Going-to-the-Sun Road: Open 5 miles to Rising Sun.
"On April 6th, 2012, the Hudson Bay Road Crew worked on the Swiftcurrent complex and other plowing in the Many Glacier Valley. Road crews encountered drifts up to 20 plus feet deep."
April 2, 2012 spring plowing to Logan Pass started.
April 30, 2012
Glacier Park posted updated schedule for campgrounds.
Nearly all are for much earlier openings then last year.
April 27, 2012
On April 27th, 2012, the Hudson Bay Road Crew will clear snow from Dead Horse Point towards Sun Point (8.5 miles east of Logan Pass).
Hiker-Biker Access West Packers Roost Road(11.5 miles beyond the Lake McDonald Lodge)
April 27, 2012
South Boundary Trail bridge installed.
April 26, 2012
Hiker/Biker access to Going To The Sun Road
On the West Side, Hiker/Biker access is to Avalanche Exhibit, approximately 7.5 miles from the Lake McDonald Gate - while the road crew is working. On the weekend, there are no restrictions on the West Side for Hiker/Biker access. On the east side there are no Hiker/Biker restrictions. NPS as of 4-26-12
April 25, 2012 when the plowing will be complete is now more dependent on spring weather conditions then on winter snowfall. Unusually high spring temperatures combined with heavy rainfall pose a continued risk of spring flooding and large avalanches.
April 22, 2012
Tick season has started in Glacier National Park
Hiked South Boundary Trail encountered more ticks on that hike then I have in my entire life.
April 21, 2012
"Entrance fees to Glacier National Park and the nearly 400 National Park Sites across the country will be waived during National Park Week, April 21-29.
April 20, 2012
West Side Hiker Biker
There will be no hiker/biker restrictions on Saturday and Sunday.
April 19, 2012
At this point in time the NPS west side snow plow crew is about 2 weeks ahead of where they were last year.
April 18, 2012
Avalanche Creek (5.5 miles beyond the Lake McDonald Lodge)
No restrictions on hiker/biker access on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (from Rising Sun vehicle closure).
Updated April 27, 2012
Plowing to restart on east side of The Going To The Sun Road so the snow shown below will be gone.
GTSR on east side snow covered after road closure so you can hike, or snowshoe but biking would be pretty tricky.
The Two Medicine Road is now open for vehicles to Running Eagle Falls, with hiker/biker access beyond the closure to where the road crew is working (approximately 1 mile).
April 16, 2012
Going-to-the-Sun Road, west side: Open 11 miles from West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge
then closed to vehicles at Lake McDonald Lodge
Quarter Circle Bridge Road: CLOSED to vehicles
North McDonald Road/Kelly Camp Road: CLOSED to vehicles
Packers Roost Road: CLOSED to vehicles
Camas Road: OPEN to vehicles
Bowman Road: CLOSED to vehicles
Kintla Road: OPEN to vehicles for 6 miles, then closed at Big Prairie
Inside North Fork Road: CLOSED to vehicles
The Two Medicine Road is currently closed at Running Eagle Falls due to plowing. Hiker/biker beyond Running Eagle Falls gate will be where ever the road crew is not working. The road crew will have portable signs they will put up showing where they are currently plowing.
Going-to-the-Sun Road: Open 5 miles to Rising Sun,
then closed to vehicles at Rising Sun Many Glacier: CLOSED to vehicles at Boundary Gate from NPS plow report
April 14, 2012
The Going To The Sun Road on the east side is open from East Glacier to Rising Sun to hikers, bikers and cars. Be aware that except for the St Mary Campground nothing else is open in Glacier National Park on the east side. The only toilets (pit) are located in St Mary Campground.
The Going To The Sun Road was clear of snow as of April 14, 2012. St Mary Lake remains frozen along this five miles section of GTSR. If your biking be prepared for the possibility of major headwinds. On Saturday April 4, 2012 I saw five cars on the road one of which was a park ranger. There were no other bikers. The road is gated just past the boat launch for Glacier Boat and the GTSR is snow covered from that point on. Two Dog Flat is clear of all snow and is posted as no access mainly for the resident elk herd, which was not visible today.
It was a great blue sky day at the start of the ride but a storm front was rapidly approaching the St Mary Valley on the return ride.
Weather permitting will hike The South Boundary Trail some time next week. The following week hope to circumnavigate Lake McDonald - hike/bike - which will be about 22 miles.
April 12, 2012
It's April and it's raining. In northwest Montana when you want to get out in the spring you go when it's sunny no matter what day of the week it is otherwise your going to get wet.
April 11, 2012
According to NPS Plow Reports "On the West Side, Hiker/Biker access is to Avalanche, approximately 4.5 miles from the Lake McDonald Gate - while the road crew is working. On the weekend, there are no restrictions on the West Side for Hiker/Biker access.
April 6, 2012
On the east side the Hiker/Biker access is located approximately 1/2 mile beyond the Mile and a Half Gate due to wildlife activity - everyday." Which means you can make it to Red Rock Falls if you have studded bike tires. Next week the park is scheduled to start removing the ice.
Plowing started on clearing the Going To The Sun Road of snow on April 2, 2012. At this point the road from McDonald Lodge towards Avalanche is now a nice sheet of ice, so bring your ice skates. Temperatures are supposed to be in the low 60's today, but that section of road is mostly in the shade so it will take a little time for the ice to melt. The parks large snowblower chained up and left the first stretch of the road to one of the parks road graders.
The Going To The Sun Road from Apgar to Lake McDonald Lodge is free of ice and snow with relatively small plow berms on the sides of the road as of 4-2-2012.
On the east side The Going-to-the-Sun Road: Open 5 miles to Rising Sun, then closed to vehicles at Rising Sun.
From NPS plowing report as of 4-3-2012 "The Hudson Bay Road Crew started plowing the Many Glacier Road from the dam into the valley. They encountered snow drifts of up to 10 feet. The weather was stormy, windy and cold."
March 26, 2012, Snotel Reports, continue to rise since the arrival of spring Glacier Park west side is 108% with the east side on the 'low' side at 103% of the 30 year average for this date. As of March 5, 2012 snow-pack in Glacier Park finally made it to 100%.
February 21, 2012 snow-pack in Glacier Park is at 95% of average an increase of 12% over the preceding 7 days.
The 2012 Vernal Equinox arrived accompanied by snow in Northwest Montana.
Well it took until the wild turkeys made their annual migration down my driveway before Glacier National Park snow-pack levels reached 100% of the 30 year average snowfall.
Note: Even though snow accumulation is below average it is not any where close to being the least recorded snowfall winter since recordings began in 1979.
At this time last year Lake Mcdonald was frozen for miles, this year there is no ice on Lake McDonald.
It's late February and winter snow is finally starting to accumulate.
Snow levels in the Flathead River Basin are at 85% of average. Glacier Park feeds into this watershed as well as to Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is still too early to predict when Logan Pass will open but if I am reading gov speak correctly that won't be before June 15th of this year.
According to the Western Federal Lands Highway Department the construction zones for The Going To The Sun Highway for 2012 are from Avalanche to the Logan Gravel Pit and from Haystack Creek to Big Bend on the west side. From the map no construction is scheduled for the east side. The official plan is for construction at Avalanche to start in late March of this year. (if I'm reading gov speak correctly)
The winter of 2011/2012 continues on with brief transitory bits of winter weather in the lower elevations, followed by above freezing temperatures and rain.
Well winter like weather has finally arrived in Northwest Montana.
NPS press Release 1-15-2012
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park, Flathead County Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue Team and Kalispell Regional Medical Center's A.L.E.R.T. Air Ambulance responded to and rescued a couple of cross-country skiers that were lost and stranded overnight in the North Fork area of Glacier National Park. Two individuals from Kalispell, a married couple, male age 46 and female age 39, sent a 911 message using a spot messenger device as they were lost and stranded in Glacier National Park. Flathead County Dispatch received the message at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday night indicating the message originated from a remote location approximately one mile north of the Akokala Creek Trail in the North Fork area of park, approximately six miles north of Polebridge. Park rangers were immediately notified and an incident team was organized. Due to bad weather, downed trees, difficult trail conditions, darkness and overall unsafe conditions for ground or aerial searches, it was determined that a response would need to take place early Sunday morning. Sunday morning park rangers and members of the county's rescue team began traveling to find the couple via snowshoes and cross-country skis. As weather conditions allowed, A.L.E.R.T. flew the area and were able to identify tracks. The helicopter landed briefly and dispatched two crew members on the ground. The crew members reached the couple after hiking about one half mile and treated them on the scene. The helicopter then returned as weather cleared and retrieved the couple. They were transported to a landing area near the Polebridge Mercantile where park rangers met them and transported them to the Polebridge Ranger Station. The couple returned home via their own vehicle at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
The info below is from Spot's Web page.
"pair your smartphone with SPOT Connect, and get connected to a global satellite network that lets you send messages and GPS coordinates from virtually anywhere on the planet. Update Twitter and Facebook. Send email and text messages. Request non-emergency help from professional service providers. And in the case of a critical emergency, send an SOS message requesting emergency assistance."
For the record 99% of Glacier National Park does not have cell phone coverage.
From news reports Alaska is getting all the snow this winter.
January 4, 2012
Montana temperatures were twice that of Florida!
On January 4, 2012 a large wildfire started outside of Browning with fire companies coming from as far as Columbia Falls. Unlike Texas wildfires in Montana during January are very, very rare. High winds in January on the east side of the park are a given and this fire was driven by winds gusting up to 70 mph. Over 16,000 acres were burned in this winter wildfire.
Snowy Owls, also known as, Arctic Owls are making their somewhat irregular migration, actually an irruption, to Northwest Montana. So far have seen the snowy owl on the last three trips, as is the norm the closest and most spectacular was when I was least prepared, didn't even have my camera but was using my daughter-in-laws new camera, different brand then mine, different controls and settings. Hopefully this Arctic Owl will stay around all winter.
Will be adding pics of these gorgeous owls soon!
Chilly weather to greet the new year temps in the low teens on the first of 2012.
The Highline Trail and the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail start at 6,600 feet. Many of these day hikes traverse mountains essentially untouched by man, bring the proper rain gear. Plan your Glacier National Park lodging well in advance. on some of the trails in Glacier Park the trail itself is the only sign of civilization, other more popular trails are often crowded with a wide variety of 'hikers'.
Day Hikes in Glacier, available at the entrance stations to Glacier National Park, and the Visitor Centers in West Glacier and Saint Mary, lists sixty-one hikes that you can take without a passport. The 2011 version includes information on the free Glacier Park Shuttle, get a copy of the latest Glacier Shuttle Guide as the Glacier Shuttle has changed routes and hours of operation since it's opening. As long as the hike starts on the Going to the Sun Road and ends somewhere else on the Going to the Sun Road the Park Shuttle works great. It is truly a pleasure to use, but if your hike starts on the Going to the Sun Road and then ends in Many Glacier your options are much more limited.
The unsung heroes in GNP are the trail crews. I start hiking early in the season frequently before the GNP Trail Crew has gotten there. The number of downed trees crossing the trails every year is staggering. One year I hiked the South Boundary Trail and there were a dozen trees across the trail when I hiked in and two when I hiked out and met up with the trail crew who hadn't gotten to the remaining two trees yet.
The thing I find most striking about the big horn sheep, aside from the horns on the rams
Photo below taken by NPS snow survey crew