As Flooding Impacts Portions of Montana, Here’s What You Need to Know

By Discover Kalispell on June 17, 2022

If temporary closures are affecting your Yellowstone National Park vacation and travel plans, we can help

With recent flooding and road damages impacting portions of Yellowstone National Park, we know that your summer vacation plans may be impacted. But in great travel news, as of July 2 Yellowstone National Park will reopen the north loop and suspend the temporary alternating license plate system - 93% of roadways in Yellowstone will be open as of July 2. In addition, neighboring communities – including Gardiner, Livingston, West Yellowstone and Red Lodge – are open and welcome your  business. 

With all of this in mind, we want to invite you to continue your vacation through this amazing state. If your revised travel plans bring you to Kalispell and northwest Montana, welcome - we’re glad you’re here. If you have any questions about things to do, where to stay or other suggestions, let us know

In northwest Montana, we are currently experiencing exaggerated spring conditions and our high elevations continue to welcome snow and rain. It’s vital, no matter when you visit, that you know before you go. Be sure to check road status and trail status before venturing off to play in our area’s wild outdoors. No matter when you visit - but especially with recent changing conditions - your safety is of the utmost importance. 

As there are likely more travelers in northwest Montana than usual, we also want to ask you to be patient and kind. Our local hospitality workers - from frontline staff at hotels to fly-fishing guides and waiters to clerks - are striving to provide the best experience possible. And with staff shortages still being felt here in Kalispell and Montana, please know that everyone is doing their best. We appreciate your patience, your kindness, your generosity and your support of Montana, our tourism industry and our residents. This is an opportunity to slow down, take your time and soak up every minute you have here in Montana. 

Glacier National Park is Open and Operating, But With Changing Conditions 

This year, perhaps more than usual, spring is hanging on in Glacier National Park, which means the Crown of the Continent has been welcoming rain, cool weather, avalanches, snow and some flooding. Conditions change quickly and if you’re planning on visiting Glacier National Park, be sure to check the road report and trail status before you depart. If you do plan to head into Glacier National Park, be as prepared as possible. Take drinking water and snacks, know how to recreate responsibly, use extra caution around waterways, be sure you are dressed for the conditions and go with a guide when possible. 

Here is a detailed checklist to help you have the best experience possible. 

Check the road status. Vehicles can drive portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, from both the east side and the west side. While the Going-to-the-Sun Road is not open in its entirety at the moment, vehicle reservations (more on those below) are required for access points on the west side, including Camas Creek and West Glacier. No vehicle reservations are needed for the St. Mary entrance until the road is completely open (exact date TBD). Check the latest road updates here

Late spring/early summer is hiker/biker season on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Access is available on the Going-to-the-Sun Road past the vehicle closure points. Check daily for road status and access updates.

Trails and campgrounds. Flooding may impact trails and conditions may change quickly depending on current weather conditions. Find the latest info here. Campground availability and status is available at recreation.gov.

Reminder: Glacier National Park has a vehicle reservation system in place for the Going-to-the-Sun Road and the North Fork-Polebridge entrance station. 

Vehicle reservations are required for the Camas Creek and West Glacier entrances for the Going-to-the-Sun Road from 6 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Also, due to a utility project, there is no access on the west side prior to 6 a.m.). No reservation is needed for the east entrance at St. Mary until the road is open in its entirety.

Vehicle reservations are needed for the North Fork (Polebridge entrance) from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. Reservations are being released one day in advance at Recreation.gov. Want to learn more? We’re answering your most-asked questions on the blog

Road construction and infrastructure project work. Due to a much-needed utility project, construction has closed the Going-to-the-Sun Road from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. from the south end of Lake McDonald (near Apgar Campground) to Sprague Creek Campground. 

Check the weather, plan ahead and be prepared. No matter when you visit, we always recommend being as prepared as possible. Check the latest weather forecasts, learn about what to pack and get more information on Kalispell here

There is Plenty to do Outside of Glacier National Park 

Six Ways to Enjoy Glacier National Park Without a Vehicle Reservation

Things To Do Outside Glacier National Park

Things To Do In and Around Kalispell

These Montana Views Will Make You Think You're in a National Park

Traveling and Road Tripping around Northwest Montana

With spring runoff and rain in full force, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the latest road conditions. When you are driving in Montana, be sure to watch for water on the roads, keep an eye out for falling rock and debris, never drive across a flooded road and drive slow enough to handle any unseen potholes or debris that may be on the road.

Montana Department of Transportation Travel Alerts

Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information Map

Recreating on Water

Water is one of the most powerful forces of nature on the planet and it’s found in abundance in northwest Montana and Glacier National Park. If you get out of the car to stretch your legs or take in a hike, use extra caution around water, including streams, rivers and lakes. Keep in mind that much of what makes it dangerous is found underneath the surface. If you plan to hit Montana’s waterways, go with an experienced guide or outfitter and ensure you are wearing a PFD. Keep an eye out on ever-changing conditions as well. In addition, if you are boating on local lakes, be mindful of the wake your boat leaves and the impact that water will have on property and homes along the shoreline. 

Montana Fish Wildlife Parks Current Closures and Restrictions

USGS Water data

National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction

Avoid boat access points and ramps if access is impeded by high water. Check status of fishing access sites and state parks.

Local Resources

Glacier National Park
Flathead National Forest
FWP site restrictions and closures
Flathead County

Discover Kalispell Visitor Center is located at 15 Depot Park, Kalispell.
Open Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or contact a travel counselor at 406-758-2811 or 
[email protected].

Yellowstone National Park

July 2, 2022 -  Yellowstone National Park to reopen north loop July 2 and suspend Alternating License Plate System, 93% of roadways will be open in the park.

June 22, 2022 -  Yellowstone National Park's south loop reopened to visitors using an interim visitor entry process based on an Alternating License Plate System.  Learn more.
View a MAP of the open, closed and flood impacted areas of Yellowstone.

Neighboring towns are open and welcoming visitors, including Red Lodge, Livingston , West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana.

 

Love, Discover Kalispell

Day Trips & Itineraries

Great Falls to Kalispell: Driving Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front

Missoula to Kalispell: Cruising U.S. Highway 93

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