Visiting Glacier National Park in 2022? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Discover Kalispell on Apr. 08, 2022

Located in the northwest corner of Montana, Glacier National Park is one of the state’s must-visit destinations. Encompassing 1 million acres, the park is open year-round and is an incredible place to visit, no matter the season. (Learn more about winter in Glacier National Park.)  

Here in Kalispell, we’re a scenic 32 miles from the park’s west entrance, making it easy to stay in our mountain town and explore all the Crown of the Continent has to offer.  

And while it used to be easy to jump in the car and head into the park, in 2021, the National Park Service implemented a vehicle reservation system (formerly known as an entry ticket) to help manage high-traffic areas in the park during the peak summer months, including the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) and the North Fork. After a successful pilot program in 2021, Glacier National Park announced that vehicle reservations will continue during summer 2022, with some new additions, adjustments and more.

If you're planning a visit to Glacier National Park this summer, here's everything you need to know. 

1. The vehicle reservation system will be in place from May 27-September 11, 2022. Cyclists and visitors on foot do not need a vehicle reservation; however, they do still need a park pass. Vehicle reservations can be purchased for a $2 fee on recreation.gov starting March 2, 2022 at 8 a.m. or by calling the call center for recreation.gov at 877-444-6777;  vehicle reservations will be available 120 days in advance on a rolling window. Additional vehicle reservations will also be available one day in advance starting on May 27, 2022.  Meanwhile park passes can be purchased online or at entry stations, depending on visitor preferences and length of stay.

Outside of May 27-September 11, 2022, no vehicle reservation is needed to visit the park. However, a park pass is still required. As with last year, if visitors have a service reservation inside the park (lodging, boat tour, etc.), a vehicle reservation is not required. 

2. Vehicle reservations are required for all westside access points along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, including West Glacier and Camas Creek. On the east side, visitors will be able to enter the Going-to-the-Sun Road at St. Mary without a vehicle reservation. However once the GTSR is open in its entirety, vehicle reservations will be required for entry starting at Rising Sun, which is 5 miles west of the St. Mary entrance. Entry tickets for the GTSR are valid for three days and vehicle reservations will be required between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

*Sidenote: prior to the road opening in its entirety, vehicle reservations will be required at Camas and West Glacier. However, no reservations are required for the east side (Rising Sun - 5 miles past the St. Mary entrance) until the road is open in its entirety, which is typically late June/early July. See the status for all roads inside the park here

*Due to a much-needed utility project starting on June 1, construction will close 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. There will be a small window at midnight each evening when cars will be piloted through construction. What this means: if you are staying inside the park (say at Lake McDonald Lodge) and your flight lands late in the day, you will be able to head into the park and to your accommodations at midnight when the pilot car leads you through. Additionally, if you get off the trail late (or maybe if you're stargazing at Logan Pass), you will have to wait until midnight to be piloted out of the park. Please note that the Going-to-the-Sun Road will still be accessible before 6 a.m. (without a vehicle reservation) from the east side of the park at the St. Mary entrance. 

*Starting on October 1, there will be no access to the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the west side of the park beyond Apgar Village. You will still be able to enter through the St. Mary entrance until the road closes for the year, which is usually around mid-October. 

3. New for this year, visitors to the North Fork of Glacier National Park (Bowman Lake, Kintla Lake, etc.) will need a vehicle reservation. North Fork vehicle reservations are valid for one day and are required from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m

4. No vehicle reservations are needed for other areas of the park, including Cut Bank, Many Glacier or Two Medicine. However, it is expected that these areas of the park will see increased traffic and congestion in 2022. Be prepared for delays and road construction projects.

5. Apgar and Sprague Creek campgrounds are now fully converted to reservations-only campgrounds. Visitors will need to reserve sites on recreation.gov. Avalanche and Rising Sun campgrounds will remain first-come, first-serve.

6. In addition to your vehicle reservations for the North Fork and/or the Going-to-the-Sun Road, all visitors do need a current park pass, regardless of what parts of the park they are exploring.

7. If you have a confirmed activity booking inside the park, that will serve as your vehicle reservation. This pertains to camping, guided boat tours, hotel reservations, etc. 

Glacier National Park also has a helpful page on their website; check it out here

Don’t have a vehicle reservation for your 2022 visit? Here are ways you can enjoy Glacier National Park without one. 

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