Most all guests at Bad Rock B&B Inn come to experience Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park is perhaps the most beautiful of all our national parks. It is located in the northwest corner of Montana just east of the Flathead Valley and the towns of Big Fork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell and Whitefish. The boundaries of the park enclose over one million acres of pristine mountain wilderness, and there is just one road through it, the Going-To-The-Sun Road. It is 57 miles long and is considered by many to be the most spectacular drive in the United States, rivaling the Alps for its scenic views. The Going-To-The-Sun Road bisects the park, running from the west entrance of the park at West Glacier to the east entrance at St. Mary.
Construction of the Going-To-The-Sun Road was an engineering feat for its time and unequaled in road construction in our country. Only a few miles of rough wagon roads existed within Glacier National Park when Congress established the Park in 1910. The only way to see the Park was by horse or foot. Glacier’s first Superintendent wanted a trans-mountain road to open up the interior of the park to all visitors. In 1918 a route for the road was planned and was very similar to the current road. In late fall of 1932, after three decades of construction and more than $2,000,000, the first automobile passed over the entire 57 miles of the Going-to-the Sun Road. The low-land sections of this road had been built before 1925 to lower construction standards, and until the late 1930s there was only a crushed rock surface on the road. Improving the road beds with asphalt paving was started in 1938, but was halted for World War II. By the end of 1952 the entire 57 miles was finally improved and paved, awaiting your discovery!
The Going-To-The-Sun Road winds it way for about 20 miles by the edge of Lake McDonald, along McDonald Creek and through lush forests of towering pine trees. Pull-outs along the road afford views of the mountains. Abruptly, the Going-To-The-Sun Road begins to climb out of the forest to reach the "Loop", a hairpin turn in the road. There is a parking area at the Loop, giving visitors an opportunity to stop and enjoy the views. Heaven’s Peak Mountain is at the left in this photo.
The Loop marks the beginning of the Going-To-The -Sun Road’s spectacular route across the mountains. Pull-outs are located all along the road. The Going-To-The-Sun Road goes from the Loop to Logan Pass, 12 miles east. It climbs very gradually to Logan Pass, which is located at an elevation of 6,800 feet.
Logan Pass is a place to take a rest from driving and to stretch your legs, or to park your car and do a serious hike. Here you can view Going-To-The-Sun Mountain and the Garden Wall. There is every sort of mountain view from Logan Pass. One just has to walk a ways and turn around to see another one.
Not far east of Logan Pass, the Going-To-The-Sun Road brings the traveler to Siyeh Bend. This is the trail head for several notable day hikes. Farther along on the Going-To-The-Sun Road, one will come to the Jackson Glacier "overlook". This glacier is one of the few left in the park, and like all of them, is rapidly shrinking from the effects of global warming.
The Going-To-The-Sun Road ends in the east at St. Mary. The Going-To-The-Sun Road follows much of its shoreline along the north side of the lake. From the west side of Glacier National Park, Travelers can turn around and head back on the Going-To-The-Sun Road, where the views going west will be entirely different from those seen on the eastward trip. They can also continue south for 45 minutes to East Glacier and the Glacier Park Lodge, in the southeast corner of the park. Once again, the scenery on this leg of the trip will be unique.
"You really have a treasure here. It’s nirvana - and we really do not want to leave." -Deborah and Donna, New York City