Bicycling in Glacier can be dangerous because you have to share the roads with both recreational and passenger vehicles of every shape and size. There have been some special precautions set to ensure that everyone stays safe and has a good time. Vehicles will need to allow at least 3 feet of distance from their car and a bicyclist.
Spring Hiker-Biker Season
If you would like a more relaxing time to ride in Glacier National Park, I would recommend going in the spring before the Going-to-the-Sun opens to cars. The plowing crews make their way up the roads leaving behind a car-free biking experience. The crew puts signs out for the areas that are available to ride on and closes off the roads they are still plowing.
You can find the vehicle gates at Lake McDonald as well as Avalanche Creek on the west side of the park. The gate on the east side of the park is usually at Rising Sun but it could be moved further up as road conditions will allow.
You can check on the Road Status Page on the National Park Service website. They update the site everyday Monday-Friday with the most recent conditions. The crew does not plow on weekends so there are no hiker-biker closures on Saturday or Sunday.
During the springtime, pets are not permitted past the vehicle gates. Make sure to bring all of the same supplies as you normally would for going hiking. Be sure to watch for wildlife and for hikers since the bikers and hikers use the same road. Avalanche conditions still exist throughout the park so make sure to be awake of the conditions before starting your trip and know which paths are avalanche prone.
There is a shuttle service that begins running on May 13, 2017 and operates on weekends until the road is completely open to cars. It operates between the Apgar Visitor Center and Avalanche Creek, and makes a stop at Lake McDonald Lodge. The shuttles have a bike trailer to transport your bicycle.
Bikes are permitted on all of the roads inside of the park and are not usually permitted on the trails except in 3 areas:
- The paved path from Park Headquarters to Apgar Village
- The Fish Creek Bike Path from Apgar Village to Fish Creek Campground
- The old Flathead Ranger Station Trail
The Inside North Fork Road is temporarily closed to vehicles between Camas Creek and Logging Creek, which makes an excellent route for bicycles.
To help with traffic, Glacier National Park has set some restrictions that are in effect on sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road from June 15 until Labor Day:
- Bicycles are prohibited between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm from Apgar Campground to Sprauge Creek Campground and from Logan Creek to Logan Pass east-bound (uphill)
- If you would like the ride on either of these paths, you need to start early because it takes about 45 minutes to ride form Sprague Creek to Logan Creek and about 3 hours to ride from Logan Creek to Logan Pass
- You must be observant of all traffic regulations.
- You must keep to the right side of the road and ride in single file lines only.
- If there are four or more vehicles that stack up behind you, you must pull off of the road and let them pass.
- You must have a white light or a reflector visible from a distance of 500 feet in front of you and a red light or reflector visible from at least 200 feet behind you present either on you or on the bike during periods of low visibility.
- Make sure to stay visible at all times
- Wear a helmet and bring bear spray
- It is recommended to attach a bright flag on a pole and wear light colored clothing
- Always be aware of falling rocks, drainage grates, and ice on the road
There are a limited number of campsites available for bikers and hikers at Apgar, Fish Creek, Sprague Creek, Avalanche, Many Glacier, Rising Sun, Two Medicine, and St. Mary. The sites are shared with a capacity of up to 8 people. If you have a larger group you must split up or use group sites where ever they are available. The fee is $5.00 a night at Apgar, Sprague Creek, Avalanche, Many Glacier, Two Medicine and Rising Sun. If you make stay in the reservation campgrounds, St. Mary and Fish Creek, you will have to pay $8.00 for the first person and $5.00 for every individual after the first. If all of the hiker/biker sites are full or a camper does not want to share their site, hikers/bikers must use a regular unoccupied campsite.