Biking Going-to-the-Sun Road – April 2019

After a bunch of spring rain, we decided to haul our bikes up to Glacier National Park and bike Going-to-the-Sun Road on a sunny Sunday. We were not disappointed! The weather was gorgeous and we were able to bike up past the Loop.

On the west side of Glacier, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed to vehicles at Lake McDonald Lodge. On the weekends and evenings, when the plow crews aren’t working, you can bike up to where they’ve stopped plowing.

We unloaded the bikes at the lodge and began pedaling up. More birds are arriving from their wintering grounds and they were singing like crazy in the trees. McDonald Creek is getting bigger by the day as the snow from up high melts. Its gorgeous clear waters turned green in deep pools and white as it clamored over the red, blue, and gray rock.

The further up we pedaled, the more of the mountains we saw. Snow still clings to them en masse which is great for the creeks and the rivers. A friend was looking for Harlequin Ducks and found one. I happened upon her and she pointed it out feeding on the opposite side of McDonald Creek!

We continued on up and began the steeper climb. Birdwoman Falls, normally a tall, delicate cascade, was a tower of blue ice.

We found the perfect rock to sit on for lunch near the West Side Tunnel. The sound of splashing water and chirping/singing birds echoed throughout the valleys. The sun warmed our face and we had only the slightest of breezes.

After lunch, we continued up to the Loop with Heavens Peak towering high above. The rock on its face was hidden with only a slight outline tracing its edges.

We were delighted to find that we could ride pretty far past the Loop. As we headed up, we spied a Mountain Goat feeding on the new growth popping up from rocks as the snow recedes. Sections of the road had snow that had fallen down after the plows had been through. Fallen rocks were scattered throughout as well. They make many passes to get everything cleared.

Glacier’s snow removal equipment

Speaking of the plowing equipment, we finally found them on the section of road right before the vantage of Haystack Creek. We changed into our downhill gear. It gets really chilly with the cold air and the bike tires spraying up icy water from the road.

On our way back down, we were fortunate enough to see another male Harlequin Duck at Redrocks and watched it feed for a little before continuing on back from the car with muscles tired from biking and from smiling.

Looking up to Logan Pass

Get our sweet newsletter!

(and your free “10 Insider Tips for Glacier”)



8 responses to “Biking Going-to-the-Sun Road – April 2019”

  1. Nancy Chalmers Avatar
    Nancy Chalmers

    Love it. I just had shoulder surgery so I’m missing my biking in Glacier. Love the fresh air, the smells, the sound of the water, and of course any wildlife I can see. Thanks for sharing. Made my day.

    1. hike734 Avatar

      Get better soon!

  2. Love it! Thanks for the inside look.

    1. Jim Walker Avatar
      Jim Walker

      Thanks for the pics and update on current conditions. Must be nice to have the park to yourself! Can’t wait to get back up there.

  3. i enjoyed your blog on the ride . makes me want to get to the park sooner than later

  4. Ashraf Massoud Avatar
    Ashraf Massoud

    We just got back 2 weeks ago from a weeks vacation in GNP. Thank you for your map and your blog, I used them to plan our vacation and get a lot of good hikes in. We saw moose , one during Ice Berg Lake hike, and 1 by Lake Josephine, Big Horn at Grinnel Glacier, a young grizzly off High line, and black bear in the road over at Swiftcurrent Inn, mountain goats everywhere. Really appreciate all the work you have done.

  5. Thanks for this awesome blog post! Hoping to make it up there this spring! Do you know if the road closed during the week for plowing?

  6. […] Biking Going-to-the-Sun Road 2019 […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.