An engineering marvel completed in 1932, the cliff-hugging Going-to-the-Sun Road traverses the Continental Divide. A drive along the Sun Road is the most popular highlights of the park. The road spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the most spectacular sights in North America.
The road is accessible year round, but skis and bicycles and other non-motorized means are the preferred mode during winter and spring. Snow-packed alpine sections should be left to the wolverines for several months.
An exciting new feature of the road is a free public shuttle system across the length of the road. The comfortable vans and buses are reducing traffic and parking congestion during construction periods. In recent years, major reconstruction efforts have led to traffic delays of up to 30 minutes, and the road has closed earlier in September and opened later in June to facilitate road work.
A popular viewpoint along the road these days looks upon Jackson Glacier. Based on recent melting trends, scientists anticipate that it and the park's other 24 glaciers will no longer exist by 2020. Another good reason to take the train and shuttle bus, or ride a bike.
The roadway is popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. Parking is available 10 miles up the west side of the road at Lake McDonald Lodge, which is closed in the winter. On the east side, access is available from St. Mary.
If you’re there in spring, when snowplows clear the higher passes, cycle or walk the traffic-free lower sections. See harlequin ducks ride the riffles of McDonald Creek, and spot grizzly bears emerging amid the avalanche chutes.