As the planning season for motorcoach tours and international visitors to the Great American West and, more specifically, Western Montana’s Glacier Country, for 2024 and beyond is in full swing, we are excited that Glacier National Park has revised their vehicle reservation system, and we are here to get the word out earlier than ever before.
Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservations for Visitors Arriving by Car
To help ease the congestion and enhance the visitor experience, Glacier National Park is continuing to institute an online vehicle reservation system.
One reservation per vehicle will be required to travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road beyond the Apgar Village area from May 24 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Visitors can enter before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation. New in 2024, vehicle reservations will be valid for one day only, down from three days in 2023. Data from 2023 indicates that only two percent of three-day reservations were used for all three days. By changing to a one-day reservation, consistent with other park areas, a greater number of reservations can be made available.
Also new in 2024, visitors will be able to access Apgar Village amenities, including the Apgar Visitor Center, without a vehicle reservation. Lodging, camping (including front-country developed campgrounds and backcountry camping permits), transportation, or commercial activity reservations originating in Apgar will no longer provide access beyond the Apgar filter checkpoint.
This does not affect motorcoaches that enter the park from the west entrance, because they cannot travel past Avalanche Lake and ascend the Going-to-the-Sun Road and must arrange the transfer of their clients to a park concessionaire (Red Bus Tour or Sun Tour) for transport.
North Fork Entrance
One reservation per vehicle will be required at the entrance station May 24 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day. Visitors can enter before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation. There are no changes in the North Fork reservations from 2023. No motorcoach access.
Many Glacier Valley Entrance
One reservation per vehicle will be required at the entrance station from July 1 through September 8, 2024, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day. Visitors can enter the valley before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation. There are no changes in Many Glacier reservations from 2023. Motorcoaches are subject to the one-time entrance fee and do not need a vehicle reservation.
St. Mary or East Side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road Entrance
Also new in 2024, visitors will be able to access the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east side beyond Rising Sun without a vehicle reservation. Visitors will also have access to the St. Mary Visitor Center and shuttle stop on the east side of Glacier National Park, as in 2023.
Vehicle Reservations and Park Passes
Vehicle reservations will be available on recreation.gov, the Recreation.gov mobile app, or the Recreation.gov Call Center (Reservation Line: 877.444.6777). Each of the specified areas of the park will require a separate reservation. Visitors will need to set up an account on Recreation.gov to obtain reservations. The only cost associated with booking a reservation is a $2 Recreation.gov processing fee.
Vehicle reservations will be available through two booking windows.
- A portion of vehicle reservations will be available 120 days or approximately four months in advance, starting on January 25, 2024, at 8 a.m. MST on a rolling daily basis on Recreation.gov.
- New in 2024, the remaining vehicle reservations will be available at 7 p.m. MDT for next-day entry starting on May 23, 2024.
In addition to a vehicle reservation, each vehicle entering the park is required to have an entrance pass for any entry point into the park. These passes could include any of the following: a $35 vehicle pass, good for seven days; a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass; or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass. A vehicle reservation does not include an entrance pass, and the park entrance pass does not serve as a vehicle reservation.
Bus and Boat Tours
Glacier National Park Shuttles, Red Bus Tours, Sun Tours and Glacier Park Boat Company are all operating this year, with no changes. Please plan ahead in terms of arrangements and ticketing. If you plan to come to Glacier National Park and have not chartered or reserved your Red Bus Tour or Sun Tour for your group, please do so at your earliest convenience at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things to Do Outside the Park
While Glacier National Park offers plenty of sought-after exploration and adventure, the allure extends beyond the park into Western Montana’s Glacier Country. You’ll find access to the world-class recreation the region is known for, as well as arts and culture, dining, breweries and distilleries, farmers markets and family fun. It’s good to have an alternate plan in place in one of the communities outside the park in the event that the park is congested, or you have a couple of days before your vehicle reservation date.
If you need additional itinerary assistance or have questions about the vehicle reservation system, Glacier National Park’s FAQs page is a great resource. Feel free to reach out to us as well. We are always here to help.
See you in 2024,
DP & AS
December 11, 2023