Glacier N.P's Road to the Sun Finally Opens
Click here to watch a video of the following story from KAJ-TV.
Wednesday (July 13) turned out to be a pretty historic day for Glacier National Park as the famed Going to the Sun Road finally opened…on the latest date ever!
Katy Harris of KAJ-TV, Kalispell, Mont., drove the length of the road and stopped at the Logan Pass Visitor Center to give an up-close and snowy view.
Park officials say that the road officially opened at 7:41 a.m. and less than three hours later, the Logan Pass Visitor's Center parking lot was filled up.
July 13th, 2011, marks the latest opening day for Going to the Sun Road after the record breaking snow fall this past winter, combined with late spring snow storms to cause the late opening of the iconic road.
"There's definitely a lot of traffic today. People have been anticipating the opening, and every time we open the Going to the Sun Road, we certainly receive quite a bit of visitation that day," Glacier National Park spokeswoman Ellen Blickhan observed.
Visitors climbed in elevation while driving a 30-mile stretch and what's usually about an hour drive was delayed up to three hours with the slow traffic and construction.
"We're stuck in beautiful weather and nice scenery. I'm not sure what the delay is for and what's causing it, but I guess it's to be expected with so many people trying to get through," Calgary resident Dee Pauletig said.
One man traveled all the way from Poland to see Glacier National Park for the first time. He says he didn't mind the long drive, since it gave him a chance to sight see.
"Oh it's fantastic. We have similar mountains in Poland, but this is magnificent. This is really magnificent," Zbigniew Frankowski observed.
Once drivers were able to squeeze into a parking space at the Logan Pass Visitors Center, they found themselves enclosed in a July winter wonderland.
One Whitefish man we talked with said he's been coming to Glacier National Park for the last 20 years and has never seen the snow so high this late in the year.
"It's the most snow I've ever seen up here. There's probably 10 to 12 feet of snow as you walk up the walkway…it's at least twice as tall as I am," Mike Righetti remarked.
Going to the Sun Road will be open through mid-October with sections of the lower elevation open year round.