Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Glacier National Park and Logan Pass

We were initially thinking about tackling the Going to the Sun Highway, which leads to Logan Pass.  Even though we probably are going to abandon this idea, due to time constraints, I thought I would post this.  I didn't find any information about cutting right to the Going to the Sun Highway from the GDMBR, so here is what I gleaned from a Glacier NP ranger.
GDMBR to Polebridge to Going to the Sun Highway
It is possible to continue down North Fork Road from the GDMBR.  The park service refers to this as the Outside North Fork Road, not to be confused with the Inside North Fork Road. The inside and outside refer to being inside or outside the park boundary.  This takes you into the town of Polebridge. When I asked him if it would be better to remain on the Outside or switch to the Inside, he concluded it would be better to stay on the Outside road, because it is much wider.  Both are dirt, the Outside taking more traffic. The disclaimer is that this ranger doesn't ride.  He noted that you might want a dust mask.
This route would probably take a day off route, as opposed to going all the way to Whitefish and then back into the park.
Anyone wanting to try this might consider calling the ranger station again for a second opinion on Outside versus Inside.  Either way, you end up at the south end of McDonald Lake, the start of the Going to the Sun.  The two campgrounds closest to the pass are Sprague Creek and Avalanche Creek, but I think he said the last place for food was at the Apgar Visitor center.  From one of the campgrounds, you could go up to the pass and back down. The distance from the breakoff to Polebridge, to Apgar visitor center and the top of Logan Pass, then backtracking and moving on to Whitefish is about 118 miles.  The straight GDMBR from the same breakoff directly to Whitefish is 49 miles and of course Logan Pass is all up, but not steep. If I interpret this document correctly, the grade does not exceed 6%.

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