From wildlife to wild and wintry landscapes, winter is a magical time to experience Glacier National Park. And while it’s perfect for a peaceful, winter wonderland adventure, there are some very important things to note while planning your trip to the park this time of year, including road closures and construction. Please know before you go and plan accordingly to ensure a memorable time.

Nordic skiing along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Essex. Photo: Noah Couser

Access to and Recreation in the Park

Snow falls early and often in Glacier National Park, closing most of the park’s roads to motorized vehicles. That means you can snowshoe and Nordic ski these beautiful, snow-covered routes. Please note, however, that the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed this year to all activities due to construction until May 15, 2023, from the four-way intersection at Apgar to Logan Pass. There is NO hiker, skier or snowshoer access on the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road this winter. Please recreate responsibly by adhering to road closure signage. Activities permitted in the park during winter will be allowed in Apgar and other areas, including the North Fork area and Camas Road, as well as on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at St. Mary and Two Medicine. Here’s a National Park Service map of popular trails.

Taking in the views of Glacier National Park from the Polebridge area. Photo: Noah Couser

While the Apgar Visitor Center is closed, the restrooms are available and drinking water can be found here. Be aware that cell service is limited or nonexistent in the park. Check the weather before you head out, prepare for snow, and dress for rapidly changing conditions. Plan to be self-sufficient and bring any gear, food and necessities for your activity.

Avalanche safety should always be top of mind when you’re headed into the deep stuff. Carry avalanche safety gear, know the red flags of an unstable snowpack, check the avalanche forecast, and get educated in avalanche safety.

Lodging + Camping

As lodging in the park is closed during the winter months, you’ll want to look beyond the park to Glacier Country’s charming small towns. Some of our recommendations include Cedar Creek Lodge and Wonderstone at Glacier in Columbia Falls and the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex.

Miles of cross-country ski trails are accessible from Izaak Walton Inn. Photo: Noah Couser

If you’re an experienced winter camper and stargazing is on your itinerary, Loop “B” of the Apgar Campground is available for primitive camping and has some of the best night skies in the area. Note: The campground has a vault toilet, no running water, and availability is first-come, first-served. A permit is required for backcountry camping.

Be Wildlife Wise

When the park is quieter, the likelihood of spotting wildlife increases. While spotting a moose, elk or fox may be on your bucket list, remember to stay at least 25 yards from all wildlife. Never approach, touch or feed wildlife, even when an animal does not seem to be threatened by your presence.

Use your binoculars or a zoom lens to get a good look at wildlife.

Please note: We ask that all our visitors and residents Recreate Responsibly by being mindful of the following: know before you go; plan ahead; play it safe; leave no trace; tread lightly; and help build an inclusive outdoors.

December 5, 2022

Related: Columbia Falls, Essex, Glacier National Park, Montana, Nordic Skiing, Outdoor Fun, Recreate Responsibly, Snowshoeing, Stay, Vacation, Wildlife, Winter Fun