TRAVEL INFORMATION
Know Before You Go

WESTERN MONTANA TRAVEL INFORMATION: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

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TRAVEL INFORMATION Know Before You Go

Western Montana Travel Information: Know Before You Go

FLOODING

Updated June 28, 2022

Earlier this summer, parts of Montana experienced unprecedented flooding, creating road and area closures, including the temporary closure of Yellowstone National Park. As of Wednesday, June 22, Yellowstone National Park is allowing visitors access to the south loop of the park using an interim entry system, the Alternating License Place System (ALPS). The park is working to restore access to the northern loop quickly.

As many visitors to Montana plan a park-to-park trip between Yellowstone and Glacier, we encourage travelers to keep apprised of current road conditions and closures. Our Call Center can assist if your plans have changed due to closures. Montana is a vast state, and we can recommend alternate routes and itineraries. 

In Glacier Country, we experienced flooding around Glacier National Park, and the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Flathead rivers. This may mean a rafting trip is postponed, a trail or campground is closed or an alternative driving route is required. We advise you to know before you go. 

We empathize with travelers whose plans have had to be altered, and also humbly request you remember that Montanans’ homes and livelihoods have been impacted by this, and, in some cases, devastatingly so.  Please be kind and patient as you travel through our state. 

For more information on area-specific updates, please visit the following:

Glacier Country/Flathead County Area

Resources/Update Sources:
Discover Kalispell: As Flooding Impacts Portions of Western Montana, Here's What You Need to Know
Whitefish: Flood Updates and Water Level Information
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services
Current National Weather Service Watches, Warnings, & Advisories
National Weather Service (Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service)
City of Whitefish: A self-serve sandbag station is at the corner of Railway Street and Columbia Avenue for those in need of them. Please bring a shovel!
Flathead County Sheriff's Office Facebook Page
USGS Current Conditions for Montana: Streamflow
Glacier National Park Current Conditions
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Restrictions & Closures

Local Flathead County Media (also check their Facebook pages)
Daily Inter Lake
Flathead Beacon
Whitefish Pilot
Hungry Horse News

Montana Department of Transportation:
Montana Department of Transportation Interactive Map of Road Conditions
Montana Department of Transportation Alerts, Closures & Incidents

Flathead County Health Department:
Guide to Disinfecting Drinking Water after a Flood (Brochure)
Preparing Wells and Septic Systems for a Flood (Brochure)

Yellowstone Area Flooding Updates

Visit Yellowstone Country Travel Updates
Yellowstone National Park

TRAVEL SAFELY

  • Although the state of Montana does not require masks, there may also be tribe-specific orders on American Indian reservations. Individual businesses throughout the region may require and enforce mask wearing in indoor public spaces—please respect their right to do so.
  • We have all gone to great lengths to help control the spread of COVID-19, and it remains imperative that we continue to follow CDC guidelines.
  • Stay up-to-date on travel regulations and the COVID-19 situation using reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, federal regulations and community-specific webpages.
  • Plan ahead to ensure businesses and attractions are open; staffing shortages may affect business hours.
  • Continue to monitor the situation and adjust plans accordingly.
  • Always be prepared by having a back-up plan in place.

RECREATE RESPONSIBLY

  • Leave no trace. Help us preserve our wild places by packing out everything you pack in. That includes things that may not be on your radar, like fruit rinds and cherry pits.
  • Tread lightly. While recreating, especially motorized recreation, it’s important to minimize your impacts on the outdoors. Learn how to “Tread Lightly!” here and read the T.R.E.A.D. principles here.
  • Practice wildland fire safety. Please do your part to ensure that your actions involving fire are responsibleCampfires must be extinguished completelyClick here for Western Montana wildland fire updates.
  • Respect animals while wildlife watching. This helps keep both wildlife and you safe. Stay the recommended distance away from all wildlife, and do not feed them or put yourself or others in danger trying to get that perfect selfie with a mountain goat.
  • Help protect our waters. When you fish and boat Montana's waterways, it's important to follow steps to ensure you don't contribute to the introduction of invasive species—they're a real threat to Montana's waterways. Read more about mandatory watercraft inspectionsClean. Drain. Dry. protocols, and protecting our waters.
  • Be respectful, patient and kind. We expect residents and visitors to be mutually respectful of each other. Also, our parks and rec personnel, essential workers and small business owners deserve to be treated with kindness, patience and understanding now more than ever.
  • Take the Tourism Pledge.

VISITING GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

  • Buy your park entrance pass in advance at recreation.gov/sitepass/74280.
  • Glacier National Park has again instituted a vehicle reservation system for summer 2022. Additional details about vehicle reservations are available here.
  • New for Summer 2022: Apgar and Sprague Creek campgrounds will require advance reservations through recreation.gov. For more information, click here.
  • Road construction update! Please plan ahead: Going-to-the-Sun Road will be closed starting June 1, 2022, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily between Apgar and Sprague Creek. If you do not have a vehicle reservation for the GTSR and your back-up plan includes entering the park before 6 a.m., please know that will only be an option on the east side.
  • Depending on the community level of COVID-19, masks may be required when entering federal buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • As is typical for this time of year, much of the road access to the park is still closed for the season. Depending on weather conditions, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open to Lake McDonald Lodge or Avalanche on the west side and to Rising Sun on the east side. Check the Directions, Transportation, & Road Conditions page for up-to-date information.
  • Spring plowing activities on park roads continues. Some areas may be temporarily unavailable to recreation when plowing operations are ongoing.
  • Recreation access is permitted beyond the vehicle closures on the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Two Medicine, Many Glacier, Cut Bank and St. Mary. 
  • This spring, with rising visitation during hiking/biking season and an increased amount of avalanche concerns, the park will incorporate additional safety measures around plowing areas, avalanche zones and hazardous trail conditions.
  • There will be hiker/biker closure signage on the Going-to-the-Sun Road where visitors are not allowed to pass. Hiker/biker closures will be in place Monday through Thursday where plow crews are working to clear the road. Hiker/biker closures due to avalanche hazard areas will be in place Thursdays when road crews are done working and maintained throughout the weekend as conditions allow. Visitors who disobey the road closure signage are putting their safety at risk and could face up to a $5,000 fine and six months in jail.
  • Also this season, Grinnell Glacier Trail will be managed similar to the Highline Trail and closed during early spring due to steep trails covered by snow immediately above cliffs. These trails will open once exposed areas melt.
  • The park’s free spring hiker/biker shuttle provides weekend service from May 7 to June 26, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and runs between Apgar Visitor Center, Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche Creek. The shuttle operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • All personal watercraft will need to be inspected for AIS (aquatic invasive species) at mandatory watercraft inspection stations before launch. Please note that not all Montana lakes will be open to personal watercraft in 2022.

TRAVEL ON TRIBAL LANDS

Travelers are encouraged to plan ahead by checking tribal resources on the websites below for the latest information on possible COVID-19 restrictions.

Please plan ahead when recreating on tribal lands. Tribal conservation and fishing permits are required. Some areas are restricted to tribal use (enrolled tribal members) only; please be respectful.

TRAVEL FROM CANADA

Visitors are allowed to enter the United States from Canada at land and ferry ports of entry if they are fully vaccinated. Please read more on our International Border Crossings page.

CAR RENTALS

  • Due to a nationwide shortage, it may be somewhat challenging and more expensive than normal to reserve a car, so here are some tips:
    • Call the rental agency’s local number to ensure the most up-to-date availability, rather than referring to a website.
    • Car rental companies are giving a preference to longer rentals because they have limited staff to clean and service shorter rental windows.
    • Uber and Lyft are available at Glacier Park International Airport and Missoula Airport.
    • If you are unable to secure a rental car, try Turo carsharing service.
    • Many hotels have a shuttle service to get you to and from the airport, but you should confirm this with your reservation.

RESOURCES

For more traveler information and prevention tips, we encourage you to seek the most current information from the following sources:

PARTNER INFORMATION & TRAVEL UPDATES

Recreate Responsibly Plan Ahead, Play it Safe, and Leave No Trace.
News from Glacier National Park Currently, 21.7 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

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