For the past couple of years, national parks have implemented pilot reservation programs to help control congestion during the busy season. After reviewing this year’s data, Glacier National Park has decided to continue this initiative in the summer of 2023 for the third year in a row.
From May 26 to September 10, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors will need a vehicle reservation in order to access Going-to-the-Sun Road via the West Entrance and the North Fork area. Likewise, folks entering Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park will also need a reservation from Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park.
There are two groups that are exempt from the reinstated rule: landowners and tribal members throughout the park. These people may access these parts of Glacier National Park at whim, even during the busy season.
The reservation, itself, isn’t all that expensive. Costing just $2, the primary principles of the system are to control crowds, preserve natural resources and improve visitor experience as opposed to creating a new source of funding. In fact, the $2 simply covers the fee for using Recreation.gov to secure a spot.
That said, visitors will still need some sort of entrance pass in order to access Glacier National Park at all. This includes a $35 vehicle pass; a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass; or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass.
What to Expect From Glacier National Park’s 2023 Reservation System
While the motives remain the same, there are some changes coming to Glacier National Park’s vehicle reservation system.
“Based on feedback, park officials chose to limit the reservation time period at Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road to July 1 through September 10 and to limit the hours of the reservation period to 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.,”
Here’s a breakdown of what’s new for 2023:
- Reservations will be available through two booking windows – one portion will be available on a monthly block-release system. The rest will be on a rolling basis at 8 a.m. 24-hours in advance.
- Glacier National Park is requiring one reservation per vehicle per valley access Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys on the east side of the park from July 1 through September 10, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day.
- Visitors will not need a reservation at the St. Mary Entrance until July 1, 2023. Beginning July 1 through September 10, 2023, visitors will need a vehicle reservation to access Going-to-the-Sun Road from this entrance.
Glacier National Park also warned that visitors will encounter congestion at Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys prior to July 1. Temporary restrictions may apply if these areas reach capacity during this time.
“Visitors are encouraged to plan their visit outside of peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.),” the park shared. “Visitors with service reservations (e.g., boat tours, lodging, horseback ride, guided hikes) in these valleys will be permitted entry during temporary restrictions.”