WEST GLACIER – It looks like you don’t need an open Going-to-the-Sun Road to set records these days in Glacier National Park.
The park is coming off a record year in 2017 when more than 3.3 million people visited Glacier, setting the new mark despite fires which closed the popular Going to the Sun route for several weeks at the end of August and beginning of September.
But it seems the park’s popularity is starting to stay strong year around. The National Park Service reports over 195,000 people came through the park gates in May, which is a brand new record for the month. There’s a nearly 10 percent increase over the same month last year.
By far and away the largest number of visitors was through the many entrances at West Glacier, where more than 105,000 came in to hike to Avalanche, or bike up Going-to-the-Sun. But there was also a surge in visitors at the northern end at Goat Lick, where traffic doubled coming in from Waterton, with additional strong totals at Camas, Two Medicine and St. Mary’s.
Most of the visitors are coming for day trips though. Overnight stays were up slightly over last May.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News