It took practically 20 years to build this road; when it opened for travel in 1933, it was an instant hit. The road, which starts its 52-mile run over the spine of the Rockies at Apgar, is a spectacular drive, even when clogged with traffic. Glacier may be a hiker’s park at heart, but for those without the capacity or the time for trail walking, the Going-to-the-Sun Road provides a good view of the park’s muscles and bones.
The free park shuttle allows motorists to actually enjoy the views rather than concentrating on the road.
From Lake McDonald the road follows McDonald Creek to the east and slightly uphill. The grade increases after Logan Creek, and it becomes genuinely steep as it approaches the Loop, a big switchback that brings the road under the Garden Wall, which it follows to the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.
Approaching the pass from the west, it’s easy to follow the changes in vegetation and geology: The lush coniferous forests near Lake McDonald give way to shrubs and scattered pines, and distinctive green and red mudstone and buff-colored limestone replace the dark shalelike rocks near the lake.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition