Every single year since 1933, Glacier National Park has been home to an extraordinary task that must be complete each summer by its park staff and contractors: clearing the Going-to-the-Sun road.
If you have not heard of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, it is a 32-mile (51.5km) road that runs through the mountains across Glacier National Park in Montana. The road, which was an engineering marvel when constructed, set the standard for design and procedure when constructing roads in National Parks by being minimally intrusive to the environment and incorporating the natural resources surrounding it into the design.
Plowing the Going-to-the-Sun road varies each year. With unpredictable spring weather, 60′ snowdrifts, and working on dangerous roads require immense time and energy. The road usually opens in June or early July, although the park will never guarantee an opening date due to unpredictability.
- Related: Plow Crews Encounter 80-Foot Snow Drifts at Logan Pass on Going-to-the-Sun Road, MT (June 2020)
The Going-to-the-Sun road plowing has become iconic. Glacier National Park has a website dedicated to tracking the snowplows’ progress, and they have published a photo album of some of the best pictures of the plowing.
If you ever have the chance to go on this iconic roadway, you now know how much work has gone into it, both when it was built and the hundreds of hours that are put in yearly to plow it.