Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Going to the Sun Road

Going to the Sun Road is a 53 mile long road through the heart of Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.  The road is one of the most difficult to plow in the States and closes during the winter.  The date of it's opening depends on how quickly they can remove the snow.  I arrived at Glacier National Park on June 16th.  The road opened on the 17th and I crossed over heading west on the 18th.

There were two competing designs for the road.  One was to show mastery over nature and featured a number of switchbacks.  The other was designed to be in harmony with nature and blend in with the landscape.  This is the design that ultimately was chosen.  It has one switchback and the grades are much less.




Going to the Sun Road with Saint Mary Lake on the left.



One of two tunnels on the road.  If you're afraid of edges or heights, this probably isn't the road for you.



This was the sidewalk at the visitor center at Logan Pass.  They were just opening it up for the year so I figured I'd hit it on the way back.  I was up in the cloud layer and you can't really get sense of just how much snow there was, though this was shot from eye level.  About 5 feet off the ground.



Bird Woman Falls.  This is on the west side of Logan Pass



Looking down into the valley.  Going to the Sun Road is visible along the river.


 
Bear Grass.



At the switchback there is a small parking lot.  I got out and spotted this waterfall through the trees so decided to hike back to it.



What I couldn't see was this much larger cascade around the corner.  There was a bridge crossing the falls.  It was just beautiful back there.



The falls that were my goal.



From the other side.



The trail beyond.  This continued to a chalet a few miles back.  The trail was also closed beyond that because of snow.  The trees are dead because a fire burned this area a few years back.



The falls above where they cross the trail.


The second tunnel.  One of the neat things about this tunnel is that just below it, there is a turn out.  You can walk back into the tunnel as there is a walkway.  There are two windows cut into side of the mountain.  You can walk out of them onto a small viewing area.  On the day I was there water was flowing over the openings so you walked through a bit of a waterfall.



Bird Woman Falls.  I don't recall if this river had a name, but it emptied out into the river in the picture below.



This river was large and fast.  There were signs all over the place warning not to leave walkways and that drowning is the number one cause of death in Glacier National Park.

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