Ride The Going-To-The-Sun Road Before It’s Too Late

Glacier National Park is on fire

going-to-the-sun-road
The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.Terrah Holly

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is roughly 50 miles of tarmac that crosses the Continental Divide as it traverses Glacier National Park. As of this writing, 8,000 acres of the park have been consumed by the Howe Ridge fire and part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently closed. The fire is a reminder to seize the day—or at least get in some riding whenever possible.

Fires have been raging in California, too, and it won’t be long before snowplows take over the roads in many parts of the country.

If that sounds reactionary, it’s only because late summers here in upstate New York quickly turn to fall and winter. The goldenrod is blooming, the maples are looking a little peaked in spite of all the rain, and the mornings have a bite of cold as the sun takes its time to wake.

It’s this time of year, when riding days are half gone, that dreams of far-flung adventure become motivation to take the long way home and use any excuse for an after-dinner spin. Even if the Going-to-the-Sun Road is off limits this season, we can take heart that there’s always next year—just don’t let that stop you from riding as much as you can right now.

The Road

Like other roads that meander through national parks, the Sun Road is worth doing because of the beautiful scenery it dissects. Montana has plenty of other mountain roads where motorcyclists can stretch their legs from apex to apex.

Motorcyclists, more than most Americans, love a good stretch of pavement for the possibility it affords. Park roads that overwhelm with natural beauty transmutes the appreciation motorcyclists have to the average citizen. Seeing a motorcycle on such a road may be all it takes to spark something in that little kid stuck in the back of a minivan, setting her on a path to motorcycling.

Diversions

Riding through a national park gets you the lay of the land, but getting out on some trails is a necessity. The Lake McDonald Valley hiking area has many trails of varying difficulty. After a long day on the trail or in the saddle, stop by Lake McDonald Lodge. Sitting in front of the roaring fire at the lodge and enjoying the view is about as good as it gets.