Glacier National Park has announced it will continue to pilot visitor reservations and timed entry for the 2024 summer season. This is the 4th year Glacier National Park has implemented a timed entry pilot, and there are some significant changes to the 2024 pilot from previous years.
During my visit to Glacier National Park, the pilot program had just ended for the season, meaning anyone could enter the park at any time. Even in the “off” season, I experienced the parking lot at Logan Pass filling before 9am, there was congestion on Going-To-The-Sun road, and the best hiking trails were busy.
The intent of the Glacier National Park timed entry system is to improve visitor experience while simultaneously protecting the park resources. Given that Glacier National Park sees about 3 million visitors each year, most between July and September, this planning program is crucial to keeping the park wild for generations to come.
Below I outline what’s different for 2024 reservations, and everything you need to know to reserve your timed entry tickets.
Know Before You Go: Glacier National Park
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Glacier National Park is between July-September when the weather is favorable and the trails are open.
Going-To-The-Sun Road, the only road that cuts through the park and connects the East and West sides, does not open until July each year. Many of the hiking trails on this list are only accessible via GTS road.
If you’re interested in Glacier National Park waterfalls then July is the best time to visit, when snowmelt is best.
If you’re hoping to avoid crowds I recommend going to Glacier National Park in September, after Labor Day (this is what I did).
Where To Stay: There are 13 campgrounds with over 1,000 sites to choose from within the park. Some popular ones include Apgar, Many Glacier, and St. Mary. Reservations can be made for some sites, while others are first-come, first-served.
If you prefer to stay outside of the park there are many options on the East and West sides. The West side of the park is more popular and has more options for where to stay at Glacier National Park.
How To Get There: The closest airport is Glacier Park International Airport (FCA), located in Kalispell, Montana, approximately 30 miles west of the West Entrance. However, most people fly into Missoula International Airport (MSO) to save money. MSO is approximately 150 miles south of the park.
How To Get Around: The best way to get around the park is with the free NPS shuttle service. The shuttle only runs during peak season, so if you plan to arrive before July or after Labor Day then you’ll need to bring your own vehicle. No reservations are required for the shuttle. It operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.
It’s possible to drive your own car, but you’ll need a timed-entry pass during peak season (more on this below). Driving Going To The Sun road has a vehicle limit of 21 feet long and 8 feet wide. Also keep in mind that parking in Glacier National Park can be extremely challenging year-round. Even during off-peak season I still had trouble finding parking spaces at most trailheads.
Reservation System: Between May 24 – September 8 vehicles entering Glacier National Park are required to have an advanced vehicle reservation. Reservations can be obtained through Reservation.gov up to 6 months in advance on a rolling window.
Safety: Glacier National Park is a safe park, but it has abundant wildlife, including Grizzly bears. Always hike with bear spray readily accessible, and know how to use it.
Entrance Fees: Glacier National Park entrance fees are $35 per vehicle (good for 7 days). During the winter season this pass is only $25 (Nov-Apr).
Does Glacier National Park Have Timed Entry Vehicle Reservations in 2024?
Glacier National Park will implement a timed entry vehicle reservation system in 2024, similar to past years, with a few big changes.
Reservations for Glacier National Park will be for one day only, whereas in past years tickets were good for up to 3 days in Glacier National Park. Let’s get into the details and what these changes mean for your trip to Glacier National Park.
Primary changes to 2024 Glacier National Park Timed Entry:
- Reservations are good for 1 day, down from 3 in previous years
- Reservations are only required for 3 of the 6 park entrances (West Glacier, Many Glacier and North Fork).
- The West Glacier reservation checkpoint has been moved deeper into the park, allowing unrestricted access to Apgar Village for anyone with or without a timed entry ticket
- Timed Entry tickets for Going-To-The-Sun road are only required for West Glacier (near Apgar Village) and apply to those traveling East. The Eastern entrance (near St Marys) will not have timed entry requirements in 2024.
- As the checkpoint for Apgar Village has been pushed back, reservations for camping, Glacier National Park lodging or transportation originating in Apgar will no longer serve as access to the rest of the park, as it has in previous years.
Glacier National Park Timed Entry Fee
There is no fee for Glacier National Park timed entry. However, there is an online processing fee of $2 when you make your reservation.
Glacier National Park Timed Entry Requirements
To enter Glacier National Park with a timed entry ticket you must have both a timed entry reservation AND pay the park entrance fee. These are two independent access requirements.
A vehicle reservation does not include your entry fee. Your entry fee does not grant you access without a timed entry reservation.
Timed entry reservations are specific to the park entrance they designate. You may only enter the park at the entrance noted on your reservation.
Timed entry tickets are good for one day only. This is a change in 2024 from past years, when a reservations was good for up to 3 days.
What Park Areas Are Requiring Glacier National Park Reservations In 2024?
Areas in Glacier National Park that require reservations in 2024 are West Glacier (near Apgar Village), Many Glacier and North Fork.
This is different than in past years, primarily because it leaves out Two Medicine and St Mary (East side) entrances.
For 2024 you have to plan ahead and pick which specific entrance site you plan to use. Reservations are not interchangeable for different park entrances. Dates for timed entry requirements vary for each entrance, outlined below.
Going-to-the-Sun Road Timed Entry Reservation Dates
From The West Entrance
Going to the sun road tickets are required for anyone entering Glacier National Park from the West entrance (main entrance near Apgar Village) between May 24 – September 8.
Important note: In 2024, the pilot has been revised so that access to Apgar Village is unrestricted. In previous years you could only access Apgar Village with a timed entry reservation. Starting in 2024, the checkpoint for Going-To-The-Sun road reservations has been pushed back, making Apgar Village accessible to anyone.
From The East Entrance
If you are entering from the East entrance (near St Marys) no advance Going To The Sun road ticket is required.
North Fork Timed Entry Reservation Dates
Timed entry reservations are required to enter North Fork in Glacier National Park from May 24 – September 8.
Many Glacier Timed Entry Reservation Dates
Glacier National Park vehicle reservations are required for entry at Many Glacier from July 1 – September 8.
Two Medicine Timed Entry Reservation Dates
There are no timed entry requirements for the Two Medicine entrance of Glacier National Park in 2024.
When Do Reservations Open For Glacier National Park?
Vehicle reservations for Glacier National Park open 120 days in advance, and are released on a rolling schedule. For 2024, Glacier National Park vehicle timed entry passes are available to reserve starting Jan. 25, 2024, at 8 a.m. MST for visits beginning May 24, 2024.
If you’re unable to secure an advanced vehicle reservation, additional tickets are also released the day prior at 7 p.m. MDT.
Glacier National Park Entrance Fee
Glacier National Park requires an entry fee. The entry fee is different from the timed entry reservation – they are two different things and if you visit during the summer you will need both.
The Glacier National Park entrance fee is $35 per vehicle (good for 7 days), or you can enter with either a GNP annual pass ($70) or an America The Beautiful National Parks pass ($80).
I have the America The Beautiful National Parks pass. It’s good for 12 months from the date you purchase.
If you plan to visit 3 National Parks (or over 2,000 Federal recreation sites) in a year this pass will save you money.
What To Do If Glacier National Park Ticketed Entry Is Sold Out
Tickets for Glacier National Park and for Going To The Sun Road sell out quickly – usually within minutes of being released. So what do you do if you can’t get a ticket for Glacier? There’s a few options to get into the park, even if timed entry tickets are sold out.
Enter the park before 6 a.m, or after 3 p.m.
Timed entry requirements are only in place from 6 a.m-3 p.m daily. Access to the park is unrestricted outside of these times. You may enter Glacier National Park without a timed entry reservation if you do so prior to 6 a.m or after 3 p.m.
Expect traffic and long lines to enter the park if you’re arriving around 3 p.m.
In my experience, entering the park before sunrise is best. There is no line at the entrance gate and the parking lots haven’t filled up yet (but they will fill by 9am or earlier). You’ll also have the trails, like Avalanche Lake hike, to yourself!
Take The Shuttle
One of the updates to the 2024 Glacier National Park vehicle reservation system is that visitors are now able to access Apgar Village and Apgar Visitor Center without reservations. This means you can drive into the park and take the shuttle from Apgar Visitor Center (on the West side) or St Mary Visitor Center (on the East side).
The shuttle can also have long lines, but it beats circling for parking for hours. Yes, I do mean hours. The busiest shuttle times are between 10 a.m and 2 p.m, so taking the shuttle before or after will save you the most time.
FAQ About Glacier National Park Reservations and Going To The Sun Road Tickets
What Does Glacier National Park Timed Entry Cost?
It costs $2 to make a timed entry vehicle reservation online. While the reservation is free, the processing fee effectively makes the cost to reserve a timed entry ticket $2.
Do you need reservations for Glacier National Park 2024?
If you plan to drive your own vehicle in Glacier National Park in 2024 then you must have a timed entry vehicle reservation. Reservations are available 120 days in advance, and additional reservations are released the day prior.
Can you enter Glacier National Park at any time?
Technically, Glacier National Park is open year round and you can enter at any time. However, from the end of May through early September Glacier National Park implements a timed entry reservation system for anyone wishing to take their own vehicle into the park.
How do you get into a Glacier without ticketed entry?
To get into Glacier without ticketed entry you can arrive before 6 a.m or after 3 p.m, or visit after September 8 and before May 24. Beginning in 2024, you may also enter Glacier without ticketed entry if you arrive at St Mary or Two Medicine entrances, which no longer have timed entry ticket requirements.
Do Glacier park passes sell out?
Yes, Glacier park passes sell out extremely quickly. Often within minutes of being released passes will be completely sold out. Passes are released 120 days in advance, as well as the day before.
When Is Going To The Sun Road Opening 2024?
There is no specific date for Going To The Sun Road opening in 2024. While the road is usually open by the first week of July, it can fluctuate slightly from year to year depending on weather conditions and snow removal.
Written by Claire Fleming
I’m a travel enthusiast who spends half the year in my self-built camper van with my dog, Oscar, and the other half at my home in Raleigh, North Carolina or on international adventures.