When is the best time to visit Glacier National Park?

The best time to visit Glacier National Park to experience good weather, great hiking and incredible wildlife sightings is between July and September. In the summer months, temperatures are warm but comfortable, perfect for exploring the full gamut of the park.

While the park is open year-round, if you're looking to cross the Going-to-the-Sun Road off your bucket list, keep in mind that the road doesn't fully open until mid-July and will often close by early to mid-October due to snow.

Summer is the most popular time to visit, so you will encounter many fellow travellers on the trails, and parking lots and campsites will book up quickly. Permits are required to access certain areas, and park officials may limit entrances to prevent overcrowding, so it's always a good idea to plan your activities in advance.

Best time to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

The best time to visit the Going-to-the-Sun Road is late July and September. The iconic 50+ mile route is Glacier National Park's most famous attraction, but due to Montana's notoriously long, snowy winters, the road is only open in the summer months.

Small portions of the road at lower elevations are open year-round, and although no set date is given, the full road typically opens for the year between late June and mid-July. The National Park Service provides a yearly record of opening dates to help you plan your trip.

Best time to see wildlife

Some of Glacier's most popular mammals, like bighorn sheep and mountain goats, can be seen at higher elevations year-round in the park. Grizzly bears hibernate in winter but spend their summers in lowland valleys and meadows. During the summer and fall, you might be lucky enough to spot a moose paddling through one of Glacier's many lakes.

Weather in Glacier National Park

Glacier crosses the Continental Divide, splitting the park into two separate climate zones; warm and wet weather from the western US meets cold, dry air from the northeast, so weather conditions can vary based on which section of the park you're in.

Typically, you can expect very cold, very snowy winters and summers with hot days and cooler nights. Spring and fall have cooler temperatures and a higher chance of precipitation.


 Average high

 Average low

 March to May



 June to August



 September to November 



 December to February



Seasons in Glacier National Park

Spring (March-May)

Best for: low-season quietness, waterfalls and bicycling

Spring is the quietest season in Glacier, and while the rest of the United States may be thawing out, winter-like temperatures and conditions in the park will stretch well into May.

Hiking trails at higher elevations typically don't melt out until early July, but trails at lower elevations and on the park's edges will be clear by mid-April.

If visiting during the spring and you're comfortable with exploring in the cold, you'll be able to enjoy the tranquillity of crowd-free trails before the masses arrive in the summer. Visitor services are limited, so make sure you're well-equipped before leaving.

Although the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed to cars in the spring, portions of the road are plowed and open for cyclists to enjoy starting in May. Snowmelt in the spring means waterfalls will be powerful and full, and you can see many falls from the road.

Summer (June-August)

Best for: long, sunny days of exploration, driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road and cooling off in lakes.

Summer is a spectacular time to visit Glacier, especially in August, when the hills and valleys will be covered in wildflower blooms, and all hiking trails will be snow-free and ready for exploration. The iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road will be 100% open by the end of July, as well as all visitor centres, lodges and campgrounds.

The sun shines well into the evenings in the summer, so you'll have plenty of daylight hours to pack in as much as possible, and with temperatures that hover in the low 80s, an invigorating dip in one of Glacier's many lakes should definitely be on the agenda.

Lake McDonald is a popular and accessible spot for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding, with pleasant water temperatures in the warm months.

If you're looking to really, really cool down (and get some fantastic photos while you're at it), try taking a dip in Iceberg Lake, where chunks of ice float in the lake... even in summer.

Autumn (September-November)

Best for: wildlife sightings, fall foliage photography and fewer crowds

Autumn is an especially beautiful time to visit Glacier because the trees and surrounding foliage will change into vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow starting in mid-September.

By early October, summer crowds begin to thin, and wildlife will often become more active when the park is less crowded.

Autumn is mating season for deer, elk and moose, and bears will be actively foraging for food to get ready to hibernate. The Going-to-the-Sun road will be either partially or fully closed by October.

Winter (December-February)

Best for: snowy landscapes, snowshoeing and solitude

Glacier will be blanketed under deep snow in the winter, so visiting at this time requires some planning and preparation. Although the falling snow is beautiful, rapidly changing weather can present logistical challenges, and some roads may be completely inaccessible.

You'll also need to be almost entirely self-sufficient because park services are closed until May. Several trails are available for snowshoeing and skiing, and a section of the Apgar campground will stay open for winter camping.

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