After spending the night in Kalispell, Montana we were up early and on the road anxious to visit more of the beautiful Glacier National Park via one of what just has to be the most beautiful drives in America. That road being... the "Going-to-the-Sun Road" which cuts through the park from the southwest corner from the park headquarters at West Glacier all the way to the Logan Pass visitors center and then on to the most Eastern part of the park at the Saint Mary Visitor center. The only thing I can say about this drive is that it is spectacular even if somewhat scary in certain areas. Those areas make you have a complete understanding of why the road is closed in the winter.
Around almost ever corner you see the park from a completely different perspective. The drive itself takes at least 2½ to 3½ hours depending on how many times you stop to take pictures and view the wildlife. We saw big horned sheep, mountain goats and a myriad of other little creatures and birds while we were on the road.
I wondered why the road was named the way it was when I found out that the road officially received its name, “The Going-to-the-Sun Road,” during the 1933 dedication at Logan Pass. The road borrowed its name from nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. Local legend, and a 1933 press release issued by the Department of the Interior, told the story of the deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from the sun to teach Blackfeet braves the rudiments of the hunt. On his way back to the sun, Sour Spirit had his image reproduced on the top of the mountain for inspiration to the Blackfeet.
An alternate story suggests a white explorer in the 1880s concocted the name and the legend. No matter which version is accurate, the road named Going-to-the-Sun still inspires all who travel it. is a spectacular 50 mile, paved two-lane highway that bisects the park east and west. It spans the width of Glacier, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass.
The road passes through almost every type of terrain in the park, from large glacial lakes and cedar forests in the lower valleys to windswept alpine tundra atop the pass. Scenic viewpoints and pullouts line the road, so motorists can stop for extended views and photo opportunities.
The road is well worth traveling in either direction, as the view from one side of the road is much different than from the other. In 1983 Going-To-The-Sun Road was included in the National Register of Historic Places and in 1985 was made a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The one word that encompasses the feeling of the Going-to-the-Sun is simply "spectacular!" We will never forget it. In fact... I have now elevated Glacier National Park as the best national park I've seen and due mostly because of our traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road. "The glacier was God's great plough set at work ages ago to grind, furrow, and knead over, as it were, the surface of the earth."
~ Louis Agassiz