Quite possibly the best bike vacation I’ve been on took place at Glacier National Park. More specifically, cycling up and down Going To The Sun Road. If you love big climbs or fast descents then Going To The Sun Road is the best bike vacation spot in the northern United States.
For those of you unfamiliar with Going To The Sun Road, its a beautiful drive inside Glacier National Park. My wife, a travel agent, booked us a trip that involved hiking, cycling and cliff jumping. Visit More Time For Adventure to book your next bike vacation.
This bike vacation is perfect for those that love camping and other outdoor activities. Near Glacier National Park you will find plenty of options for white water rafting, hiking, kayaking, museums and theme parks. There really is something for every outdoor enthusiast. My youngest son discovered he enjoys scouting for wildlife after unexpectedly spotting a bear through his binoculars.
Why Glacier National Park Is The Best Bike Vacation Spot
It is important to understand that spring weather in Glacier National Park (GNP) is still very cold. This is due to the elevation. The best time for bike riding in GNP is during the spring. Many roads, including Going To The Sun Road, are closed to cars and only open for hikers and cyclists.
Going To The Sun Road isn’t the only place to ride your bike. There are miles of trails traveling throughout the West Glacier area both inside and outside Glacier National Park. In fact, during my last visit we traveled to nearby towns on our bikes. We look forward to returning to Glacier soon for more cycling adventures. The scenery is stunning throughout the park. We saw every type of wildlife imaginable, including bears!
If the beautiful scenery, wildlife, cycling, hiking and local culture still don’t have you excited then maybe the cost will. If you have a National Park Pass you can visit Glacier and take part in all of these activities for just $80 annually. That will get you into all the other national parks across the country.
How Hard Is Cycling Up Going To The Sun Road?
At the top of Going To The Sun Road you will reach Logan Pass, which sits at an elevation of 6,466 feet. If you aren’t used to riding at elevation then this climb is going to be incredibly hard as you get towards the top. In addition to the elevation, you’re round trip mileage is just under 70 miles when biking from the west. The west side has the best scenery and is by far the most popular choice of sides for biking.
The elevation gain is steady and unrelenting. You will climb 3,431 feet when biking from the west on a 32 mile climb. There are plenty of scenic overlooks to stop for photos, and you won’t have to worry about slowing traffic down on the climb. In the spring the road is not open for cars, so you will only have other cyclists and hikers around.
If you are crazy, or extremely ambitious, you can climb both the east and the west sides. This will net you an elevation gain of 5,639 feet over 50 miles of climbing and over 100 miles round trip. You will only be able to complete this ride in the late spring. Parts of Going To The Sun Road are untravellable during early spring due to snow on the mountains.
Because of those cold temperatures you will want to prepare for both cold and warm weather. To prepare for the cold stuff read How To Make Winter Cycling More Fun.