Glacier: Going to the Sun Road: Car vs. 4WD

May 19th, 2011, 07:21 AM
  #1  
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Glacier: Going to the Sun Road: Car vs. 4WD

We are going to Glacier National Park in mid-September. We plan to spend time up in Waterton as well.

Do we need to rent a 4WD for the Going to the Sun Road or is a car actually better since it is smaller and the road is only 2 lanes?

Thanks much for the advice.
moog is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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We had no problems driving it in our sedan. Beautiful drive!
HappyTrvlr is online now  
May 19th, 2011, 08:00 AM
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I had no trouble in a small compact car.

But you should make sure the GTSR will be open when you go. I have heard that it sometimes closes by mid September due to snow. I guess it depends on the weather but you might want to check.
panecott is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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If the road is open, you don't need 4WD to drive it.
starrs is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Your biggest problem will be finding a place to park at the top, or maybe that is a summer phenomenon.

The only danger on a road like this is overheating your brakes if you are not used to mountain driving. I know from experience that you can pretty well put the car in second gear at the top and never have to touch the brakes until you get to the bottom -- assuming traffic doesn't bunch up in front of you.
Ackislander is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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I don't know when you are going but it usually doesn't open until late June/late July. That's as early as they can usually get all the snow cleared off. Glacier has a wonderful website with road conditions, pictures, etc.
www.nps.gov/glac

Drive the road both ways--the scenery is worth it and will look different from each view. The road around the southern edge is unremarkable.
Connie is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Thanks everyone. We are going mid Sept-the road closes Sept 18 and we are going the week before. I tend to get car sick if someone else does the driving ( I am fine when I drive) so will be doing most of the driving. And even the smallest 4wd is bigger than what I am used to. So after researching some more, I thought we could do it with a car. I live near San Francisco so am used to driving hills. I was more concerned about a larger 4wd on a 2 lane winding road. Your posts are all very helpful-we will rent a car instead.

Thanks
moog is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 07:23 PM
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Have you looked into the airfare to Kalispell vs. the Amtrak fare to Whitefish? Mid-September Amtrak fare is $184pp (coach) from Oakland to Whitefish with a 1 hour layover in Portland (guaranteed connection) Kids ride for $92.
tomfuller is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 07:33 PM
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If you take the red bus for GTSR you can enjoy the scenery. I doubt you would get carsick on the bus.
Elainee is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 08:12 PM
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We are actually using frequent flyer miles to fly for free but thanks for the suggestion. AS for the red bus, I am not sure if it is still running then but there is still a good chance I would get car sick-even at slow speeds since it is a narrow twisty road. YOu should have seen how much fun I was when we crossed the Drake Passage to Antarctica with 25 foot swells!

Thanks again
moog is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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GTTSR will close mid September WEATHER permitting. Could close earlier.
Parking at Logan pass should NOT be a problem that time of year.
Delays on the road should be expected as ongoing construction is in full progress.
You WILL enjoy the road and the Park.
Have a great trip.
John is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 05:26 AM
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It isn't as g-force road. The bus goes very slow and the suspension on the bus is excellent. Trying to drive and see anything isn't easy. Of course, lots of people drive themselves, we were just pleased we didn't. The information from the driver is very good, plus there are stops when he sees wildlife as well as a nice lunch stop at the lodge and lake beyond GTST which is not physically connected to Glacier.
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