30 June 2016 – We booked a Going-To-The-Sun Road tour on the red jammers up to Logan Pass. These red tour buses are iconic to Glacier NP. Built in 1936 by White Motor Company, these tour buses have roll-back canvas roofs to enhance the sight-seeing experience. In 2002 the Ford Motor Company overhauled them at a cost of $250,000 each. That chunk of change for the 33 reds in GNP was covered totally by Ford.
We began at the Apgar Visitor Center, picked up a few more folks at Apgar Village and McDonald Lodge before our climb. Jammer John, our driver, spoke to the history of the park, the lodges, the geology, the forests, and the wildlife. He was very knowledgeable and obviously well read. We felt extremely fortunate to have him as guide.
The name Going-To-The-Sun stems from a Blakckfoot legend about a prankster deity, Sour Spirit. The spirit came to earth to teach the tribe how to hunt in the Rocky Mountains. He departed from the highest peak at Logan’s Pass toward the sun, thus the name. Winding through Glacier from west to east, the Sun road traverses 50 miles of Rocky Mountain beauty climbing to a height of 6646 feet at Logan Pass. The road is truly an engineering feat for the 1920-30s and was recognized in 1985 as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Our initial stop is an overlook of the upper McDonald Creek. This little creek turns into a raging whitewater stream in spring due to snowmelt and glacial runoff. The icy cold, crystal clear waters fill Lake McDonald keeping it cold throughout the summer.
I cannot describe the incredible beauty of the Rockies crossing Glacier National Park. I will let the following photos do that as much as possible. Again, these do not do justice to actually being there.
Logan Pass gave us a view of a mountain meadow complete with wildflowers. We spotted the bighorn sheep grazing just beyond the road. The Visitor Center serves as the official site of the world’s first international peace park in 1932. The Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada combined with Glacier National Park to form the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.
The ride back down the Sun Road was just as spectacular with several stops at pullouts to really take it all in. The tour was a bit under 5 hours and not a minute wasted. We highly recommend one take this rather than attempting to maneuver the narrow twists and turns.