One of the most amazing highlights of Glacier National Park is a drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and boasting some of the most amazing views in Montana.
When I drove Going-to-the-Sun-Road I didn't quite get the meaning of the name until it took my breath away.
There's nothing quite like this "engineering marvel" of a road, and at one point I felt like Icarus, that my wings might melt off, as I flew too close to the sun.
The only road to cross Glacier National Park from east to west, the epic Going-to-the-Sun Road, takes travelers over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, and lays claim to some of grandest sights in the Rocky Mountains. Along its course the road passes glacial lakes and cedar forests in the lower valleys, and windswept alpine meadows and sweeping mountain vistas atop the 6646-foot pass.
Portions of the road hug the mountainside as it traverses over steep drop-offs and steers through tight curves.
There are two tunnels, one on either side of Logan Pass, that motorists will drive through. The East Side Tunnel is 408 feet long, while the West Side Tunnel is 192 feet in length.
In the late fall of 1932, after three decades of construction, almost 500,000 pounds of explosives, and more than $2,000,000 in costs, the first automobile drove the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Glacier National Park formally opened the road in a special ceremony at Logan Pass on July 15, 1933.
The road received its name during the 1933 dedication, borrowing it from nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. Local legend, as relayed in a 1933 Department of the Interior press release, tells the story of the Blackfoot deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from the sun to teach young braves the basics of hunting. 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, however, suggests that a white explorer in the 1880s concocted the name and the legend.