Driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road
The first time I saw footage from the Going-to-the-Sun road was forever ago. I don't remember exactly when but I came across a video on Youtube that was poorly made but nonetheless it had me holding my breath. The twists and turns and scenery were unreal, I didn't think a road like that could exist here in the United States and if it did, well it certainly couldn't be that accessible. But it is, and pictures and videos don't do it justice. Maybe it's because the camera can't capture the smell of the warm air rising out of the valley, the cool breeze that ruffles your hair or how places like Glacier make you feel so infinitesimally small. The pictures also don't do a good job capturing the sheer size of the mountains. They're massive and when you're up on the side of one of them, winding along a little road, through tunnels in the mountain and up and down, you really appreciate their size. They're amazing. They're gorgeous. And pictures don't do them justice.
Anyways, here are a few decent shots I got while on the road. We drove the road three times. The first time was at dusk and no one else was on the road. The mountains were a deep shade of purple and the only details you could see were the bright white trails of water from the glacier waterfalls crashing down the sides of the slopes and the sky was freckled with little stars beginning to shine. The second time we drove the road was midday and there were a ton of people. We crawled along and I hung my feet out the window and savored the warm air and smell of damp rocks every time we drove by or under a waterfall. Oh yeah, there are waterfalls you literally drive right by and under! I'd even let out a somewhat dramatic squeal every time I got splashed with water that snuck in through the car window. Everyone on the road had huge smiles on their faces but how could they not? It was stunning. The third time we drove the road was early in the morning. There were only a few other cars on the road and we watched the first rays of morning light break between the peaks and into the valleys below. We watched clouds far below us float over the trees and we got goosebumps every time we rolled down a window to stick our heads out and crane our necks up a the peaks around us. It's a wonderful road.
Also, fun fact, when you're driving on the road you'll be driving either east or west so you really are always going to the sun in at least one direction.
I suggest driving the road in the early mornings or in the evening. Bring an extra blanket or sweatshirt and some good cozy socks because the air in the mountains gets chilly at night no matter what time of year, and you're inevitably going to want to roll down the windows and stick your head and feet out. Find everything you need to know to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road here.