Fall in Glacier National Park can be a wonderful time to visit, especially on a Harley. Generally, the park is a lot quieter, wildlife is more active, and the trees are turning colors. On the west side of the park, the trees begin changing color mid-September, and on the east side, fall color appears more towards the end of September and beginning of October. The last color change is when the larch trees (a deciduous conifer that loses its needles), mainly on the west side of the park, turns a gold color in mid October. Sometimes the best road for viewing the larches is on Hwy 2 around the southern boundary of the park.
Many services are still fully available through mid to late September. By the end of September, however, all of the concession services inside the park have closed for the season.
During shoulder seasons, lodging and other guest services are available in gateway communities. Contact respective Chambers of Commerce for listings. If you are looking for accommodations such as hotels, please visit the Travel Montana website to find accommodations outside Glacier National Park. Restaurants and stores can be difficult to find depending on your location, so come prepared.
Visitor information can be obtained in person at Headquarters (open Monday through Friday year round), the Apgar Visitor Center (weekends only after mid- October), St. Mary Visitor Center (closes early October) and the Logan Pass Visitor Center (closes mid-September).
Fall is also a great time to camp within the park. After Labor Day, no reservations are taken, all camping is first come, first serve and campgrounds rarely fill. Some of our campgrounds close in the fall, while others become primitive (no running water, nor flush toilets and half price). By November 1, Apgar and St. Mary Campgrounds are the only auto campgrounds that remain open and no fees are charged for the winter. For exact operating dates of the campgrounds within Glacier, please visit Campground Status page.
Photo is from a ride I took last October and the colors were spectacular. Minimal traffic but dress extra warm especially for Logan’s Pass.