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Reader Participation Day: Which Road Would You Choose, Going-To-The-Sun, Or Trail Ridge?


Which road is more impressive and pulls at you? Trail Ridge Road, top photo, or Going-to-the-Sun Road? Top photo by Kurt Repanshek, bottom photo by David Restivo, NPS.

There are many incredible drives in the National Park System, but two of the best, at least in the western half of the country, are Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park and Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Both feature sweeping views of their respective parks, both have sections that can deliver moments of vertigo, both come with wildlife -- primarily elk in Rocky Mountain and mountain goats in Glacier -- and both are engineering marvels.

Both roads run about 50 miles -- Trail Ridge Road traverses 48 miles between Estes Park, Colorado, and Grand Lake, Colorado, while the Sun Road runs 50 miles between St. Mary, Montana, and West Glacier, Montana. It took nine years, from 1929 until 1938, to complete Trail Ridge Road, while construction of the Sun Road began in 1921 and was finished in 1933.

Both roads are slow to open in spring/summer as crews need weeks and weeks to remove winter's snows. And both close somewhat early in fall as winter reappears.

Which is your favorite, and why?


I've been on both, and they are both spectacular drives, but I've got to give the edge to Going-to-the-Sun. As you approach Logan Pass from the rest, the view of the waterfall-laced cliffs off to the right is just breath-taking.

However, and this will probably be a little controversial on here, but in my opinion both it and Trail Ridge rank a little behind the Beartooth Highway as America's greatest mountain highway. While not in a national park, it does lead to Yellowstone, so it's kind of a park highway.

I LOVE Going To The Sun Road, every curve opens up to mountain vistas that overwhelm me!

I'll have to go with Glacier's Going-to-the-Sun, with the flowers along The Garden Wall, the waterfalls, mountain goats and big horn sheep, etc. Spectacular & memorable.

I've travelled both and, even though Trail Ridge Road gives you that "Rocky Mountain High", Going to the Sun Road gives that more intimate feeling. You are so much closer to the cliffs, mountains and water courses on GTSR and the sense of being on the edge is much greater. Both will take your breath away (TRR from lack of O2 and GTSR from fear) though.

Quit asking me to choose a favorite child [g].

Honestly, my favorites are the roads up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic and Sunrise in Mt. Rainier, but I suspect that's just because they're closer to me and I've gotten to know and love them so well.

Ranger Dave's comments of July 10 hit the nail on the head. Both are stunningly awesome.Hard for a person who likes the mountains to choose one over the other. We are very fortunate to be able to witness such beauty as is our National Parks. We trully blessed by God's abundant gifts.

I am in awe of Going to the Sun Road. I've driven both, and just the pure scale of the Mountains in Glacier are such a thing of immaculate beauty. Rocky Mountain has mountains at higher elevations, but the drive seems more mellow and not as abrupt, but still quite gorgeous. Its like choosing between the hot blonde and the demure redhead. You won't be disapointed with either.

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