Glacier National Park Information Home

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North Fork Area

Bridge to Glacier Park Entrance at Polebridge

Polebridge Entrance to Glacier National Park

Polebridge Montana

Cradled between the Continental Divide and Whitefish Mountain Range and located a mile from the northwest entrance to Glacier National Park is the electricity-free community of Polebridge. Made up of a handful of houses, cabins, a hostel and small ranches along the North Fork Road, the hub of this area is the historic Polebridge Mercantile and its neighboring Northern Lights Saloon—both powered by generators. "The Mercantile" is a one stop shop for locals and visitors alike and is famous throughout the state and region for its freshly baked goods, sandwiches and authentic personality.

An often bypassed section of the park: ‘it’s too remote, too much time’s consumed on an uncomfortable trip,’ is what they might say. Yet the few men and woman who adventure the portal-road out to Polebridge Montana will find a slice of heaven full of splender and awe, away from the crowds and troubles of todays world.

Polebridge Mercantile on a warm summer day.

Finding your way around the North Fork Area

  1. Lower Quartz Lake – Located on the north west side.

  2. Quartz Lake Loop – 12.8 miles round trip. Trailhead is located at Bowman Lake on the south side of the boat launch.

  3. Hidden Meadow Trail – 2.4 miles round trip – Trailhead is across from Lone Pine Prairie, on the inside North Fork road.

  4. Howe Lake  – 2.0 miles one way – 5 miles north of Fish Creek Campground on the Inside North Fork Road. Elevation climbs 240 feet.

  5. Covey Meadow Loop Trail – 2 miles round trip – Park at the Polebridge park entrance. Start your hike just up the hill from there.

  6. Bowman Lake Trail – 13.8 miles round trip – Follow Glacier Route 7 north from Polebridge to the Bowman Lake Road. Trailhead is at the northeast corner of the campground.

  7. Camas Creek, Forest and Fire Nature Trail – 0.9 mile round trip – A paved road between the Camas Creek entrance and the Glacier National Park entrance leads to the trailhead and parking area.

  8. Logging Lake – 8.8 miles round trip – The Trailhead is 7 miles south of the Polebridge Glacier National Park entrance on Inside North Fork Road.

  9. Numa Ridge Lookout - 10.5 round trip - The trailhead is The Bowman Lake Trail. You hike North from the Bowman Lake Boat Launch. After hiking about 7/10 of a mile you will find the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail.

Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana, just north of Columbia Falls. The park encompasses more than one million acres and is home to grizzly bear, moose, elk, along with 63 varieties of wild mammals. While most of the roads in Glacier National Park are closed off during the winter, this provides miles and miles of tracks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Visitors are seldom around in the dead of winter, so the muffled hush of the snow covered woods is especially enticing and serene.

A ski or snowshoe trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is one of the most scenic roads in North America, is a great option, according to park rangers. The road is closed to cars from September or October until snowmelt, usually in June. Several short hiking trails branch off from the road, which would be excellent for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter season.

 Once you have your gear, head up to Glacier National Park for an exciting adventure. Guided snowshoe trips are available, led by a park naturalist, and are highly recommended. If you are looking for an informative tour, snowshoeing is an easy way to explore the winter wonderland of this unique park. Snowshoeing will provide even the novice an effortless activity so your senses are more in tune with your environment and your guide's knowledge on the history, wildlife, geology, and biology of this precious ecosystem.

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