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Numa Ridge Lookout
Glacier National Park

Numa Ridge Lookout in Glacier Park 2012

If you’re looking for a rewarding hike in Glacier National Park that is away from the crowds, then check out the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail in the northwest corner of the park. Be prepared to spend at least seven hours on this 10.5 mile round trip hike to Numa Ridge Lookout.

The Numa Ridge Fire Lookout in Glacier National Park is significant as one of a chain of manned fire lookout posts within the park. The low two-story structure with a pyramidal roof was built in 1933. The lookout was built to a standard plan originated by the U.S. Forest Service as part of a program to provide overlapping fire lookout coverage within the park.

Numa Ridge Trail from Bowman Lake Trail

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.
Be prepared for a hike that will take you along some very steep climbs and bring plenty of drinking water. There is none available at the lookout.

Numa Lookout Trail Head

The hike starts out along Bowman Lake through some lovely quiet forests. Watch for the different birds and animals who are also enjoying these trees. You will soon leave the lake views behind as you continue on through the forest, enjoying the company of busy squirrels and the startling sounds of a ruffed grouse taking to the air. You will come to Moose Pond on your right. But, you will not find a cleared path to get you to it’s shores. This is a small pond but beautifully lined with water lilies and other water plants.
Traveling on you soon begin to climb following switchbacks as they take you on to the top. Here you will be walking on limestone near the lookout. You can enjoy watching as the Falcons and Pikas enjoy the higher altitude,
Now you will have reached 6,960 feet, at Numa Ridge Lookout. Note that the lookout is a private residence that is staffed by the National Park Service. Looking down you can once again see Moose Pond. You will also see Akokala Lake. Having a great view of the mountains around you. You will see Mount Carter, Rainbow Peak, and Reuter Peak, as well as Numa Peak, which is over 9,000 feet.
Keeping an ever so watchful eye on the timberline, you may be able to see bear and deer as well as an elk.
Now that you have rested from this long climb, the thought of going down on your return is refreshing.

Enjoy hiking the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail and share your experiences with others.
Verna Parks

How to get here:

Take the North Fork Road north out of Columbia Falls (right off of Nucleus Ave).

About 35 miles later, turn right into Polebridge. Veer left at the mercantile.

Cross the Flathead River and enter the Polebridge Entrance Station to Glacier National Park.

Less than a mile later, turn right with a sign pointing to Bowman Lake.

Park there and find the trailhead along the water’s edge.

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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