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Chain Lakes Trail #377 | Polebridge, Montana

Outdoor Adventures, Hiking Trail or Trailhead

Chain Lakes Trail #377 is a short, steep well-maintained forested trail with lots of switchbacks, in Montana's Flathead National Forest Whitefish Range-North Fork area. Hike up and you'll be rewarded with first alpine lake 1.0 miles in and a second alpine lake 0.5 miles beyond. These lakes offer wildlife viewing, swimming, fishing and camping opportunities.

In the summer, it makes an excellent alternative to Glacier National Park's crowds. It's only 15 miles/approximately 50 minute drive on a gravel maintained road from beloved Historic Polebridge, MT/Glacier National Park's- North Fork Entrance.

Lower Chain Lake looking NE. A primitive campsite is on the far SE shore of the lake. – Sheena Pate

Driving Directions from Nearest Town or Landmark

Columbia Falls, Montana to Trailhead (49.7 miles, approximately 1hr 53 minute drive)
From Columbia Falls, drive north on North Fork Road for 39.7 miles. Turn left onto Red Meadow Road/Forest Service Road 115, Trailhead will be 20 miles down this road. Parking area is on the pull off on the left/south side of road just past creek crossing. Trailhead sign is across from parking area. *If you have driven to Red Meadow Lake, you've driven too far.

Whitefish, Montana to Trailhead (39.2 miles, approximately 1hr 37 minute drive) From Whitefish drive 18 miles north on Highway 93. Turn right on Olney Crossover Road (eventually changes to Red Meadow Road/Forest Service Road 115) and drive for 20 miles. You'll drive over Whitefish Divide past Red Meadow Lake before reaching creek crossing. Just before bridge there is a pull off on the right/south side of road, park here and walk across road to access trail.

Highlights and Best Features of this Trail

  • Access 2 of 4 alpine lakes in the Chain Lakes series
  • Swimming, fishing and camping opportunities *Fishing better at lower lake
  • 1 primitive campsite at first lake and 1 primitive campsite at second lake
  • Waterfall between first and second lake
  • Opportunity to drive scenic loop from Whitefish or Columbia Falls to access trail

Trail Distance

1.0 mile to Lower Chain Lake and an additional 0.5 mile to second Chain Lake

Trail Vertical Gain or Loss

Elevation gain of around 900 feet to first lake.