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North Fork | Glacier National Park, Montana

National Park or Protected Area
Beautiful fall afternoon at Bowman Lake. – Just Your Average Weekend Photography - Adam Birely

If you are visiting Glacier and looking for a little more solitude and to avoid the crowds, head up the dusty, bumpy, dirt road to the North Fork.

With only limited amenities in Polebridge, the North Fork provides the opportunity for a more self-reliant park experience.

Fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, canoeing and kayaking, going for a picnic, and wildlife watching are all fun ways to experience what the North Fork has to offer.

Driving Directions to Key Access Points

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO- Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Glacier National Park
Some motorized use – non-motorized use permitted with inspection as per GNP requirements
Glacier National Park:

Lake McDonald (Across street from Public Boat Ramp)
May 12 – May 31, 2018
8:00 am to 4:00 pm

June 1 – October 31, 2018
7:00 am to 9:00 pm (Hours adjusted for waning daylight)

North Fork (Polebridge)
There are no watercraft inspection stations in the North Fork region. Bowman or Kintla Lake boaters must stop at the Lake McDonald inspection station for a launch permit. After successful inspection, they must proceed directly to their North Fork launch destination.

*North Fork residents should contact the Polebridge Ranger Station for alternate inspection procedures.

Highlights of this National Park or Protected Area

  • Spend the day at Kintla or Bowman Lake, with their crystal clear waters set beneath the mountains. Bring along your own canoe or kayak and go for a paddle.
  • View an old homestead site in Big Prairie, along the road up to Kintla Lake.
  • Camping - Campgrounds are located at Bowman and Kintla Lakes, as well as the smaller and more primitive sites at Quartz and Logging Creek.
  • Hiking - For great views of Bowman Lake from above, as well as outstanding views of the impressive mountains of the Livingston Range, hike the Numa Ridge Lookout trail. Must be in good physical condition as the trail is 11.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2,930 ft.
  • Backpacking - Make the North Fork the start of some amazing treks into the heart of Glacier. Enjoy spectacular scenery along Brown Pass and the Boulder Pass trail.
  • Fishing & Scenic Float Trips- Three local rafting companies offer trips on the North Fork of the Flathead River, the Flathead River's largest tributary flowing from Canada. This section is designated National Wild and Scenic River and has breathtaking views of Glacier National Park.

Nearby Places