Polebridge Mercantile

The historic Polebridge Mercantile is just a mile from the northwest entrance to Glacier National Park. No traffic lights, no crowds, no electricity, no hassles. Just small rustic cabins, the old store, and incomparable grandeur. This little town hasn't changed much in 100 years, boasting one bar, the Northern Lights Saloon and the Polebridge Mercantile, a store/bakery/gas station. The mercantile also has cabins for rent. Leave your laptop at home. For power, locals use generators, solar, kerosene and propane lights - or do without.

Bill Adair built the Polebridge Mercantile here on the western banks of the North Fork Flathead River back in 1914, just four years after his neighbor, Glacier National Park, became a park. He added an icehouse and a shop and soon became the social and business center of a growing and rusticated backwoods neighborhood, not to mention a gateway to Glacier.

The transboundary Flathead River, known as the North Fork in Montana, is arguable the ecological heart and soul of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem. Due to its broad and undisturbed floodplain, this wild valley provides ideal habitat for one of the most biologically diverse assemblages of terrestrial and aquatic life in the Rocky Mountains between the Yukon and Mexico.

If you journey to Polebridge, however, be prepared for dusty roads, which are an integral part of the North Fork character. Drive slow and watch carefully for wildlife and other drivers. You would be wise to have at least one sturdy spare tire.

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Location

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Latitude: 48.76499939 Longitude: -114.285385132 Elevation: 3524 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Will Hammerquist

Description of Store or Stores

The Polebridge Mercantile is a rustic two story red outpost that serves as bakery, coffee shop, store and gathering place for locals and visitors. The interior looks much like it did in the early 1900's.

Seasons or Months Open

The store is open year-round

Driving Directions

Take Highway 40 to Columbia Falls and turn onto Nucleus Avenue. The North Fork Road , Route 486, begins at the east end of Nucleus. Turn right and drive 35 miles to Polebridge. In summer, when Glacier National Park's Camas Road is open, enter through the West Entrance, turn left at the Going-to-the Sun Junction and follow the Camas Road to the North Fork Road Junction near the bridge going over the North Fork of the Flathead River.

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