Looking for winter solitude away from crowds of skiers, and no phones ringing surrounded by Glacier peaks in what is truly a winter wonderland? Try exploring this pristine area and remote glacier lakes through the Polebridge Glacier Park entrance. If you are looking for more of a remote winter adventure with more wildlife sounds than human chatter, this is perfect getaway with homemade baked treats awaiting at then end of your adventure.
Access the Park entrance just outside of Polebridge, Montana and park in the designated parking areas next to the park entrance. There are outside toilets available right past the Polebridge Mercantile if needed before you enter the park.
The Polebridge Mercantile is typically open on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter months, but I would call and check first to be certain. Regardless, make sure to pack your own water and food for your winter adventure as there are no amenities available in the case that the Polebridge Mercantile is closed. The Polebridge Mercantile offers wonderful sweet and savory baked goods that will melt in your mouth. They also have a variety of souvenirs, hot coffee, and other beverages to help quench your thirst after a long day exploring Glacier National Park.
There are two main roads you can explore after the park entrance. After leaving the park entrance travel left on the inside North Fork Road until you see the first intersection that will be marked with a brown sign displaying directions to either Kintla Lake or Bowman Lake.
Take a right at the intersection to head to Bowman Lake Road, or keep going straight north to Kintla Lake. The road to reach Bowman Lake is approximately 6 miles (12 miles roundtrip), and the road to Kintla Lake is approximately 15 miles (30 miles roundtrip).
When exploring Bowman Lake Road on Nordic skis the trip out will be a steady, gradual climb with unbeatable views. And the trip back from the lake will most likely take about half the time then it did to get to the lake, so plan accordingly and prepare yourself for some fun descending on skis!
Make sure to check the weather and keep in mind the snowpack and conditions. If there hasn't been any new snowfall in awhile, and you arrive in the morning, conditions could be hard packed or icy. However, you are most likely to have plenty of snowfall to kick n' glide on with zero crowds, enormous landscapes, and high altitude snowy peaks of Glacier National Park and Canada. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Enjoy the peacefulness with no cell phone blings, the flowing sound of the river, and if you're lucky some birds chirping in the background as you glide throughout the park.
Best Access and Parking Area
Directions & Road Conditions:
Travel north from Columbia Falls, MT on Road 486, otherwise known as the North Fork Road. Driving the North Fork Road enroute to Polebridge park entrance can be icy, snowy, and bumpy with long sections of variable dirty road conditions, and may not be plowed. Make sure to check local road conditions before traveling that direction. A 4-wheel drive vehicle with some clearance is advisable in the winter months.
The beauty of the North Fork park entrance is the solitude and peaceful wide-open spaces with little-to-no people, however it also required you to be self-sufficient. Bear in mind there will most likely not be cell service, so make sure to come prepared for all situations.
Approximate Operation Season
The Polebridge park entrance is closed in the winter months from approximately October-May.
Rules and Regulations
Dogs are not allowed in Glacier National Park. Please make sure to practice leave no trace.