Places: Polebridge

By Beacon Staff

If you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy just outside Glacier National Park, head up the road to Polebridge for a truly Montana experience.

Located one mile from the northwestern entrance to the park, the Polebridge Mercantile and Northern Lights Saloon is an oasis for the weary traveler. Besides amenities such as gas and groceries, the “Merc” offers world-class pastries and a custom roasted Polebridge blend of coffee. Check out a rustic cabin within walking distance of the old store.

The saloon is the ideal place to grab a bite of pizza or wild game over a cool frosty beverage, which taste even better after a night or two of backcountry camping or a day hike across the park’s border.

The North Fork of the Flathead River borders the northwestern entrance to the park and provides fishing and boating access to the pristine blue water. The entrance is also the gateway to Glacier’s upper lakes: Bowman, Kintla, Quartz and Lower Quartz.

The few miles of jarring dirt road that takes you from Columbia Falls along the western side of the park should be driven with respect.

How to get there: If you have a pass to Glacier, from the west entrance take Going-to-the-Sun Road to Camas Road. Take Camas Road north to U.S. Highway 486 and continue north for about 14 miles to Polebridge. You can also take Highway 486 from Columbia Falls to circumvent the park. Portions of the highway are unpaved. Always check with the park for current details on closed roads.

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