The drive to Bowman Lake from the northwest entrance to Glacier National Park may be a twisted six miles of dust, rivets and potholes, but it’s well worth the extra effort.
Because of the bumpy road, recreational vehicles and truck/trailer combinations are not recommended, making the campground adjacent to the third-largest lake in the park, after Lake McDonald and St. Mary, a haven for camping for those looking to escape the heavily traveled sections of the park.
The lake is nestled in a deep bowl between Numa and Rainbow peaks with views of Mount Peabody and Mount Carter. The campground has 48 sites with amenities ranging from a picnic area and boat ramp to pit toilets and potable water.
It is the perfect location to stage backcountry hikes, including shorter, yet still challenging, hikes to Quartz Lake and Lower Quartz Lake. Or you can embark on major adventures that will take you to Kintla Lake or all the way to Waterton Lake.
The fishing is not great from shore except for right at the head of the lake. Fishing from a canoe or boat gives you easier access to the large cutthroats that inhabit the lake.
How to get there: Take the North Fork Road north out of Columbia Falls (right off of Nucleus Ave). About 35 miles later, turn right into Polebridge. Bear left at the mercantile. Cross the Flathead River and enter the Polebridge Entrance Station to Glacier National Park. Less than a mile later, turn right with a sign pointing to Bowman Lake.
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