For hikers of moderate fitness, the trail leading up to the Numa Lookout will reward you with sweeping views of Rainbow Peak, Mount Carter and Square Peak, among others. And because the trail is accessed from remote Bowman Lake, you’re unlikely to encounter as many people as you would from routes of similar difficulty off of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The trail begins at Bowman Lake Ranger Station, at the southern tip of the lake, accessed via the park’s Polebridge entrance. Much of the first half of the 7.2-mile hike up is flat or gradually ascending. Follow the Bowman Lake trail less than a mile to the Numa Trail on the left. You’ll eventually ascend some 2,380 feet, with Bowman Lake to your right.
The trail eventually climbs above tree line, affording spectacular views of the Livingston Range, North Fork Valley and Whitefish Range, as well as a new angle from which to admire Bowman Lake.
Power your way up the steep switchbacks at the end to the fire lookout tower. Rumor has it Edward Abbey wrote his environmental classic, “The Monkeywrench Gang” here while manning the tower one summer. Bring enough water and food for the hike down.
How to Get There: Follow the North Fork Road (486) and enter Glacier Park in Polebridge. Park at the Bowman Lake campground and look for the trailhead near the ranger station.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.