PLACES: Bowman Lake

By Beacon Staff

Bowman Lake is situated on northwestern edge of Glacier National Park near the town of Polebridge. The lake is known for its scenic beauty and its close proximity to the entrance of the park and is nestled in a deep bowl surrounded by dense forest and tall mountains. It’s a great lake to photograph on a sunny day, as the mountains tend to mirror perfectly onto the clear water.

Although Bowman Lake is not known as a great fishing destination, it does offer anglers the opportunity to catch small cutthroat trout and an occasional bull trout if you’re lucky. Boating the lake is permitted, but engine size is limited to 10 horsepower and below. Most commonly, people prefer to bring inflatable kayaks and canoes to explore the waters.

A campground is situated on the shore of Bowman Lake with fresh drinking water and bathrooms nearby. The campgrounds are first come, first serve and fill up relatively quickly on weekends. These sites are for tent camping, so don’t bring your RV or trailer camper. There are also picnic areas that are great for day visitors and if you’re a hiker than you will appreciate the vast trail system that stems from the lake. Campgrounds cost $15 per night.

If camping is not your thing, you can stay in the small and quaint town of Polebridge. The town is located about a mile from the entrance and consists of a mercantile, a bakery, a restaurant and bar and rental cabins. The hot breakfast sandwiches are out of this world good, so definitely pick one up before you head out to the lake.

How to get there: Take North Fork Road north out of Columbia Falls. The paved road will make way to bumpy gravel after several miles. After 34 miles, take a right onto Polebridge Loop. Take the first and only left past the Polebridge Mercantile. Once through the park entrance, a sign points you to Bowman Lake. The road to the lake is thin, bumpy and incredibly windy.

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