Explore the most popular birding trails near Polebridge with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Counterclockwise route is uphill and steep. Not outstanding views but the lake is worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail. We saw 4 other groups but quiet and away from the crowds. The meadow and lake were very pretty. Very easy hike.

It was cold. Wind was blowing hard. Not an ideal hike for this time of year. Still was beautiful though.

I really like this trail. The views along the way are nice and become amazing from Standard Peak. You can see the entire Flathead Valley from the top. The road to access this trail is seasonal. There is a gate on McGinnis Creek Road that is closed until July 1st. I think it stays open until possibly some time in September. There are a few places along the trail that are under the cover of trees, but it is mostly open so wear sunscreen.

on Bowman Lake Trail

backpacking
3 months ago

A beautiful, quiet lake but the bugs are extremely bad. Huge flies and mosquitos infest this part of glacier and more than any other place I’ve stayed at. I’m a camper and normally not bothered by bugs, but these guys won’t leave you alone from morning to night.

If that doesn’t deter you, it’s definitely worth the trip out to this remote spot of the park. You can drive long, rocky road to get here or take a great backpacking trip.

backpacking
3 months ago

Day 1 we backpacked from Polebridge to Bowman Lake Campground. Very easy and flat 6 mile trek along Bowman Lake. Beautiful creek flowing through parts of the campsite and into the lake. Campground had plenty of spots for a refreshing swim, fishing and / or filtering water. There was a pit toilet in the campground.
Day 2 we backpacked from Bowman Lake to Brown Pass. Overall this was a difficult 7 mile hike. There were spots of thick overgrowth but the difficult part was the last 2 miles ---- 2000+ ft of elevation gain. We ate raspberries along the lower parts of the trail and there are incredible views as you get close to the top of the pass --- Be sure to stop and take it in! No water at the campsite but there were a few spots near the top / Brown Pass Campsite. Only a 2 mile trek to Hole in Wall from camp. Pit toilet located in the campground. Lot's of insects!
Day 3 we backpacked 13 miles from Brown Pass to Polebridge … We stopped for lunch at Bownman Lake campground.

Nice hike with my dog. Half the trail is under tree cover through the forest and crosses several small streams. The other half is pretty open so you need some sun protection. Moran Patrol Cabin is located near by on the north west end of the ridge line. Trail is very narrow through the forest part of the hike.

hiking
3 months ago

One thing that's not been mentioned is the chance of seeing wildlife along the trail and in the meadow. We once watched swans (probably trumpeters) attacking common loons unprovoked. The swans had cygnets and the loons had chicks, it seems nobody was injured in the end. We've surprised grouse chicks (spruce or ruffed, hard to tell at that age) along the trail. One flew up onto a nearby branch and posed for us. There are also whitetail deer out there. I've been told Glacier's wolves are most likely to be seen in this part of the park, but we've neither seen nor heard any. MANY wildflowers both in numbers and types, in early-mid July.
Take and know how to use both bear spray and bug spray.
It is true there's really no place to sit, so bring an old towel, at the higher end of the meadow - under the giant Douglas fir for example - you can probably find a place to lay it down.
Eat at Polebridge Mercantile, you won't regret it.
Great little hike.

It was recommended that we do this trail counter clockwise. Mistake number one. Going that direction, it feels like we spent the majority of our time going uphill. Most of the trail between Bowman and Middle Quartz is highly overgrown, and at parts we weren’t sure we were still on the trail. The biggest downfall was that, due to it being summer and the overgrowth, we were swarmed/consumed/eaten alive by all of the mosquitos in Glacier. We even reapplied big spray several times with little effect. Ignore the rec to take the trail counter clockwise and just hike in and out to Quartz Lake.

Wooded trail. No Mountain View on the trail. Lake at the end is more pond like and no where to sit and enjoy for a few minutes once you get there. View was okay of the mountains far off but extremely buggy. The meadow was pretty, but if you are looking for more views, this may not be your hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hidden gem! We were the only ones on the trail until we hiked out. Beautiful meadow and lake.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike/walk to a wild flower meadow (summer months only) with beautiful lake views and mountain scenery.

A Short but wonderful hike.

Great hike along the lake. Only the app’s mileage is way off. It’s 6.43 mi one way from the campground to the end of the lake. Making it 12.86 mi out and back.
We’ve encountered inaccuracies about length of trails several times on our trip into Yellowstone as well as Glacier.

Beautiful easy hike. Well worth the hike to the lake. Watched Loons in the lake and a couple sandhill cranes. Did not see any bears but carried bear spray and talked to each other the entire time. Best hike we did all week

Good views at quartz lake, rest of the hike is mostly walking through the woods. From quartz lake to lower quartz lake we counted around 170 down trees, pretty tough navigating and trekking.

Very buggy but well worth the views!!!

backpacking
Saturday, September 09, 2017

Great moderate loop. The view at the Quartz Lake campground is worth the hike alone. Decent elevation but minimal vista opportunities - don't expect your climb to be rewarded with world class overlooks. If you're looking for an easy 2-day at GNP this is a great option. Feel is very similar to the Adirondacks, just looking up at larger mountains.

backpacking
Saturday, September 09, 2017

My buddy and I hiked out to the Bowman Lake campground. This is an enjoyable 7 miles out w/ minimal elevation, great for getting your hiking legs under you prior to tackling some of glaciers more intense trails. It's almost all green tunnel, with a few nice views over Bowman Lake looking up at the Continental Divide. Excellent beginner trail but pales in comparison to the rest of what Glacier has to offer.

backpacking
Monday, August 21, 2017

Hiked from Bowman Lake front-country campgrounds to Bowman Lake backcountry campgrounds on the first day. The trail was flat but nice along the water and took a little under three hours. The campground was just along the lake and great for relaxing.

On the second day of our trip, we hiked from Bowman Lake campground to Brown Pass -- about another three hours but the last 2/3 of a mile was difficult. That said, that part offered incredible wildfires and great views as it was more exposed. There is a water source about 1/4 mile in either direction of the Brown Pass campground.

Our third day, we hiked all the way from Brown Pass back to the front country. It was a bit of a slog but it was all downhill/flat so made for fast hiking. We did see lots of frogs on the way back.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

My girlfriend and I hiked in and out to Lower Quartz Lake, which was not a very lengthy hike. This trail was surprisingly steep in sections with up hill hiking going both directions. We found a TON of huckleberries right off of the trail about half way to the lake! Arriving at the lake was rewarding. I love how secluded this region felt when we ate our lunch to ourselves. This hike was very enjoyable, but definitely doesn't offer any CRAZY views hence my average rating.

hiking
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Short walk through the trees w/o much elevation gain leads to a nice clearing with a large pond. Saw swans while we were there...I'd imagine we may have seen more had we hung around longer

Friday, June 23, 2017

Beautiful easy trail. Well marked and easy to hike in and out. At the end is a lake and we saw trumpeter swans with signets while we enjoyed a picnic. Be aware you are in bear country and take all the precautions. We saw 2 piles of bear scat on the trail and sang loudly and clapped most of the way to prevent the bears from approaching. Take bear spray. Hiked with mom and kids...it was beautiful. Take bug spray too....when we stopped to take pictures, we were swarmed and sprayed down. Great hike!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Good at first!! Very buggy. Need to wear long pants and shirt or lots of. Bug spray. Trail is great until it turns from the water. Then it isn't worth the effort so turn back.

hiking
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This easy 2.7 mile out & back trail is located along the Inside North Fork Road, the map calls this Quartz Ridge, south of the Polebridge Ranger Station. The trailhead is on the west side of the road and is labeled Hidden Meadows. There is limited parking at the trail head for about three cars.
The trail begins in dense young pines, many of which are burned out from fires, with little more than 200ft elevation in the first half mile. As the trail levels you continue through pine forests with, at times, an alarming amount of bear activity along the trail and shoulders. Many of the dead pines have been torn down and apart by bears so be mindful and carry your bear spray.
Approximately 1 mile in the pine turns to an Aspen grove, while beautiful, it does get a bit closed in at times making the large amount of bear sign a bit unnerving. Just as you feel inclined to turn around from the mounting tension, the Aspen grove opens and you appear in a vast open field of grass. To the near left is Hidden Meadow Lake. To the north the meadow continues for some distance, which I did not continue into beyond the nearest lake side.
Inside of 200 meters from the meadow opening there is a large pine providing shade around its base. A good place to sit and take in the landscape, beware of potential critters doing the same thing, approach with caution. While no large mammals were seen, there is plenty of sign indicating their presence in the area. From the lone pine a walk of less than 200 meters will take you to the edge of Hidden Meadow Lake. Here was seen a family of Trumpeter Swans putting on a show for a few minutes.
In all a nice trail, very relaxing scenery at the end and better still, no other people on the trail. I had the trail and meadow to myself.

hiking
Friday, July 22, 2016

Bowman lake was beautiful. Mercantile at pole bridge - turnover pastry was top shelf! Long dusty drive to trail head. We went only to lower Quartz. The trail was overgrown with plants scraping our legs. No views. Felt stuffy and depressing. Lower Quartz lake and bridge and campground were beautiful. Will not do this one again.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The must! Absolutely beautiful views and not very hard hike.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

There's a great trail launches out of here along then north side of the lake with a great camp area out there near the end of the lake. The blue water is so beautiful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

This is a very strenuous hike. We took the counter-clockwise route so we reached Lower Quartz first, then Middle, and Upper last. We were told this would be the less strenuous option however it felt like we were going uphill 2/3 of the time. Starts down, then back up to Lower; even ground between Lower and Middle and then up up up all the way past Upper where you get to a ridge line that affords you views of all three lakes. Didn't see many other people which was nice. Windy day and trees were exceedingly squeaky. Countless bear, mountain lion, elk and deer tracks but none spotted. Warning: the road to Bowman Lake is not paved and a slow and bumpy ride, but worth it for the solitude!

hiking
Saturday, January 17, 2015

My buddies and I did the Bowman - Kintla Lake loop. A 38 mile loop that takes you up to Brown's Pass and Hole-in-the Wall. It is an amazing place to hike, and the back country campgrounds are pretty nice. I can't wait to make it back to Glacier National Park and do another back country hiking trip.

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