Driving the Inside North Fork Road to Kintla Lake offers an excellent chance to view wildlife, wildflowers, and the rebirth of Glacier after the fires of 1988 and 2003. But getting here isn’t easy. You won’t need four-wheel drive, but the road is extremely rough, and you should plan on averaging 15 mph. This was the first road in the area, developed by oil barons in the early 1900s as they began drilling near Kintla Lake. Things were going well (no pun intended) until they hit a gas vein, causing the whole operation to explode into flames. Meanwhile, the area was already on track for designation as a national park.
When Glacier became the country’s tenth national park in 1910, oil exploration ended, but drilling on the Rocky Mountain front and on land adjoining the park remains a divisive issue today. Kintla is off the main track for Glacier’s typical drive-through visitors who often don’t realize this region exists. But if you like isolated lakes at the base of towering, snowcapped mountains where deer, elk, and black bears are abundant and eagles are frequent visitors, this is a prime choice.
© 2017 Jan and Christina Nesset/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.