Big Prairie and Bowman Lake

Columbia Falls, Montana

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The tiny community of Polebridge is situated just outside the western boundary of Glacier National Park and is 22 miles on rough road from the Canadian border. The gravel road into Polebridge leads to spectacular skiing and snowshoeing in a land of wolves, bears, elk, and other wildlife. The backcountry touring in the Polebridge area includes winter trails into Glacier National Park and nearby on U.S. Forest Service land. Winter visitors enjoy spectacular vistas of the “Crown of the Continent,” the nickname for the northern Rockies in Glacier. Polebridge began as a homestead in the remote and wild area of the North Fork of the Flathead River. In 1914, homesteader, packer, and innkeeper Adair Ridge built the Polebridge Mercantile, which remains the centerpiece of the town. The road through town heads north and across the North Fork, a federally designated wild and scenic river, and into Glacier National Park. The town and the Polebridge Ranger Station are named for a bridge over the river made of poles and built nearly a century ago. Beginners find the trail from Polebridge to Big Prairie an easy introduction to backcountry touring. Rewards include views of the peaks and the river. Surface quality: Skier-packed.
Winter Trails: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Winter Trails: Montana

by Jean Arthur (The Globe Pequot Press)

The tiny community of Polebridge is situated just outside the western boundary of Glacier National Park and is 22 miles on rough road from the Canadian border. The gravel road into Polebridge leads to spectacular skiing and snowshoeing in a land of wolves, bears, elk, and other wildlife. The backcountry touring in the Polebridge area includes winter trails into Glacier National Park and nearby on U.S. Forest Service land. Winter visitors enjoy spectacular vistas of the “Crown of the Continent,” the nickname for the northern Rockies in Glacier.

Polebridge began as a homestead in the remote and wild area of the North Fork of the Flathead River. In 1914, homesteader, packer, and innkeeper Adair Ridge built the Polebridge Mercantile, which remains the centerpiece of the town. The road through town heads north and across the North Fork, a federally designated wild and scenic river, and into Glacier National Park. The town and the Polebridge Ranger Station are named for a bridge over the river made of poles and built nearly a century ago. Beginners find the trail from Polebridge to Big Prairie an easy introduction to backcountry touring. Rewards include views of the peaks and the river. Surface quality: Skier-packed.

©  Jean Arthur/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: Columbia Falls
Distance: 12
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult
Duration: Day use
Trailhead Elevation: 3,600 feet
Top Elevation: 4,040 feet
Local Contacts: Glacier National Park, Avalanche Info, (800)-526-5329
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Prairie and Bowman Lake

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Apr 2018