Very few visitors to Glacier Park find their way to Bowman Lake, yet it’s well worth the effort. To get to Bowman Lake from Smoky Bear Ranch, you’ll drive 25 miles of mostly gravel road to reach the Polebridge entrance at Glacier Park. Although a somewhat dusty drive, you will experience great views of the backcountry in Glacier National Park due to the Moose Fire of 2001. Once you enter the Park, you’ll travel another 6 miles of single track dirt road to reach the foot of Bowman Lake where you’ll find a day use area, a campground, a boat launch, and a Park Ranger station.
The sheer beauty of Bowman Lake is so worth the off-road drive. The lake lies in a deep valley between Numa Ridge and Cerulean Ridge of the Rocky Mountains inside Glacier Park. It is a long narrow lake, roughly ½ mile wide and 7 miles long. The waters of Bowman Lake are crystal clear and beautiful aquamarine in color. It’s so clear you can see the bottom of the lake through 30 feet of water.
If you take the easy rolling-hill hike along the northwest shore of Bowman Lake, you can enjoy views of the Cerulean Ridge across the lake. Rainbow Peak stands above all other peaks plus you’ll have views of Square Peak and Mount Carter. You can find many great spots to access the lake to fish, enjoy the scenery, or stop for lunch. There are many wildflowers along this trail, each blooming in their own time. Or you can backpack the 7.1 miles into the campsite at the head of the lake for a peaceful night’s stay but don’t forget your bear spray, bears are know to inhabit this region.
Bowman Lake is a quiet lake, maximum motorized vessel engine size is 10 hp, no jet skis are permitted. This makes it a great lake for canoeing, kayaking, small boats, and fishing. North Fork Recreational Rentals, located in the small quaint town of Polebridge, has many types of watercraft available for rent, and don’t forget to stop at the Polebridge Mercantile for some of their fresh baked sweet or savory pastries.