The Lakes of Glacier Park
Bowman Lake

Mt. Gould in Glacier Park

Bowman Lake

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Bowman Lake rivals Lake McDonald in scenic beauty. Stretching for seven miles in length and up to a mile wide, the lake sits in a deep bowl surrounded by thick forests and towering mountains. Unlike Lake McDonald, which ends at the base of the first big mountains, Bowman Lake stretches well into the mountains, providing a stunning sight of towering mountains seemingly rising straight out of the lake. Since Bowman Lake is fed entirely by snowmelt, the lake has very clear water and remains cold all summer long.

Getting to Bowman Lake can be sort of a pain, literally. The main road to reach Bowman Lake, the North Fork Road that begins in the town of Columbia Falls, is dirt for much of its distance and is extremely bumpy and dusty. While the drive is scenic, it is less than fun fighting all the washboards, holes, softball sized rocks and dust. And this is the easy part of the trip.

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After following the North Fork Road up to the tiny town of Polebridge, which has no electricity and one very unique store, a very bumpy and slow ride of an additional seven-miles awaits the traveler to reach Bowman Lake. The road on this section is very narrow - only one car in width - and is not at all recommended for trailers of any kind. The road itself ends at the head of Bowman Lake.

Unlike Lake McDonald, Bowman Lake has no development on it of any kind except for a small park cabin for employees. A campground, day use area, horse ramp and a small parking lot round out the facilities at Bowman Lake.

Unfortunately, the quality of the fishing on Bowman Lake mirrors that of Lake McDonald, with the difference being that except for right at the head of the lake, anyone wanting to fish from the shore on Bowman Lake will need to hike in on one of the trails that follow the lake. A boat ramp is also available - although it is seldom used since motor size restrictions keep the vast majority of motorboat users away. Instead, the most popular boats on Bowman Lake are inflatable kayaks as well as traditional canoes, as they are much easier to bring into the lake.

The fish in Bowman Lake consist primarily of small cutthroat trout, with an occasional large bull trout also found. Kokanee salmon also inhabit Bowman Lake. As Bowman Lake is fed entirely by snowmelt, the water of Bowman Lake is just too cold and sterile to support significant populations of large fish.

While Bowman Lake may in and of itself not be a destination spot for fishing, it ends up being a midway destination for some anglers. Bowman Lake is the jumping off spot for many trails (some of which lead to excellent fishing lakes) that head into the backcountry of Glacier Park in the North Fork region.


Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National Park

Hiking Socks : Guide to Getting the Right Sock for Hiking
Rain Jackets : What kind of rain jacket to get for hiking...and why
Trekking Poles : Why you should use a Hiking Staff when hiking

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