Flathead

5 Star Route

Glacier National Park may be best known for its 20+ named glaciers, but anyone who has visited remembers the vast scenery composed of its alpine forests, abundant streams, and fault-block mountains framing deep blue lakes.  All of these features can be taken in on two wheels while riding Inside North Fork Road along the park’s western boundary.

The Inside North Fork Road is a rugged route that extends from Apgar to Polebridge and nearly to the Canadian border …. it bumps and bends through historic burn areas, wetlands and aspen groves to Logging, Bowman and, finally, Kintla lakes. [Flathead Becon]

The historic Inside North Fork Road was built in 1901 and is the oldest road in the park.  It was initially built by the Butte Oil Company as a rough wagon road from Lake McDonald to its oil well at Kintla Lake. It actually preceded the park’s establishment by 9 years. The more popular portion to ride is the southern half from the campground to the village of Polebridge. Because 10 miles of the road is closed to motorized vehicles, it receives very little traffic, even during the park’s busiest days of the year.  

The portion of road between the Camas creek trail and the Logging creek campground has been closed to motorized traffic since 2014. It was open intermittently from 2006-2013 but it was decided to indefinitely close the section due to the repeated cost of necessary repairs from seasonal flooding damage and the impact on critical Bull Trout habitat. **Read More

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 54 miles / 3200 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 75% gravel, 25% paved
eBike Friendly: No
– Location: ~ 35 min northeast of Whitefish, MT
– Published: May 2020

Difficulty

Moderate+. Due to: (a) some sections of gnar and cobbled road surfaces and (b) the remote “off-grid” nature of the ride.

When we like to ride this …

 June – September. Outside of this, conditions may not be favorable for riding. September has less people in the park and cooler temps.

The Start

Apgar Visitor Center
Lat / Long: 48.522958, -113.987011

Food / Water

Polebridge Mercantile & Bakery (mile 29). Apgar village (start/finish).


Downloads

Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX file / TCX file

Legend

Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

JamesD / Guest Contributor

Full time dad, full time doctor, part time bike racer, all the time bike enthusiast.  I have lived the last 7+ years in Bend, OR but went to high school and spent much of my youth in the Flathead Valley of Montana.

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