This is a ride we have had our sights set on for some time, but just haven’t gotten to it yet! (Thus the reason for designation as a Development Route.) The Montana Office of Tourism describes the ride as follows.
“This ride begins in Polebridge, a community that is an authentic throwback to an earlier day. Except for the first mile, the outing takes place entirely within the most northwestern reaches of Glacier National Park. Particularly early and late in the day, you’ll have outstanding opportunities to spot wildlife, including bears, so be bear aware and make plenty of noise.
Most of the ride takes place amid grassy meadows marking the floodplain of the North Fork of the Flathead River, but the last 2.5 miles penetrate thick forests of Douglas fir, hemlock and other coniferous species. The real visual payoff is at the turn-around point of Kintla Lake: the sparkling glacial lake, long and narrow, stretches some five miles eastward, lapping against the base of lofty mountains. You’ll also find a camp-ground on the lake shore, so hauling in camping gear and spending the night is a highly recommended option.”
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 the Inside North Fork Road[micro video] along the park’s western boundary. **Read More
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. **Read More
For a longer route, consider combining this route with the Flathead route. This will give an Out & Back of approximately 86 miles and 4400 feet of gain.
You will need to pay for park entry even if biking into the park. CARRY YOUR PARK PASS WITH YOU so you can re-enter the park after exiting at Polebridge.
Consider carrying bear spray. This is grizzly country and a much less frequented portion of the park. I would recommend it for everyone, but if you are going alone I would consider bear spray mandatory.
You will not have cell phone service once outside of Polebridge.
If you’re looking for a beverage or meal after your ride, I recommend the Belton Chalet. It is a historic railroad motel and is just outside of the West Glacier park entrance. They typically have 10+ Western Montana microbrews and an excellent menu.
Adventure / Gravel Route
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.
Food / Water
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.