First Impressions of Glacier National Park at Bowman Lake

Travel destinations only get one chance to make a first impression. If my first hour at Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park was any indication, Glacier and I are going to be besties for a long, long time.

My Glacier NP experience began with a drive to Bowman Lake, which offers an opportunity to get off the beaten path. The main park road won’t get you there. Instead, you’ll have to drive outside the park through Polebridge, the little town with no electricity, and then continue on a winding gravel road into the northwest corner of the park for what feels like much longer than its actual length of six miles.

But the rewards are so worth it!

bowman lake

The Sights From Bowman Lake

Stepping into this lakeside view after driving down the gravel road and then taking a short walk through the woods almost took my breath away. Glacier looks different during every season, and being there to see the yellows and oranges of autumn was a special treat.


This little portion of wilderness and the 1700-acre lake (the park’s third-largest) sit 30 miles from the Canadian border. It wasn’t just the sights that made Bowman Lake enjoyable. It was the feel of the crisp air. And the near-silence and tranquility from the absence of people and vehicles.

At one point I said out loud, “I want to camp here for a month!” Bowman Lake does have a 48-site campground, for those who might want to give this place an extended look.

bowman lake view

Looking around at the scenery, I kept saying, “Wow!” That’s a pattern that would repeat itself during my five days in the Glacier National Park region, as I found myself in a state of awe every time new mountains or glaciers or lakes came into view. Bowman Lake made the best first impression imaginable.

Photo Essay – Images From the Park

Glacier Country is my Featured Travel Destination for October, so stay tuned for a ton of pics and dispatches all month long, including posts about Hidden Lake, the cool town of Whitefish, and a mile by mile guide to driving Going to the Sun Road. For now, enjoy a few more of the sights along the way from Polebridge to Bowman Lake.

The Complete Isle Royale National Park Visitors Guide: Camping, Maps, Ferries, Wildlife, and More

Note: Glacier Country Tourism hosted my stay in Montana.


cabin mountain


road to polebridge

roadside view







About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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  1. Looks like an awesome place! Could you share a little bit more about the road condition to get to the lake? I would love to visit it but I am trying to figure out if my corolla would make it.

  2. Amazing place – and it looks like you had the same kind of crappy cloudy day I had there. I’m going there for a do-over ASAP!

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