We love going to Kintla Lake Campground in Glacier National Park, Montana. Just for a day drive, you feel like you’ve found paradise. It isn’t accessed through the main park entrance, however, and it isn’t suitable for rvs – a small pull camper or truck camper is all you’d want to take back there, because the road is narrow and rough (plus, the park entrance wouldn’t allow you to go through anyway and there aren’t large turnarounds, so don’t try!)
If you take the North Fork road out of Columbia Falls and start driving, you’ll eventually get to the tiny community of Polebridge, Montana after miles and miles of dusty, bumpy gravel road. There you can cross the North Fork River into Glacier National Park at the northernmost entrance. Upon entering, you can take a right to Bowman Lake, or turn left to Kintla Lake. Both are beautiful and the park ranger can assist you with the information you need.
The road to Kintla Lake is a bouncy and narrow one, but the scenery is breathtaking. It winds for 15 miles through meadows and forests, most of it burn areas from several forest fires. This actually makes it an even better drive, since you can see the mountains of Glacier almost the whole way. Be on the lookout for grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lion, moose and all other sorts of wildlife. It is primitive out here – not a drive through zoo – so be very careful in bear country.
Once you arrive at the campground (which allows small campers and tents only, with water available from a hand pump), you walk a few yards to an unobstructed view of the lake itself. Kintla is a classic mountain lake, long and narrow and bordered on the sides by towering glacier-cut knife edges of the northern Rockies. It is a spectacular sight, and one we never get tired of. The shore has a wide apron where you can walk and dip your feet into the cold water, and the deep blue color of the lake, combined with the big sky and gray hulks of the mountains, and the solitude, makes it a magical place. We love to come here and we hate to leave.
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