Polebridge, MT, The North Fork Road, and Glacier National Park
Explore a road less traveled. The North Fork Road navigates Glacier National Park's western border and offers a unique opportunity for cyclists.
Where: We rode the Inside North Fork Road (inside Glacier Park) and the Outside North Fork Road (paralleling the Inside Road, outside the Park) between Apgar and remote Polebridge, MT along Glacier National Park's western border.
Distance: Our first day was approximately 26.5 miles from Apgar Village in the Park to Polebridge via Camas Road and the Outside North Fork Road. On day two, we braved the Inside North Fork Road southward which is about the same distance, but rough, and closed to motor vehicles due to impassable, washed-out sections. Also, a Glacier National Park entrance fee applies.
When: We did our trip during late September and experienced warm days with colder, but comfortable, nights. Springtime here can be rainy and summer brings crowds and dust.
Bicycle Adventurers: I did this trip with a fellow touring friend, Phil. He's a seasoned touring cyclist and rode part of Adventure Cycling's Gread Divide Mountain Bike Route.
Accomodations: After arriving in Polebridge, MT from Apgar and visiting the famous Polebridge Mercantile, we camped on Flathead National Forest land along the North Fork of the Flathead River near the Glacier National Park entrance at Polebridge. A pit toilet is nearby.
Bonus tip for this adventure:
- The Northern Lights Saloon in Polebridge is the place for a well-deserved drink.
- The pastries at the Polebridge Mercantile need no introduction, but make sure they are fresh.
- Oh, and bring bear spray or a brave disposition for the Inside North Fork Road.
Note: Google Maps doesn't like Camas Road, maybe because it's only open seasonally, and the route in gray above inaccurately takes you south of the Apgar Mountains. The best way to get to the Outside North Fork Road from Apgar is to stay in the Park and ride the Camas Road. Confused? This page has a great map of the Inside North Fork Road and the Outside North Fork Road.
The ride north from Apgar to Polebridge on the Outside North Fork Road went exactly how we had hoped, ending with beers on the Polebridge Mercantile porch, while conversing with locals and other tourists.
This is outdoor life above the 48th parallel. The temperature dropped to the mid twenties overnight and my camp cup and fork froze solid. But the day warmed quickly and traveling south back to Apgar on the Inside North Fork Road, we encountered a black bear. She seemed more afraid of us and took off quickly. We also found out that a portion of the road was closed to motor vehicles due to a pack of wolves with cubs in the area. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we did not see any wolves.
Enjoy the photos!
Polebridge Mercantile bakery treats.
Northern Lights Saloon in Polebridge, MT
Explore your parks and public lands by bicycle with thousands of people across the country on the same day — the first ever Bike Your Park Day on September 24, 2016.
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