Polebridge, Mont. – Kintla Lake is located in the northwest corner of Glacier National Park. You can access this area of park by taking either the Inside North Fork Road (inside the park border) or the Outside North Fork Road (outside the park border) to the Polebridge Ranger Station.
If you take the Outside North Fork Road, you’ll go through the tiny community of Polebridge before getting to the ranger station. The Polebridge Mercantile might just be the very best bakery in Montana. Indulge in a Huckleberry Bear Claw, Chunky Monkey (banana, Nutella and walnut), or one of their many other delicious pastries. And when I say one, I mean four – because they’re DELICIOUS and you’ll definitely end up wanting more than one.
Polebridge also offers a bar next door to the Mercantile. They have plenty of outdoor seating and feature live music on the weekends. I can’t speak from experience, but as I devoured my Chunky Monkey, it looked like all the patrons were enjoying themselves next door. Needing a place to camp out for the night? Polebridge has a campground and cabins available for rent.
Kintla Lake is just under 15 miles past the ranger station. The dirt road cuts across meadows and winds through trees before you arrive at Kintla Campground, a peaceful little site nestled right next to the lake. Kintla Campground happens to be GNP’s most remote frontcountry and car camping campground.
Whether you’re looking to swim, paddle around or catch a trout, Kintla Lake is the place to be.
For me, the pebbly shoreline and crystal clear water provided the perfect sanctuary for an evening swim after a hot summer day.