Numa Ridge Lookout Trail
Numa Ridge Lookout, Glacier National Park
Numa Ridge Lookout Trail
Trailhead: Bowman Lake Campground
Distance: 5.6 miles (one way)
Elevation Gain: 2,930 vertical feet
The Numa Ridge Lookout Trail is located in the North Fork Area of Glacier National Park. The trail initially follows the north shore of Bowman Lake along the Bowman Lake Trail for about a mile, then you'll see a well marked trail that heads off to the left. You will be at the lookout in about 5 miles and nearly 3,000 vertical feet later!
The Numa Ridge Lookout in Glacier National Park rests on Numa Ridge at 6,960 feet above sea level. From this lookout, you will get a great view of Square Peak, Rainbow Peak and Mount Carter, which are all remote giants of the Livingston Range of Glacier Park. You will also get an excellent view of Bowman Lake which is nearly 3,000 vertical feet below you.
Finding The Trailhead
The trailhead to the Numa Ridge Lookout is located near the Bowman Lake Campground. To reach to Bowman Lake you must first drive 25 miles along the west side of Glacier National Park to the Polebridge Ranger Station.
To reach the Polebridge Ranger Station, take a right at Apgar Village and keep going past the junction for the Fish Creek Campground. This nicely paved road, known as the Camas Road, lasts about 11 miles. Once you cross the North Fork of the Flathead River, you will then take another right onto the mostly unpaved Outside North Fork Road for about 14 miles. Just about a half mile beyond the historic Polebridge Mercantile is the Polebridge Ranger Station, which is the northwest entrance to Glacier National Park.
Once you enter Glacier National Park at the Polebridge Ranger Station, in about 0.3 miles you will see the Bowman Lake Road junction. Take a right and drive six miles up the rough gravel road as it climbs in elevation while working its way to Bowman Lake.
The trailhead to the Numa Ridge Lookout is located on north end of the main beach of Bowman Lake, just beyond the parking area. The name of the trail that you will begin your Glacier Park hiking adventure on is actually called the Bowman Lake Trail. There are signs showing you exactly where to go once you park at the backcountry parking lot that's next to the Bowman Lake Campground.
The Hike to Numa Ridge Lookout....
The Bowman Lake Trail will take you along the north shore of Bowman Lake for a little less than a mile (0.7 miles), which is where the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail begins, heading left off of the Bowman Lake Trail. The trail heads sharply uphill for the next 5 miles, and you will gain nearly 3,000 vertical feet in elevation. Due to this vertical gain, we highly recommend that you do not attempt this Glacier National Park hike unless you are in good physical condition.
This is the classic view of Bowman Lake from the main beach at the foot of the lake. You can see where the Numa Ridge Lookout is located to Shannon's left. The Bowman Lake Trail trailhead is located just about 100 yards to the left of Shannon (north).
Bowman Lake Trail Trailhead (mile 0.0)
Located along the north end of the large beach at Bowman Lake, this is where your Glacier Park hiking adventure begins. The trail follows the lake shore of Bowman Lake, and at mile 0.7, you will encounter the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail Junction. The hike to this junction is quite flat, so enjoy it while it lasts... because once you reach the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail, it's all uphill from there!!!
Numa Ridge Lookout Trail Junction (mile 0.7)
In a little less than a mile (0.7 miles), you will reach the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail junction. This trail shoots off to the left (north) of the Bowman Lake Trail, and as we mentioned before, the rest of your hike to the Numa Ridge Lookout is all uphill from here on out.
The Numa Ridge Lookout Trail works its way up the south slope of the massive Numa Ridge, and each step you will be gaining in elevation. Most of this hike is forested, but you will begin to see some nice vistas the higher you get. Eventually the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail will lead you to Numa Ridge, where it then continues eastward along the ridge top until you reach the Numa Ridge Lookout.
Numa Ridge Lookout (mile 5.6)
The view from the Numa Ridge Lookout is quite nice. You will get unique views of several giants of the remote Livingston Range such as Rainbow Peak, Square Peak and Mount Carter. Numa Peak is actually blocked by Numa Ridge, but you will get a great view of Bowman Lake to the west, which is lying 3,000 vertical feet below you. Obviously the Numa Ridge Lookout is a great place to enjoy your lunch as you take in the beauty of your surroundings.
From the Numa Ridge Lookout in Glacier National Park, you will enjoy very unique views of some of the remote giants of the Livingston Range, such as Rainbow Peak and Mount Carter.
Numa Ridge Lookout, Glacier National Park.
Suggestion: Bring Water!
There is absolutely no water available on the hike to Numa Ridge Lookout, so you'll have to pack your own water...
And a water filter won't help because there are no sources of water once you leave Bowman Lake.
Because you are hiking on a southern slope, the sun can really heat things up, and you'll be amazed at how much water you'll need on a hot summer day.
And due to the significant vertical elevation gain, you will be needing plenty of water all the way up to avoid dehydration.