Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

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Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby sbinco » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:32 pm

Hi folks...new to the forum, so please direct me to a different place here if I am inappropriately posting. I am interested in the current road conditions from Polebridge to both Bowman and Kintla. I am staying in Polebridge for a week starting Aug 2nd and was interested in kayaking on both of these lakes - driving a Subaru Outback, if that helps. Are these roads drivable in this vehicle? I know the road to Kintla is supposed to be a bit rough, and I am up for a couple hour drive....

Thanks!!
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby PeteE » Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:26 am

sbinco wrote:Hi folks...new to the forum, so please direct me to a different place here if I am inappropriately posting. I am interested in the current road conditions from Polebridge to both Bowman and Kintla. I am staying in Polebridge for a week starting Aug 2nd and was interested in kayaking on both of these lakes - driving a Subaru Outback, if that helps. Are these roads drivable in this vehicle? I know the road to Kintla is supposed to be a bit rough, and I am up for a couple hour drive....

Thanks!!


You'll be fine in a Subaru Outback. Subarus are very popular in this part of Montana. You'll see a lot of them here.
The road to both Kintla and Bowman Lakes is rough in places. Drive defensively. Some tight turns and blind up and downs.
I don't drive fast. Kintla is about 16 miles from Polebridge and takes me 45 minutes to an hour.
Bowman is about 7 miles and takes me 25-30 minutes.
Bowman allows boats to have motors under 10HP.
Kintla doesn't allow motors of any kind....if that makes a difference to you.

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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby Ear Mountain » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:09 am

I'll second Pete's comments. The roads to Bowman and Kintla are narrow in places and sometimes rough. If we've had a recent rain expect puddles; if dry expect dust. But your Subie will do fine on those roads. The best advice is to drive a little slower, especially at blind corners. Both lakes are good for kayaks.
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby dpratt » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:51 am

Those roads will be a piece of cake in an Outback. I've done them both in an economy rental car on a wet, muddy, sloppy day. It probably wasn't a good idea, but it is a great memory I'll never forget. Please don't tell the rental car company on me.....
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby sbinco » Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:26 pm

Thanks everyone.....this is all good information. I was on the west side back in 2012 and was able to take the kayak (inflatable) on about 11 miles of the north fork of the Flathead (getting out at Polebridge) but did not have time to get to Kintla or Bowman. If one only had one day, which would you pick? This may be a tough question......as Pete pointed out, no motors allowed on Kintla - this makes me want to go there first....but I have no idea how popular Bowman is with the motorized crowd or not - it is certainly closer and easier to get to. I did have someone at one point tell me Bowman has more dramatic scenery.....

Anyway, I will try to get both in while I am staying in Polebridge...thanks again for the driving advice!! Got new tires and a full size spare....and I will be in no hurry....

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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby MarxMN » Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:25 pm

If you only have one day it will be considerably quicker to get to Bowman than to Kintla.
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby Deb1741 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:48 pm

We were only at Bowman for one day to kayak so I can't say what the motorized boat traffic is like overall but on the day we were there the only motorized boat we saw in the water was a ranger's boat. He was out checking to make sure everyone had life jackets with them. The only thing we saw on the beach were kayaks and stand-up boards. Fantastic lake to kayak on. My trip report with pictures:
http://www.glacier.nationalparkschat.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8899

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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby dpratt » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:23 pm

If I could pick only one, I'd have to go with Kintla. I love the drive up there through open meadows and woods. The peaks in the backdrop are just jagged and awesome.

Don't get me wrong, Bowman is spectacular too.
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby sbinco » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:16 pm

Nice trip report Deb..Bowman looks fab....thanks for the link. I think I will have enough time to hit both lakes, weather cooperating. Going to start with Kintla, just because it's one of the main reasons I bought the kayak 5 years ago. Bowman will be next....might have to visit the Merc in between though.....thanks to all for the advice.
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby llholmes1948 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:45 pm

I also suggest you go to both lakes if at all possible but only after a leisurely stop at the Merc for coffee and bear claws. We did not see many motor boats at Bowman and didn't find that the few there damaged our experience at all. We found that we had ample time in our 2014 visit to drive from West Glacier to the Merc, and then on the Bowman (took a swim there) and after a few hours at Bowman we went on to Kintla.

This summer if we only had to do one I think I would go to Kintla because Ranger Lyle is back there again.

Hope you have a great trip and will post a report.

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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby PeteE » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:06 pm

I drove to Kintla yesterday. It took about an hour (from the Polebridge Ranger Station. Add 5 mins from the Mercantile) including maybe 10 minutes for stops. So I would plan on an hour were I you.
Polebridge Ranger Reggie Altop agrees that 45 minutes to an hour is a good estimate.
Ranger Lyle is indeed at Kintla this year :)
I would still do Kintla first.
Reggie said Bowman is ok in the mornings but can get busy as the day progresses.
I have a few pictures and video from yesterday that i'll post when i get home later today.
Three cars coming out passed me as i drove in. One was a close call :(
Later
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby sbinco » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:32 pm

Thanks Pete and Lyman....looks like the schedule will now accommodate a leisurely day each for Kintla and Bowman.....probably try to get out early for each to beat the crowds......and take a lunch.

Hey Pete...did you post your pics/video? Not sure which area to look in.....no hurry......how about now? :D
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby PeteE » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:06 pm

Hey!!
Sorry for the delay.
There are a few still pics here, on my comp, they're a page back from current page.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=9081&start=90

I have some video coming tonight.
I was sidetracked cause I may be buying a new(used) truck--a 2002 GMC Sierra SLE with topper :)
Squeeze turned 298,000 miles going to Kintla Lake.
Find out tomorrow if it passes muster with my mechanic guy.
Tentatively will be named "Big Squeeze" or BS.
So I'll have "Squeeze" and now "Big Squeeze"----- S & BS 8)

Video coming later.
I was up at Logan this evening.
Some goat pics of an old ragged Billie that walked around/past me pretty close on the Highline 8)
Maybe some decent Garden Wall pics


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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby PeteE » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:16 pm

Here's video clips of the last part of the road to Kintla Lake.
Not very good video but you'll get an idea of what the road is like once you leave the open prairie areas.
You will also see first hand where opposing traffic comes twice.
First time just as I turned into the trailhead for Kishenehn creek, a car comes from the other way.
Then on the twisty turny section nearing the BOU trailhead you'll see the camera go bonkers as a big pickup comes at me.
I chose to back down to a wide spot to let him go by.
So you really have to watch the road ahead for oncoming vehicles.

1minute
https://youtu.be/lxGiEFRQHY0
4 minutes (might still be loading; posting Friday AM)
https://youtu.be/ly-RlJnWOd4
3 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcixmcYQWHE
3minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzoD3UVwtv4
5minutes
https://youtu.be/1qsxMLnAy-U (loading at this time 11:15PM )

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Last edited by PeteE on Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Polebridge to Kintla and Bowman

Postby llholmes1948 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:32 am

Pete,

Those are great videos of the road. When we went to Kintla in mid-July 2014, I recall the road was much drier than it appears in your video and there were no significant wet spots. If I had encountered a spot where the road was covered with water as shown at the beginning of one tape, I would have stopped and instructed Carlene to wade through that spot and then come back to the car and let me know how deep it was and how soft the bottom was, but I didn't have to do that at any point.

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