The area of Glacier National Park that runs along the North Fork of the Flathead is stunningly beautiful country any time of year, but the stark cold and short days of winter lend a wild edge that isn’t always there in the summer. The road inside the park that runs along the North Fork is closed in the winter, but you can travel up the county road on the west side of the river, stop at the bridge over the river and ski into the park along the unplowed road. One of these days I hope to ski the fifteen mile round trip from the park entrance to Bowman Lake. It would take an early start, and the weather would have to be just right….but I think I could do it. Didn’t do it this trip, though. But there’s no need for extra long trips when the scenery is incredible the minute you step out of the car.
The area of the park around Lake McDonald feels softer, with more of a human presence all year long. The lake creates its own weather, and snowshoeing through the trees along the lake and McDonald Creek feels like you’ve entered the forest primeval.
We snowshoed a mile or so up the Sperry Glacier Trail, then headed back down and followed the lakeshore to the head of Lake MacDonald. It was a long day, but so worth every moment.