Bowman Lake, Montana: Peace and Quiet in the Glacier National Park

Bowman Lake is a natural freshwater lake located in the North-Western part of the 12th largest natural reserve of the United States, Glacier National Park. It is especially attractive for those seeking solitude, undisturbed surroundings and a picturesque place to take photos.

Bowman Lake Stats

Lake NameBowman Lake
CountryUnited States
Surface area6.960
Maximum depth77.0
Average depth31.6
Lake typeNatural
Catchment area111.90
InflowsVarious streams
OutflowsBowman Creek
Shore length22.21
Residence time1576.4
Trophic stateOligotrophic
Average discharge1.614

Bowman Lake Accommodation

A Very Picturesque Lake

The smooth lake with crystal-clear water has oftentimes been compared to the largest and most popular lake of the national park, Lake McDonald, only it is far less crowded, therefore offering a more peaceful location for all travelers.

Stretching in deep between the peaks of the Livingston Mountain Range, it almost seems like the mountains are rising straight from the body of water. Besides these peaks, Bowman Lake is also surrounded by lush green forests, offering a picture-perfect spectacle for every photography enthusiast.

Recreation and Activities

The adventurous souls will be happy to hear that most of the scenic hiking trails in Glacier National Park start at/go through Bowman Lake, providing easy access to some of the most beautiful parts of the reserve. Just remember to make noise while trekking, to prevent a surprise run-in with a local bear.

Water sports fans can also have a great time kayaking/canoeing on Lake Bowman. Unfortunately, at the moment there aren’t any rental companies on site, so visitors must bring their own equipment. Small motorized boats below 10 horsepower are also allowed on the lake. Though the crystalline water looks very tempting, it is important to be aware of the fact that the lake is fed by melted snow and is quite cold even during the summer months.


On the shore of Lake Bowman there is a small, uncrowded campground, with 48 camping sites, pit toilets, potable water obtained through water spigots and a parking area. Don’t forget to bring your bug spray, because the site is usually packed with mosquitos.

To reach the campsite, one must travel through a 6-mile long, unpaved, dusty and bumpy road from the small community of Polebridge, where you can buy provisions one last time before getting on the road leading to this remote gem. The path is challenging and narrow, but the road is very drivable, though not recommended for low-down cars, RVs and truck-trailer combinations.


Since the lake is so cold, considerable populations of large fish cannot be found. But before the fisherman in you starts to get too sad, you should know that there are smaller fish such as the cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon and the occasional large bull trout. And if you’re looking for a larger catch, you can always hike to the nearest lake which has a more appealing fish stock.

The lake area and its surroundings gave home to the Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai Nations before explorers, merchants and trappers took over the place at the start of the 1800s. The name Bowman is actually believed to come from Fred Bowman, one of the famous trappers who arrived in the state in the second part of 19th century.

Bowman Lake Map