• Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    12.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1000 Feet

Picnic Area

One of the lesser explored lakes in Glacier National Park with sweeping views, lots of camp grounds (both primitive and pull-in) and great fly fishing.

* The road to this trailhead/lake is closed during the winter. 

Kintla Lake is one of the lesser explored lakes in Glacier National Park. Located on the west side of the park, it is accessible via a unpaved road from the Polebridge Ranger Station. From the Ranger Station, take a LEFT and continue along the road for 14.3 miles. You will pass over multiple rivers and through two prairies. Make sure you have a 4x4 SUV or vehicle with high clearance, if not, you will be snaking along at 5mph and it will take about 45 minutes to drive the 14 miles to the foot of the lake. From the Apgar Vistor Center it will take about an hour and a half.

Once you are to the foot of the lake there are a lot of things you can do. We explored around the little campground, which was full of local families, and then we did some fly fishing.

For fly fishing you can scope out the lake and pick your own area but if you want to do what we did, follow the footbridge to the right of the lake (right of the lake if you’re in the campground looking out at the lake) and you’ll come around the lake and see a few footpaths down to the edge. This is a great place to fish because the lake rushes out into Kintla Creek.

You can also go hiking. To the left of the lake (left if you’re in the campground looking out at the lake) you can follow the footpath around the lake following Boulder Pass Trail along the lake. At the other end of the lake is the primitive campground, Kintla Lake Head Campground (KIN), and it takes 6.3 miles one way to get there.

On your way back out be sure to stop at the Polebridge Mercantile in town (you can’t miss it, it’s the big red building in town) and grab some fresh pastries and coffee!

For more information on car camping at Kintla Lake go here

Pack List

  • A vehicle that can make it to the lake

If hiking:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Bear spray
  • Extra layers
  • Camera
  • First aid kit

If backpacking:

  • Backcountry permit (campground KIN)
  • Water
  • Food
  • Sleeping bag of appropriate temperature rating for time of year
  • Tent
  • Water filtration system
  • First aid kit
  • Backpacking stove (do not make campfires unless no fire ban in effect, keep fires to designated fire rings)
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Jess Fischer Explorer

A little adventurer with a big love for the great outdoors.

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