Start at Bowman Campground on Glacier National Park’s west side and hike northwest to a small saddle on Numa Ridge. At mile 1.5, the trail dips down for a brief descent, passing seasonal wildflowers and beargrass, then climbs back up to a shoulder above a glacier-carved valley. From here, it’s a .8-mile descent through stands of lodgepole pines to the banks of Akokala Creek. The trail turns right onto Akokala Lake Trail at mile 3.4 and follows the creek to the northeast up the valley. Akokala Lake comes into view 2.1 miles later—bushwhack to the lake’s southern shore for views of sheer-walled peaks. Pitch your tent at the lake’s campsite or turn around and follow the same route back to the trailhead.
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Glacier National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.
MORE PARK INFO: Glacier National Park, (406) 888-7800; nps.gov/glac/.
-GPS data provided by the National Park Service
TO TRAILHEAD: From Kalispell, MT, take MT 35 E to MT 206 N to US 2 E to West Glacier. Turn left onto Going to the Sun Hwy. In 2 miles, turn left onto Camas Rd. In 11.7 miles, turn right onto MT 486. In 13.2 miles, turn right onto Polebridge Loop. In .3 mile, turn left to stay on Polebridge Loop. In .7 mile, continue on Glacier Dr. In 1 mile, turn right onto Bowman Lake Rd. Follow 5.5 miles to parking at Bowman Campground.