The Hidden Meadow trail in Glacier National Park is an out and back which accesses a picturesque meadow and pond in the North Fork area of the park. Loons and swans are typically seen at the pond and views of the Whitefish range provide a scenic backdrop to the water as viewed from the meadow. The trail is suitable for rear-driven handcycles and some assistance or the ability to dismount and remount the handcycle will be required in order to cross a narrow bridge.
The trail begins from a pullout along the Inside North Fork road south of Polebridge and begins a moderate climb through a Lodgepole pine forest. The trees here are tall enough to provide some shade, but the forest has not yet reached full maturity so wildflowers including Purple Lupine and Indian Paintbrush are plentiful along the first portion of the trail.
After an initial climb the trail levels out somewhat, continuing to meander in a generally eastward direction. At approximately 1.0 miles into the trail, a small bridge over a stream is encountered. The bridge is approximately two two-by-eights wide so assistance or the ability to dismount and remount the wheelchair / handcycle will be required.
After crossing this stream the trail turns narrow and brushy but remains passable. At approximately 1.2 miles the meadows open up. From here the trail continues another 0.1 miles to a small clearing where several community trails branch off. From this elevated position the rider has sweeping views of Hidden Meadow with the Whitefish Range providing a dramatic backdrop to the east. At this point the rider has ascended approximately 220 feet.
The return follows the same trail in reverse, although this time the majority of the trail is downhill, making for an easy return to your vehicle.
Trail Name: Hidden Meadow Trail – Glacier National Park
Location: Polebridge, Montana |
Type: Narrow trail (< 30"), Start and end at the same point (Out-and-Back)
Rating: Adaptive Level 05
Steepest Section: Moderate – between 10-30º
Most Off-Camber Section: Mild – under 10º
Terrain: Mostly hardpack, minimal loose sections
Obstacles: Root exposure, Brush and/or other growth, Baby heads and/or rock gardens, Drops, ledges, jumps, Water crossings
Help Needed? Yes, a little
Even more info: Time lapse of Hidden Meadow
Directions to Trailhead
From the Polebridge entrance station to Glacier National Park turn south on the Inside North Fork road approximately 3 miles. The trailhead is not marked from the road, but a small pullout area with parking for 3 or 4 cars, and a brown metal sign about 30 feet off the road will mark the start of the trail.