Inside North Fork Road – Glacier National Park
The Inside North Fork Road in Glacier National Park runs for over 20 miles between Fish Creek campground and the Polebridge entrance station. A portion of this road spanning approximately 10.5 miles between the Camas Creek trailhead and Logging Creek campground has been closed to vehicles for several years due to washouts and therefore it provides a great opportunity for some mountain biking within the boundaries of Glacier. The road is suitable for either front or rear driven handcycles, although some sections are so steep that tremendous effort or an extremely low gearing ratio will be needed to get a front driven handcycle up them. For this reason the road may best be done as a one way trip starting from the southern end at Camas Creek trailhead and finishing at Logging Creek campground if a rider can arrange a dropoff and pickup.
Starting from the Camas Creek trailhead the road makes a moderate climb for the first 0.7 miles over loose rocky terrain. The park service solution to erosion along this road has been to dump large amounts of tennis-ball sized rocks to a depth of several inches. From here the road descends steeply and then moderately to the 1.5 mile mark before another moderate climb that peaks around 2.0 miles into the ride. At this point the road descends 280 feet over the next mile to a bridge crossing of Trout Creek.
Leaving Trout Creek behind the trail begins a tiring climb to the 4.4 mile mark at the crest between Trout and Anaconda Creeks. The next mile descends steeply to a bridge crossing of Anaconda Creek at approximately 5.5 miles. Shortly after this bridge crossing however Anaconda creek backtracks and washes out the road. It is an approximately 3 feet drop from the roadbed to the creekbed and a rider can follow in the creek (depths range from about 2-10 inches) for approximately 300 yards downstream until the water spreads out and the roadbed again becomes passable.
From this point the road continues the remaining miles across small hills and descents through primarily young forest that burned in forest fires of 2003. Intermittent stands of mature trees including an impressive collection of old growth Ponderosa Pines at around the 6.6 mile mark provide sporadic shade. As one gets closer to Logging Creek campground the forest thickens again. Several small washouts just before reaching Logging Creek ranger station and campground should pose minimal difficulty for a rider who has managed to make it this far.
Logging Creek campground sits alongside the appropriately named Logging Creek and makes a great place to stop for lunch and (hopefully) await your ride back. For adventurous riders, the return ride to Camas Creek trailhead will include both getting up the ledge at the Anaconda Creek washout, and several arm-burning climbs up from the drainages of Anaconda and Trout Creeks.
Trail Name: Inside North Fork Road – Glacier National Park
Location: West Glacier, Montana | Map
Type: Wide trail (≥ 30″), Start and end at the same point (Out-and-Back)
Rating: Adaptive Level 06
Steepest Section: Difficult – over 30º
Most Off-Camber Section: Mild – under 10º
Terrain: Mostly hardpack, lengthy loose sections
Obstacles: Deep ruts and erosion, Baby heads and/or rock gardens, Ravines, drop-ins, Drops, ledges, jumps, Water crossings
Help Needed? Yes, a little
Directions to Trailhead
From Fish Creek Campground drive up the Inside North Fork road approximately 6.5 miles to the road gate at Camas Creek trailhead.