Numa Ridge Lookout – 2024

A lovely flower and bird-filled forested ridge takes you up to a perch where Numa Ridge Lookout gives striking views of Bowman Lake and craggy summits like Rainbow Peak. We headed up to the lookout to do a bighorn sheep/mountain goat survey as part of Glacier National Park’s citizen science project and spied two goats near the lookout.

The previous week, we hiked up and over Quartz Ridge to do some loon surveys for citizen science. This trip, we went up the opposing ridge across Bowman Lake to climb up Numa Ridge to the Numa Ridge Lookout and look for Bighorn Sheep (not super likely) and Mountain Goats (more likely).

After a brief visit to the foot of Bowman Lake with its morning, glassy surface reflecting the stunning mountains behind it, we headed along the Bowman Lake Trail along its northwestern edge. The turquoise lake sparkled through the trees giving us occasional views. Flowers poked out amongst the fresh foliage while birds such as Swainson’s Thrushes and Western Tanagers sang and called from all around.

It didn’t take long to reach the junction with the Numa Ridge Lookout Trail which we took and began climbing up the ridge. Tall trees with a high canopy, and wonderful tall, deciduous trees/shrubs such as maple, birch, and alder make for great habitat for warblers, sparrows, tanagers, etc which kept the songs of the forest going while we gradually climbed up the ridge.

After a bit of climbing, the trail gently descended to a saddle where a pond sits. Thankfully, the mosquitos weren’t out in full force yet, so it was an uneventful traverse (although we did have a few downed trees). Just past that, we began the ascent in earnest. Wetter forests gave way to drier forests. The flowers changed as did the trees. Views looking down at Bowman Lake began to appear and the pond that we skirted became visible.

As the trees got shorter, the views continued to improve. A long stretch of trail wrapped around the ridge giving stunning views of Rainbow Peak and further up the Bowman Creek drainage. A few switchbacks later and the lookout was in sight (and looked closer than it actually was). The switchbacks got shorter and we had to step over a small patch of lingering snow, but we finally made it to the lookout with its sprawling views.

Upon arrival at the lookout, we spied a mountain goat… and then another! We went up onto the lookout to have lunch when a tick was spotted on my pant leg. Not cool. I looked a the mountain goats and saw that they had many ticks on them… some of the engorged. Gross! We felt bad for those guys swishing their heads from the flies and having ticks cling to them as their winter coats were gradually sloughing off of them.

The temperature was perfect with a light breeze and the sun shining on us. The air was clear and the mountains, still holding onto their winter snowpack glistened above us. We had a survey to do and then a climb back to the car, so we put our food bags back in our packs.

After lunch, we headed up the ridge a little bit, where the goats had been, to the actual survey location. We spent an hour surveying the surrounding hillsides for additional goats. While we surveyed, we began to notice ticks crawling up our legs and the legs of the tripod! Yikes!

We carefully packed up our stuff and got out of there as quick as we could, convinced that they were more intense here because of the goats. We ended up checking each other many times as we headed down the mountain, finding more. Deinfitely gave us the heeby jeebies!

Aside from the ticks, it was a beautiful day and we got to see some goats. Numa Ridge Lookout is a great hike early in the season as it melts out fairly quickly due to its southwestern exposure. And those views!

Numa Ridge Lookout

Get our sweet newsletter!

(and your free “10 Insider Tips for Glacier”)



2 responses to “Numa Ridge Lookout – 2024”

  1. Rosanna Morris Avatar
    Rosanna Morris

    Wonderful story, except the ticks. They’re bad this year, I’ve had 75.

  2. Kathy Ries Avatar
    Kathy Ries

    Question: Do you use any products to try to keep ticks off? Hiking in the mid-west where we live, we use Deep Woods Off to spray our hiking boots (that have been waterproofed), socks, legs and our pants below the knee to avoid ticks from creeping up. When we go on our hiking vacations, we do the same. Didn’t have trouble with ticks in Glacier when we hiked there for 10 days in September or at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in May. I appreciate your insight, knowledge and experience! Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.