The trail for the Quartz Lakes begins at the foot of Bowman Lake in the northwest corner of the park and follows its south shore. It crosses over Quartz Ridge at two locations making for a nice loop that can be done as one big 13 mile day hike or a two day trip with an overnight spent at either Quartz Lake or Lower Quartz Lake. These beautiful wooded lakes are nestled into a nice remote valley and give you an opportunity to see a nice variety of flowers and birds that you’d expect to find in evergreen forests and mountain lakes such as chickadees, thrushes, ospreys and loons. Maybe even drop a fishing line in as well.
Along the Inside North Fork Road in Glacier National Park lies a creek called Quartz Creek that drains from a chain of lakes similarly named (Quartz, Middle Quartz, Lower Quartz). This trail isn’t as well maintained or as popular as the Quartz Lake Loop trail, but is still nice nonetheless.
It is relatively level and bounces from meadows to treed areas and starts out in an old burn area and is essentially an old road leading up to a cabin in a meadow called Cummings Meadow. Beyond the cabin, it turns into a single-track trail and continues that way getting into a more dense forest until you ford the creek, cruise for about a mile and then find yourself in the campground at Lower Quartz at the foot of the lake.
Overall a nice walk and quiet one in this less frequented area of the park. Note that the trail does receive less attention and the creek roars in the springtime which can make for more adventure than you might realize.
14 responses to “Quartz Lake Loop and Quartz Creek”
Not to be overly negative, but this was probably our least favorite family hike in Glacier- a 13 mile buggy walk through the woods that only opened up when we were near the lakes. The loons are a bonus (you really don’t see that many loons in Glacier) plus a fool’s grouse that was so foolish we actually walked up and touched it.
But as they say, a bad day in Glacier is better than the best day at the office.
Ha! Well I have a friend that loves that trip… but I’m in your camp. I was definitely ready to be back at the car on this one. I struggled with a lot of the North Fork because it is a lot of hiking in trees. I think it is more enjoyable in the fall because it has less bugs, dries up the mud and the colors are out of control. Anyway, I concur. 😉
I liked it. Billy also liked it. There was one stretch where there was a bit of a workout if I remember right..
I believe your memory is correct… maybe even two spots. 😉
DEFINITELY pre-hydrate and carry 1 1/2–2 liters, DEFINITELY do the lower ridge crossing first (steeper grade), and DEFINITELY start early—8 AM or earlier. Great views from the ridge and south-facing slope, not so much along the north-facing slopes. A real baker climbing the south slopes after 2 PM. I always see and hear the loons at Middle Quartz. Yearly hike for decades. Road to Bowman is max 5-10 MPH….no kidding.
Thanks for the input Andy! That fire really made that ridge an exposed one. I wish that there was an easier way to get shuttled around as I wouldn’t be opposed to a hike out Quartz Creek to avoid the afternoon sun. 😉
Climbing the ridge WAS a workout….. but in my book worth it. We did have to eat our lunch out on a bridge to avoid bugs.
I’ll be updating this blog a little bit in the next few days as I need to add Quartz Creek to it. I agree with you on the bugs. The fish have a lot to feed on in this area. 😉
I suppose that cabin is locked and not available to crash in?? Lovely photos anyway. Hope to do the Numa Creek? Trail? in a few weeks, based on your descriptions here. 🙂
Ha! Well in hindsight I think that is private property and I probably was categorically trespassing, but I didn’t see any signs. I think that I need to meet the owners and they need to deed it over to me in their will in appreciation for my videos… what do you think? 😉
That’s my cabin in Cumming’s Meadow! Thanks for the video.
I’m set for this hike in August 18/19 doing it as an over night are the bugs so bad that we wont enjoy the hike?
I think you’ll be great! The bugs are worse earlier in July. Not saying there won’t be any, but it will definitely not be “I want to die” status. 😉