The Bowman Lake to Quartz Lake Loop hiking trail located in Glacier National Park is a great full-day hike.
The trail starts from the southwest end of Bowman Lake which starts your hike off with an excellent view from the beginning. The trail skirts around the lake for a quarter-mile until you meet a split in the trail where you determine which direction you’d like to do the loop. We did the loop counterclockwise. Our direction took us south to ascend Quartz Ridge. The trail leading up the ridge takes you through a very lush and dense forest. Once you crest the ridge to the other side, the trail gets a bit dryer as it faces south and generally gets more sun.
You then descend down to Lower Quartz Lake. There were a few campsites at the south end of Lower Quartz Lake. The view was fairly flat with not many mountain views so we continued alongside Lower Quartz heading towards Middle Quartz. This section of the trail was very lush again and surprisingly humid when we did it in September. The trail appears to have been rerouted between the northeast east end of Lower Quartz and Middle Quartz Lake – so don’t be too alarmed if your map/GPS reads you aren’t on the trail in this section. The rerouted trail is very obvious.
We had a few glimpses of Middle Quartz but knew the main Quartz Lake was a short bit further with grand mountain views. We checked out the ranger station that had nails in the door which was the first we had seen (photo in slideshow). After lunch and a few photos, we continued the loop trail. We ascended up and back over Quartz Ridge. This part of the trail felt a bit overly meandering but could be due to us getting tired.
The great part about this hike is it begins with a lake, the middle point has a lake, and it ends with a lake! So we enjoyed the sunset colors on Rainbow Peak and surrounding mountains before heading back home.
Note: This hike is in Glacier National Park. Check current rules and regulations by visiting the Glacier National Park website.