Forget about the summer rush with a laid-back hike to beautiful Poia Lake

Story & photography by Greg Lindstrom

An autumn trip to Poia Lake in Glacier National Park offers a relaxed escape from the hurry-up mindset of summer. After your visitors leave and your schedule clears, pack up the essentials for an overnight backpack to a pristine mountain lake in the Crown Jewel of the Continent.

The 6.4-mile hike to the lake is a relatively easy one, departing from the aspen groves of Many Glacier Valley and climbing slightly over Swiftcurrent Ridge before descending into Kennedy Creek Valley. The final approach features views of cascading falls along Kennedy Creek before reaching the campground at the southeastern corner of the lake.

Take a moment to reflect at the pebble beach on the south end of the lake, enjoying views of Apikuni Mountain to the south and Yellow Mountain to the northeast, where the changing foliage overpowers the rugged landscape. Or continue exploring the falls along Kennedy Creek. The thundering sound of backcountry water will help clear the rumbling summer traffic from your memory.

Getting there The trailhead for Poia Lake is located in the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park. Two miles east of Many Glacier Hotel, look for a parking area on the north side of the road with signs for Apikuni Falls. The hike begins along the Red Gap Pass Trail, located toward the east end of the parking area. A backcountry permit is required to camp at the lake.