Accommodations and Food
There isn’t much to say about lodgings in the North Fork, except that Polebridge’s North Fork Hostel and Square Peg Ranch (406/888-5241 or 406/253-4321, www.nfhostel.com, closed March, $15 dorm bed, $45 cabin, $80 log home) is a great place for a budget traveler or anyone with a relaxed sense of sociability. Lights and kitchen appliances are powered by propane, wood stoves provide the heat, guests come prepared with sleeping bags and food, and the outhouse is plastered with reading material. The hostel rents mountain bikes, canoes, skis, and snowshoes, and sometimes can, with advance notice, arrange a $50 shuttle from the Amtrak stop in West Glacier.
The Northern Lights Saloon and Café is nearby and offers light meals and drinks.
The other place to stay in town, the Polebridge Mercantile (406/888-5105, cabins $30–35, tepees $20), is not much more expensive and no fancier than the hostel. Anyplace else, these propane-powered cabins would be the really cool place in town to stay, but here they’ve got strong competition from the hostel. Either way, bring a sleeping bag or bedding and basic cooking utensils; don’t even bother with a hair dryer or travel iron. The bakery in the Mercantile is a great place for specialty breads, pastries, sandwiches, and coffee.
During the summer, the café next to the mercantile is worth a stop for its conviviality and good food.
The Northern Lights (406/888-5669, dinner nightly Memorial Day–Labor Day, dinner about $10–12) pours beer as well as coffee and is a comfortable Polebridge hangout: It’s the only restaurant for miles around, which means it can get crowded—in midsummer, come prepared for a wait.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition