Grinnell Glacier Hike

August 17, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

The main hike I wanted to do and the biggest reason Glacier National Park was on my bucketlist for so long is the trail in Many Glacier on the East side of the park to Grinnell Glacier. I did not only want to see a Glacier but I wanted to touch it! Leading up to our trip the trail had closed due to Grizzly bear activity. We had Iceberg Lake as a back up but I relentlessly kept checking the park website for trail closures and just before we took off it re-opened! Grinnell Glacier is arguably the best hike in the park, and after experiencing it for myself I have to agree. 11.2 miles out and back with a 2181 ft. elevation gain. In total we hiked just over 13 miles. We did spend a good 2 hours at Upper Grinnell Lake climbing around and actually walking on the melting glacier shores. It was otherworldly. I could have spent an entire day just at the top but it is a long, tough hike and by no means do you want to be caught out on the trail at night as the Grizzlies were still active. The hike begins at Many Glacier hotel and meanders around Swiftcurrent Lake, then around Lake Joesphine. Once past there the elevation gains start. You will also hike past the gorgeous blue Grinnell Lake and then through one of the many waterfalls along the lake to Upper Grinnell Lake. The waterfall is located on the cliff edge and you are going to get wet and it is freezing cold but on a hot summer day it cools you off and keeps you cool the rest of the way up, and of course does the same on the way down. I was pretty nervous about passing through the falls on such a narrow and steep pass. It is no small waterfall either. It is like walking through Amicalola Falls after a good rain, but colder. Luckily it is not slippery. Everything about this was breathtaking. Wildflowers, wildlife and views for days, even with the smoke haze from the wildfires.

Many Glacier hotel sits alongside Swiftcurrent Lake. There is a scenic boat tour available that cuts off about 3 miles from the hike but we did not take it. There is also kayak rentals on a first come first serve basis. The Hotel is gorgeous and if I ever go back I will stay here. Alpine inspired and fits perfectly into the setting.

Spot the ground squirrell

I hope you get a sense of how roughed the trail is from these pictures.

It is hard to even believe this color of blue exists!

Looking back at the trail

The famous Beargrass


On our way back we saw a moose in Lake Josephine. We had seen a momma and baby entering the park. I have a feeling that all my future hikes will be compared against this one. By far the best one I have ever done, maybe one of the hardest as well, though Custer still holds the trophy for that- for now.



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