Grinnell Glacier Trail, Glacier National Park

Date: June 30, 2011
Distance: ~5 mi (8 km) one way to the glacier

Grinnell Lake from the Grinnell Glacier Trail

The Grinnell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana is a popular hike to one of the park's most famous glaciers.  The trail begins at the trailhead at the northwest corner of Swiftcurrent Lake or at Swiftcurrent Lake Lodge.  It continues a short distance and follows the shores of Lake Josephine as it begins to gain elevation.

Swiftcurrent Lake

You can take a boat across Swiftcurrent Lake, hike to Lake Josephine, and then take a boat across this lake as well.  Doing so provides easier access to Grinnell Lake, but this trail doesn't lead to the glacier.  A cutoff trail leads from the last boat launch to the Grinnell Glacier Trail, but it is fairly steep, although only for a short distance.

Lake Josephine

The day of my hike started off with a little rain, but as I gained elevation in the valley the rain was at times very strong and windy.  About a mile and a half below the glacier, the trail was unexpectedly closed because of a little snow.  This was very disappointing after hiking all the way up there, but the views were still great.  However, by the time I turned around the rain had died down some, and I saw two bighorn sheep a short distance off the trail.

Grinnell Lake

After I arrived back at the shore of Lake Josephine I thought that I would hike up to Grinnell Lake, but the trail and boardwalk along the upstream side of the lake were about a foot under water.  The trail all along the lake had a lot of bear scat on it, and some people I passed said that there were two grizzlies on the trail a short ways down, but I did not see them on my way out.  I then did another hike to Redrock Lake and falls.

Glacier lily

The winter prior to my visit had been one of the snowiest ever, and with all of the snowmelt and rain there were waterfalls and cascades all over the place along the Grinnell Glacier Trail.

Between Lake Josephine and Grinnell Lake




© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.





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