Grinnell Glacier

The hike to Grinnell Glacier was one of my most favorite hikes ever.  It was also the longest at almost 12 miles.  I may have gotten some complaints later from certain family members that would prefer I keep our hikes to 8 miles or less. 🙂

We started at the Many Glacier Hotel which was designed to look like a Swiss Chalet.  It was absolutely gorgeous!  Unfortunately we couldn’t see much of the inside because the power was out when we got there that morning.  The hallways were very dark!  And even later that afternoon when we returned from our hike several hours later the power was still out!  I felt sorry for the people paying all that money to stay there with no power.


Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel is on Swiftcurrent Lake.  We walked along this lake to begin our hike.  There is a shuttle boat you can take from this point that will cut down on the miles of hiking to get to Grinnell Glacier if you don’t feel like hiking the entire 12 miles.  But oh no, not us!  We were going to hike the whole thing and not take the easy way. 🙂



Swiftcurrent Lake

Next the trail takes you along Lake Josephine.  The shuttle boat would drop you off at the other end of this lake.


Lake Josephine

Once we passed Lake Josephine and were on the trail towards Grinnell Lake we noticed this sign.  That’s always encouraging to see.  We actually did see one bear, but from a safe distance.


From here you can take a shorter hike that takes you along the shoreline of Grinnell Lake (which is gorgeous by the way) or take the longer hike up to Grinnell Glacier.  From the hike up to the Glacier you get a beautiful view of Grinnell Lake down below.



Grinnell Lake



Then it’s a steady climb the rest of the way up to the glacier.



We saw a bear playing down below.  He looked so cute from our relatively safe spot up above.


Finally we made it to Grinnell Glacier, and it was incredible!  There were even a few small icebergs floating around in the water.


Grinnell Glacier


It was pretty cold up there so we didn’t stick around very long.  I would have liked to have stayed a lot longer and just enjoyed the view, especially after how long it took us to get there, but everyone was cold and hungry.  We brought a picnic lunch but wanted to hike back down a little bit to where it was a little warmer before eating.


As we were hiking back down I was surprised to see all this lush vegetation and greenery way up where it was so cold even in August.


At this point we could see all 3 lakes that we passed on the way up: Grinnell Lake is the closest, then Lake Josephine and lastly Swiftcurrent Lake way off in the distance.  Knowing we had to hike all the way back there was a little disheartening just then!


But eventually we made it back and I still think it was the best hike we’ve ever done.

The weekend we did this hike we stayed at the East Glacier/St. Mary KOA.  They have a heated pool and hot tub and we really enjoyed that once we got back.  We also worked up quite an appetite and enjoyed a delicious pizza at Rising Sun pizza that night.  There is just something so satisfying about accomplishing such an amazing hike and then having a well earned yummy dinner that night.

Categories: Montana, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Grinnell Glacier

  1. Ok, I’m convinced, I will have to put this on our ‘must do’ list. It looks beautiful! Phew, 12 miles though, we will have to be ready for that one. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m still bummed that we missed this one, but so happy that you and your family were able to do it! Beautiful photos; the hike looks every bit as gorgeous as I’d imagined. The wildflowers look especially pretty. Happy to be able to experience it vicariously through you! Ooh, and pizza at Rising Sun sounds perfect–will have to check that one out next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the best hikes I’ve ever gone on, too! I love Glacier and most of its trails. Some great photos there, too. Glad you had a great hike. Reading it makes me want to go back and hike it for a third time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really appreciate this post! So very helpful! We are bringing our 4 month old and my husband and I don’t plan to hike far and hard hikes so this is very helpful for our trip to GNP! We get there in about a week! I cannot wait! We will do all of the hikes mentioned!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I’m glad this post was helpful to you! We saw a couple with a small baby in a backpack carrier on this hike. She was so cute and they said she slept most of the way. I was thinking it would be hard doing that hike carrying a baby, but they seemed to be doing just fine. They said someday that baby would be as old as our kids and they would take her back to do the hike again. Enjoy your time at Glacier! I loved it there!


  5. Love your pictures it makes me want to go back!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Glacier National Park | 4 Radical Roadschoolers and a Fat Cat

  7. Pingback: The Best Hikes in Glacier National Park With Kids – Avventure

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