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