Not very many people know about this trail, and it’s a real gem! It’s actually a spur trail that starts about 1 mile from Granite Park Chalet on the Highline Trail, (you can also reach this lookout via the loop trail that leads up to the Granite Park Chalet).
The trail is about 1 mile from the Highline Trail to the top of the overlook, but trust me, 1 mile never seemed so long! Something about the steepness or possibly that you’ve already hiked 7 miles to get there, but this shoot to the top can be taxing, especially in hot weather.
The Highline Trail runs along the Garden Wall which you will see on your drive up the Going to the Sun Road to Logan’s Pass in Glacier National Park. The Grinnell Overlook Trail takes you on a shoot right to the top of that wall! On the other side, you’ll see down into the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park with a fantastic view of Grinnell Glacier, (of course).
The above photo is what you can see when you first reach the overlook – with views of Grinnell Glacier and Grinnell Lake. If you hike just 10-15 minutes farther up to the right, the views will take you breath away because you can see twice as much (refer to the photo below)! From the higher lookout point, you see Grinnell Glacier, Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine, and Swiftcurrent Lake – the entire mountain corridor comes into view!
As you can see in the above photograph, as you make your way upwards it’s sheer cliffs to your left – so if you find yourself leading that direction, steer right. Walking up a little further is totally safe as long as you never venture near the cliffs! It’s also a great place to get out of the wind for a bit, and eat some lunch. Contrary to what you might think the wind dies down as you go upwards – it’s worst at the lookout because it’s a mountain saddle.
Here we are eating my Mediterranean Pasta Salad at the top of the world!
We watched so many people pass this extra trail up in favor of continuing to the chalet. Some even asked us if it’s worth it, to which we replied ‘yes it’s so worth it!!!’ and even with a recommendation people chose to keep going because they were on a time crunch and already tired – so be sure to start early in the day for this one! This is definitely one of the best views I’ve ever seen, and it’s not to be missed if you’re coming to Glacier National Park!
8 thoughts on “Grinnell Glacier Overlook”
Kari, these photographs are breathtaking. Thank you for sharing your experience…my husband and I (a very long time ago) had the pleasure of visiting Lake Louise, and your photos are taking me right back. Stunning. Pinned to my Bucket List Adventures!
If you’ve been to Lake Louise, be sure to check out our Canada category because we did a 3 week trip in that area last fall that you might be interested in! There’s so much beauty in the Rocky Mountains, I don’t think we’ll ever come to the end of it! 🙂
Oh, I will definitely check that out! Wonderful…
Hope you enjoy it, we can’t wait to go back because we feel like we missed so much! The Banff to Jasper area is so large with so many amazing sites to see! 🙂
Great post Kari, I love every single picture: AMAZING!
PS hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving! 🙂
Thanks Mike I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and we had a great Thanksgiving (no mountain adventures but plenty of good food)!
Yes the view is worth the extra effort! I tried just to focus on the trail going up so it isn’t so daunting. I catch all the views I missed going down. If you stay at the chalet be sure to work this into your hiking plans. We hiked into Granite Chalet day one, then hiked Grinnell Overlook and Swiftcurrent Lookout the next day. It was out down the loop the third day. Very doable for most.
Great tips! I forgot about the Swiftcurrent Lookout option, so thanks for mentioning it – it’s another fabulous option while you’re in the area! 🙂