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!