Location: Glacier National Park – Montana, U.S.A.
Destination: Grinell Glacier
Distance: 11.6 miles round-trip from Many Glacier Hotel Trailhead
Elevation Gain: 1,850 feet
Difficulty: Easy Day Hike | Class 1 – Hiking with a low chance of injury
The route to hike into Grinnell Glacier is located in the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park. The trail meanders along Lake Josephine for a while, and then quickly climbs out of the forest. You can also shorten this hike by taking the boat ride on Lake Josephine which cuts off a few miles.
Views of the surrounding peaks begin emerge as you climb, and the beautiful sight of Grinnell Lake in the valley below. (See 3 photos down.)
The scenery on this hike is particularly stunning, with increasingly amazing views of Grinnell Lake, (above photo). The color deepens as you gain elevation until it looks almost unreal.
Early in the season, you’ll find waterfalls and snow across the trail. On the way back down, Tyler went through the waterfall. It looked so refreshing that I packed the camera equipment away so I could run through it too. It was so cold, you couldn’t stand in it for more than 30 seconds without giving yourself a temporary ‘ice cream headache’. The temperature got up to around 90°F that day, so the glacier cold water felt great!
When you push through the final climb to the glacier, you’ll be rewarded with the most beautiful glacial meltwater pool filling most of where the glacier has receded. The glaciers in the park have lost most of their size over the last hundred years, and scientists estimate that they could be completely gone by the year 2030. Even though they’re smaller now then they were before, they’re still really stunning.
We loved this hike so much, we want to hike into more of the glaciers around the park before they’re gone. You never know, we may only have a small amount of time to see some of the smaller ones.
The color of the melt water surrounding the glacier was a deep aqua, reflecting the mountains above.
It was really ideal to do this hike in the end of July. There was still snow dotting the peaks and wildflowers filled the fields below. The glacier is also in peak condition early in the season. Later in the season, there is more melt water which is beautiful as well, just not as much glacier to see. If you ever get the chance to come to Glacier National Park, this hike is definitely worth putting on your to-do list. The views are just so incredible all season long, right into the fall!
*Note – Be sure to bring your bear spray on this hike. The trail is heavily used by bears. It’s best to hike with 4 or more people in your group if you can.