Hiking The Grinnell Glacier

The 14th most popular hiking trail in Montana.

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Northwest of St. Mary from Many Glacier in Glacier National Park, the trip to Grinnell Glacier combines hiking with two boat trips passing a total of 37 glaciers, snow bridges, crevasses and ice caves. Since there can be long lines for the boats, the best best is to be on the first one from Many Glacier across Swiftcurrent Lake (typically 8:30am). At the south end of Swiftcurrent Lake, hike over to Lake Josephine and take a second boat to the southwest shore. Then, climb the switchbacks to Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Falls. Past the steep cliffs above Grinnell Falls is a picnic area at the base of a moraine. A quick scramble atop the moraine leads to the fissures and ice cave in Grinnell Glacier. Return via the boat (last from Lake Josephine at 4:40pm) or hike the shoreline trails.

Overall, Grinnell Glacier is the 14th most popular hiking trail of all 19 hikes in Montana. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Grinnell Glacier including Great Northern Traverse, Northern Circle Route, Ptarmigan Tunnel and Gunsight Pass.


Local Contact(s):  Glacier National Park (406) 888-7800; GNP Backcountry Permits (406) 888-7900; Montana Visitors (800) 847-4868; Hiker Shuttle (406) 888-9187 or 756-2444.

Recommended Book:  "Hiking Montana" from Bill Schneider

Recommended Map:  "Glacier National Park" from Trails Illustrated

Best Season:  Jun. - Sep.

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  NP Many Glacier Campground

Luxury Loding:  Many Glacier Hotel, St. Marys (602) 207-6000

Reference Source:  click here http://www.nps.gov/glac/

GPS:  48.7997, -113.6565

Date Published:  1/2/2016

Date Updated:  7/10/2016

ID:  13149


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For hiking the Grinnell Glacier in Montana, our printable trail guides offers trail descriptions, maps, lodging suggestions, driving directions, levels of difficulty and points-of-contact.