Grinnell Lake Trail

EASY 12 reviews
#8 of 90 trails in

Grinnell Lake Trail is a 7.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near East Glacier Park, MT that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from June until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

7.2 miles 328 feet Loop

kid friendly




nature trips

trail running


horseback riding






wild flowers



no dogs

A beautiful hike to a glacial lake beneath a massive melting glacier. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in the entire National Park. The wonderfully maintained park trail will take you past beautiful lakes onto steep hillsides with sweeping views of waterfalls and glaciers all around you. You will probably see a lot of wildlife on the trip as well so be ready with your camera. When you get to Grinnell Lake you will see icebergs (no joke) floating in the lake from the rapidly retreating Grinnell Glacier. It is not advisable to walk on the glacier as there are crevasses but if you are careful and are there during the late summer the crevasses should be very visible and you can take a very cautious stroll onto the ice.

24 days ago

1 month ago

The view of Grinnell Glacier from the east end of Lake Josephine was my favorite view along this trail. I was lucky enough to capture an unreal picture of this beautiful view on a perfect day, and I added it onto the photos here.Check it out and see what you think.

2 months ago

2 months ago

Breathtaking views! The view of Grinnell Glacier from lake Josephine is absolutely wonderful.

2 months ago

3 months ago

Very peaceful. Very green. Enjoyed boat ride across lake Josephine. Easy hike. Too short side trip up to hidden falls. Suspension bridge was cool.

5 months ago

Awesome hike or boat and hike experience. Bring bug spray for the mosquitoes; they are relentless, especially when you get to Grinnell Lake. Our adventure started with the boat trip from the Many Glacier Hotel across Swiftcurrent Lake, then an easy 400 yard hike to the second boat and a trip across Lake Josephine. The boat set us out on the south shore of Lake Josephine and we hiked up to Grinnell Lake from there. The Grinnell Lake trail is mostly flat through a dense forest. The path briefly traverses along Cataract Creek and then you cross boardwalks over a swampy section. Next you get to cross Cataract Creek on a single file swinging bridge with hand cables. If you keep moving, the mosquitoes will pretty much keep off you, but when you stop for a picture they swarm, especially as you reach Grinnell Lake. When you reach Grinnell Lake at 5,040-ft., you look directly across to Mt. Gould (9,553-ft.), the Garden Wall and Mt. Grinnell (8,851-ft.). Glacial melt water from Salamander and Grinnell Glaciers run down a cascading waterfall into the western side of the lake.
After we had given enough blood to the mosquitoes, we retraced our steps back to the trail junction at the head of Lake Josephine and the boat dock. We got in the boat and after a while found out from our friendly boat driver that we were out of gas, and we could wait or hike back… so of course we all opted to hike back to the first boat dock on Swiftcurrent Lake so we could take the shuttle boat back to the Many Glacier Hotel. Well, more drama for our adventure; someone came back saying they had just spotted a grizzly jumping up on the bridge we had to cross to reach the north shore trail along Lake Josephine. We all decided, about 15 in the group, to proceed cautiously. We saw the wet paw prints on the bridge but no bear, who might have started up the Grinnell Glacier trail. Regardless, we took a right after crossing the bridge and hiked in formation racing down the north shore to the boat dock on Swiftcurrent Lake. After a few minutes our boat and friendly crew arrived and we shared stories on our trip across the lake back to the hotel. Needless to say, we had quite an adventure and this one is not to miss!
George Bird Grinnell first visited the area in 1885 as editor of Field and Stream magazine. He helped advocate establishing Glacier National Park.
The Glacier Park Boat Company ( runs boat tours on Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. Hikers can ride the boats either one way or round trip to shorten hiking distances. The round trip boat tour will shorten the hike to 2.4 miles (round trip). Taking the boat one way and walking the north shore trail the other direction will reduce the hiking distance to 5.8 miles.

9 months ago

Nice hike. Lovely views across the water.

1 year ago

A beautiful lake with a waterfall and mountains in the background. Relatively easy access via boat1, short hike, boat2, then longer hike. Spectacular views. Saw two moose grazing in a lake 100 yards away. On the way up, and on the way back down.

1 year ago

Friday 7-17-2015: My wife, daughter and I hiked Grinnell Glacier Trail using the tour boat. The weather was cold. rainy, and windy. But it was worth it to hike 7.3 miles to get up close to the glacier. We saw many bighorn sheep along the way.

2 years ago

4 years ago