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This is one of my favorite trails anywhere - a ton of variety in terrain, scenery, weather, wildlife, and flora. We were dealing with smoke/haze from the Howe Ridge fires on the other side of the park, so I can only imagine how breathtaking the views could be on a bluebird day. The glacier area up top is like nowhere I've been in the states... sort of a Patagonia vibe. Amazing place. We were also lucky enough to see a large female moose wading in Lower Grinnell Lake on our way down (probably around 5:30pm).

Highly recommended, even with the smoke.

This is an unbelievable hike and is an absolute must do in Glacier Park. As all the hikes we did in this park turned out to be: the trail was longer than All Trails told us it would be. Which the mileage on the signs at the beginning of the trail head was actually accurate to what we ended up recording (not what all trails said it would be). So prepare for longer. This one was 10.6 miles for us.
Seriously though, this trail is unbelievable. Did this one on our 6th day in the park and was better than the Highline trail, avalanche lake, and hidden lake. We saw a huge moose and some bears that day.
DO THIS HIKE EARLY!! We started at 7:30 am and by the time we started heading down, there were TONS of people making their way up. And they were honestly very rude. So avoid the music blaring, ignorant jerks that will bump into you on purpose. Because that's what we got on our way down.

hiking
2 days ago

awesome views. we took boat from lodge to save a few miles; you may want to just walk because tough to get return boat (too crowded). if you wait til 5:15 boat guarantees everyone a ride. but beware, we saw bears over the trail. more than 2 hours from boat dock to glacier lake. eat lunch at the lake, not the 'picnic area' below. pit toilet at boat dock and also at top. saw goats and a moose (and bears from boat). this is harder than iceberg lake trail, but not so cold at the top. awesome and doable trail.

Pictures do not do it justice!!! We hiked from Many Glacier hotel to the Grinnell glacier and back, what a hike!
4 hours there and 2 hours back
Plan for an all day adventure!

We did this hike yesterday with a 9 and 11 year old. It took us 4 hours to hike up and 2 hours to come down. It was quite a hike up but we took our time and the girls did great. There were a few spots that had sharp drop offs but the trail was wide enough to feel safe. We saw moose and goats on the trail and got lots of great pictures. This hike was the best we did in the park. Iceberg Lake was closed due to bear traffic but we heard this one was even better. It was quite impressive and hard to describe. You have gorgeous views the entire time and all I can say is ... wow! This is what you think of when you think of Glacier ... just stunning!

We absolutely loved this trail and the falls was amazing. The first part of the trail is blacktop till you get to the observation deck at which point you can look down to see the waterfall. We then took the dirt trail- which is not marked, you have to leave the observation deck and head back where you came from. In a short distance you will see a dirt trail to your left, not hard to find but you have to look for it. From there this will lead you down to the bottom of the falls. There are lots of big rocks you have to walk down on which was kind of tricky for us since we had our 2 and 3 yr olds in tow but was doable. At one point you will cross a wooden bridge with the creek underneath, very pretty. As you keep walking you will also pass a small cave which was pretty cool. Once at the falls you can swim at the bottom or wade in the water. Lots of large rocks and bolders. The falls is so much more beautiful in person, I wanted to stay there forever taking pictures.
We visited this trail on a Monday so we saw a total of 4 people. There is a large covered picnic pavilion and really nice bathrooms. We saw maybe 4 campsites but there could have been more. Would definitely go back if close to the area. This trail is about 45 - 50 mins from Natural Bridge State Park which is also really nice.

Gorgeous and the water is a welcome cool off. Be prepared for crowds though.

Great Hike. One of the best.

Great and easy walk. Recommend getting there early. Great views and people watching. People, please don't try to do this thing barefoot, I saw 4 people at the start trying to walk barefoot in the river... They probably didn't make it far. Buy some sandals or watershoes. Also, in general at zion don't bother with camping in the park, it stays so hot there in the summer months. Ask one of the park employees for dispersed camp zones. Stayed in one surrounding a lake and it was beautiful

backpacking
3 days ago

13 hard miles baby!
First hike in Montana. The Grinnell glacier has receded incredibly far. It was basically a thawed out cocktail glass. Incredibly popular hike which can start from the Many Glacier Hotel. There are options to take a boat across the lake shore in the hike. I recommend leaving from the Hotel, walking along the South Shore quietly early morning. You will have to keep your eye out for bear, but if you keep looking to your right you will most likely spot moose. Three moose were spotted in three consecutive lakes on the way to the glacier. The Trail is incredibly popular and crowded. You have to leave early unless you want to be in a parade. I counted 116 people coming up as I was heading down. You will get a good workout out of this. The lunch spot is incredible.

great and easy hike. A good amount of people on it but good none the less. Don't bother with the boat unless you absolutely need it. Seemed like a waste of time walking past people waiting for it.

Amazing views on the lakes and the glaciers (What is left....). However the hike is highly crowded making the walk a bit annoying as the path is narrow. It is better to have a early start to avoid flows of’people descending. We arrived at around 09:00 and the parking near the hotel was almost full.

So beautiful. I went around sunset and most of the traffic had subsided. The hike was fun, especially going by a weeping wall and being able to see the glacier in the distance. I saw a mama and baby goat, a moose, a wild chicken thing, and a whole lot of chipmonks and whistlepigs of course! All so charming and cool! I'd say the hike is definitely moderate or easy until you get close to the end and it gets pretty steep. I was walking back in the dark which sort of sucked but overall it was amazing. This is definitely a hike not to miss while you are at Glacier.

Fun hike! Went after a rain storm so the trail was super muddy but not very crowded. Under the rainy/muddy conditions, the trail was more of a moderate hike. Lots of rocks at the end just before the gorgeous falls!

Did this hike on 7/28/18. We started at the Many Glacier hotel. The total hike mile was 7.5 one way, it’s a a moderate to hike trail, beautiful scenery all the way. Go with plenty of water and food. We thought the trail was going to be closed at 3.5 mike like another hiker mentioned but it wasn’t closed when we went. It took us 4 hours to go up but we stopped to take pics and were not in a hurry until we realized that the trail kept going! It seemed like eternity for us but we were not prepared enough. We still made it to the top, we a snack at the edge of the water stayed for 40 min and then descended it took us 3 hours only because one of us was really tired lol and we had to wait some people rush down and take two hours. I had to stop a few times to take a breather. Some part were a bit to narrow for me but two people fit comfortably, I’ve just never done a hike like that! Absolutely beautiful at the top some people even took a quick dip, you have to get out fast because it’s extremely cold. We didn’t prepare enough so for next time we know to bring plenty of water, fruits if it’s a very hot day, put on bug spray because hose flies were a pain in the butt, i killed so many that landed on me and some were massive. We saw two moose near the lake and a mountain goat, at the beginning of the trail a grizzly family was spotted but we could see it only with binoculars.

It is pretty! We went on a Saturday so crowded and it rained, so really muddy! More on the moderate side than easy. Had toddler with us that couldn’t be carried up the last steep rocky portion to the falls. Had view though!

walking
5 days ago

Easy enough hike, could be at the top and down again in under an hour. If you are looking to stretch the legs before a more advance hike I suggest this one. Views are incredible from above

This is just so fun. Make sure you have good shoes (that you're ok getting wet) the water is cold pretty much no matter when you go and the rocks in combo with the cold water will kill your feet.

easy hike, if you can call it that. it is less than 30 minutes but a fun experience if you have the time.

Short, easy hike. Nice cool place

Parking available at trailhead (~200 spaces). Situated near the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Many Glacier Hotel, this lot fills up fast. Likely full by 07:45.

My father and I departed on the trail around 06:45, a late start considering the traffic this trail receives. The Upper Grinnell Lake Trail is among, if not the, most popular hikes in Glacier National Park. As such, we passed two groups and overtook a third within the first half mile of hiking. We stopped briefly near the first common photo opportunity. Smoke filtered the morning sunlight into a stunning red/orange hue, illuminating the landscape around Swiftcurrent Lake; this is another perk of leaving early.

Similar to many hikes in Glacier- Siyeh Pass, Swiftcurrent Pass, Hidden Lake, etc.- this trail starts off relatively slowly. True beauty first struck around a mile into the trail. Josephine Lake, which has a little pond residing at 1.1 miles, reflected the mountainous terrain with its still, deep blue hues, while its corresponding pond appeared as glass. The photo I snapped there was among the most serene I've ever taken. This serenity was short-lived, however, as three groups overtook us during a subsequent break. Predisposed towards lightly trafficked trails, this caused some unease within my father and I.

Booking it, we presently caught up to these hikers and proceeded to enjoy the ascent in solitude. Thank the lord we did. Indeed, this ascent was undoubtedly the most objectively beautiful climb I've done. El Capitan (Yosemite), Mount Baldy (Maroon Bells), El Montañon (Channel Islands), Steelhead Lake (Ansel Adams Wilderness) offer a mere fraction of the beauty. Hued morning sunlight contrasted with the seemingly impossibly blue waters of Grinnell Lake- wildflowers too!- molded an inspirational sight. My father and I broke often for pictures. I would imagine every existing hiker would do the same.

If we turned back at 3.5 miles, the hike would've already cracked our top five greatest vistas. It seemed impossible that the eponymous area, Grinnell Glacier, could transcend what we had already seen. I pessimistically prepared myself for disappointment. The final ascent, an 0.3 mile stair-assisted climb up 300 feet of terrain, served as a worthy approach to the lake. A flattening area gives way to the entirety of Upper Grinnell Lake, sitting tranquilly in turquoise glory, with streams of water cascading down sheer cliffs. My father and I looked up at the Garden Wall, where we stood a 23 hours previous, and shared an unspoken moment.

At 08:35, we had Upper Grinnell Lake and surroundings to ourselves. There was a couple who fled shortly after our arrival (it was unclear if they had camped the night). Dad splashed near-freezing glacial water on his face and hands, I snapped countless images, the icebergs rippled slightly in the water. Some trekkers emerged over the hill some ten minutes later, but we made the first footprints of the day on glacial icebergs.

In all honesty, I wish we could've forgone the descent down. Whether it be gondola, magic trolley, helicopter, any (safe) alternative to hiking down would've been preferable. This is because an unprecedented mass of humanity, perceivably eclipsing the population of Montana, met us head-on during the descent. It started with fit people, hikers who likely frequent the area. Couples came next. Families emerged. A guided hike, totaling thirty-seven individuals, forced us off the trail for a minute. We stepped off the trail for ascenders literally every thirty seconds, significantly hindering our descent.

There exist few things in this world that could drag a hike as objectively, scenically impeccable as this trail. This wave of trekkers proved to be one. I would suggest an 05:15 start at 20:00 pace to entirely avoid crowds, or a 06:00 start to enjoy the first half with uninterrupted serenity. Make no mistake, these are nice people- we chatted with several fellow trekkers- but after 75 "good morning; almost there; beautiful, isn't it?" tidbits, you inevitably wish for some isolation.

If in Glacier for multiple hikes, Upper Grinnell Lake should certainly be among them. It slides in seamlessly with the Garden Wall trek, complements Swiftcurrent Pass nicely, and showcases a different shade of blue than Siyeh Pass. Be certain to bring bear spray, as wildlife is prevalent on this trail. Leave early, hike quickly, and enjoy the ascent!

We started this hike around 8:15 and the parking lot was full! The weather was great a bit windy in the morning which kept the bugs away. We ran into tourists doing a ranger hike (about 20 of them!) on the first mile or two. The hike is a gradual incline that does not get strenuous. The views are spectacular the entire trip. Waterfalls, sheep, mountains and lakes! What more could you ask for? Made it to the upper lake (signs call it the Glacier lookout). My boyfriend and I ended up getting engaged as he was scoping out the perfect site!! It sure was amazing! It is heavily trafficked and something that a lot of people could probably do.

A easy hiking to the river, with the mode of expectation of hiking in the river!

Nice trail with beautiful views of lakes. Lots of uphill and definitely will make you sore. We saw lots of big horn sheep and even had a slightly close encounter with one that came within 5 feet of us. One of the best in Glacier.

hiking
8 days ago

Although the grade is steep to walk up to the falls, I didn't feel this was a hike - more of a walk up to the falls. This is a good trail for families because it's paved and wide. Just be careful nobody slips on the water.
This is a short hike, so every time I'm in Zion, I tack it onto my other hikes.

nice hike but too much traffic, we wanted to jump in the glacier but it was freezing so we just soaked our feet :D, come super early because than there is problem to find a parking, we arrived at 7.30 and it was almost full ;)

Very cool experience hiking up the river. Would have been a little easier if the water wasn't so muddy. Definitely get there early morning to avoid the crowds. We were headed back out around 12:30 and the amount of people just entering was mind blowing, especially since all the flash flood warning suggest being out of the narrows by early afternoon. Way too many people for my liking.

Amazing amazing place... not to be missed
Easy enough hike, trail is well wide with not too much traffic

on Grinnell Glacier Trail

10 days ago

Aug 4, 2018 Beautiful hike! We did it with our kids 10 and 13 and they loved it as well. The last 700 meters was a tough climb but so worth it. We left the lodge about 9:00 and got back about 3:00 however we had a number of stops along the way and a late lunch up at the glacier. We skipped the boat back- from that point it’s a pretty flat walk home so we were fine to do it. Take lots of water, especially if it’s sunny as there wasn’t a ton of shade.

Beautiful scenic hike. Waterfall at top is gorgeous. Many areas of the trail were very muddy.

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