Grinnell Glacier Trail is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Swiftcurrent, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fishing, and fly fishing and is best used from June until September.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,040 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

fishing

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

bugs

snow

no dogs

As of September 2018, users have reported occasional closing of the north side of Josephine Lake due to bear activity. Please check with the park before attempting hike. There is a high amount of bear activity in this area, so be vigilant.

hiking
6 days ago

This is one of the best hikes in one of the best national parks and arguably one of the best hikes in the country. The trail along the north or south shores of Lake Josephine are flat but it is heavy grizzly territory. After a little more than 2 miles from the trailhead you will begin the ascent up Mt. Grinnell. The climb is difficult but extremely rewarding. The views of the surrounding Many Glacier area are some of the best in the park and depending on the season, waterfalls are present along the cliff face from glacier runoffs. Once you get to the top you are greeted by Grinnell and Salamander Glaciers. The crystal clear blue glacier water is even more beautiful in person than it is in the photographs. Hikers can take a break relaxing near the glaciers before heading back down. Although it's a challenge, I think everyone that visits GNP should check-out this hike; you won't regret it! Check out my website for some more of the best hikes in Glacier National Park:

https://trailheadtraveler.com/best-day-hikes-in-glacier-national-park/

hiking
20 days ago

We hiked this with our kids in July. Took us 5.5 hrs to get up and 3 down. Well worth the work!! Beautiful views and great hike. We seen brown bears (so take bear spray) and mountain goats. If we did it again I would get there early and hike while it’s cooler...it get quite hot against the rock walls of the trail. Not a lot of shade. Take plenty of water. We refilled on the big waterfall as everyone else was...we did not get sick.

Absolutely amazing. Busy trail in the summer.

hiking
24 days ago

Best hike ever!!! We hiked it with all 4 of our kids ages10,7,5 and 3 (husband carried the 3yr old) we loved it!! It was early July so the end of the trail was closed due to snow. But still highly recommended!! Take water as it really warms up on the way back!

25 days ago

We hiked this on 10/17 and good golly was it beautiful! The park service closed the last 1.5 up to Upper Grinnell Lake due to bear activity, which was a bummer. We didn't see any four legged animals the whole hike and were the only humans on the trail. The highlight was definitely lunch on the dock at Josephine lake.

hiking
1 month ago

This was the highlight of our month of hiking and camping Montana! The hike around Lake Josephine is beautiful and flat but you will pay your dues in the last 2 miles which are an uphill grind. I made a video of the hike and my wife detailed her experience if anyone is interested: https://practicalvagabonds.com/grinnell-glacier/

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Had a grizzly bear with two cubs in there area , we got some great photos ( from a great distance). The snow was still melting creating some cool waterfall that were falling over the trail, definitely need to use some caution on this trail. be safe

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely stunning !! It has river, lakes, views, glacier.. The hike, the views, the glacier lake with ice floating at the top! Take rain gear if chance of showers, it comes in quick. Lots of wildlife, we saw a moose coming up to thw beach where we swam in a lake to drink..

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 9/4/18 via the 8:30 boat round-trip and ranger-led hike, about 7 miles. Perfect pace for this 69-yr-old from Alabama in moderate shape. Great scenery despite high clouds covering the mountain tops. We saw big-horn sheep and later a moose family by the upper lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked Sept 6th . Started from Many Glacier Lodge at 9am, great beginning trail. Great mountain and lake views. Relativly easy for first 3.5 miles. Took way too much stuff ( planded for bad weather and such) could have reduced pack weight by 10 lbs. Took water filter - great for refill at the top, helped others refill as well. did not snack enough along the way to keep up the energy . The last 1.5 miles were trying to make me quit the climb but all the younger and older hikers passing us and urging us on got us to the top. Took 5 hrs to make it up. epic climb and made my whoe year ! Checked off the Bucket List !took 4 hrs to get down and missed the boat literly to catch the ride back to the lodge so walked the last 2 mils compleatly pooped. From Indiana we did not plan or prepare for shuch a climb but glad we did it. PS: our Iphone recorded 15 miles total. This is a must do climb.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 9/17. I'm not particularly athletic so I had doubts about being able to finish this trail (10 miles and uphill? Yikes) It was surprisingly easy, the incline is gradual and because you stop frequently to let people pass and admire the views you never get too tired. The only time I was out of breath was the steeper portion just before you reach the glacier which doesn't last long at all. It took us around 6 hours including a handful of short stops on the way up and a half hour break at the top. I'm from the northeast and have never seen anything as beautiful as what I've seen here.. With the fall colors, it was too much!! This one is a must. HIGHLY recommended. P.S. There are pit toilets a half mile before the top.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s one of the most gorgeous hikes I’ve ever done! The views are spectacular the whole way up. Once we reached the top, there were a good amount of people there, so we kept walking along the water and the crowd died down. We went with a group of 6 people, 4 of us are more experienced hikers and it was a bit challenging at points but over all easier than expected. Our other 2 friends, who are not experienced, did find it pretty challenging, but with a good amount of breaks, we all made it up to the top together in about 3.5hrs. I HIGHLY recommend this hike.

1 month ago

one of my favorite hikes of all time. spectacular views the entire way and the glacier lake and waterfalls are amazing.

1 month ago

Like are you even kidding me with these fall colors gosh DANG Montana

hiking
1 month ago

Outstanding views the entire trail. Gives you nearly everything GNP has to offer including lakes, heights, wildlife, and glaciers.

Consistent, steady incline and sun exposure throughout most of the trail. While you don’t hear much about the sheer cliffs on this path, there are some points that may make those with a fear of heights a bit nervous. Prepare for a somewhat strenuous finish, but they payoff is very much worth it.

Would recommend bringing lunch to eat while overlooking the lake at the farthest point in the trail.

One of the best trails in one of the best parks.

1 month ago

beautiful

hiking
1 month ago

Spectacular but not for the faint of heart (heights). Some narrow paths with steep drop offs but a nice steady easy gradient. Fabulous views. Take plenty of water. We saw one Grizzly Mum and 3 cubs on the way back down and another Black bear too. Lovely day. Highly recommend.

1 month ago

Place is dope. Expect a crowd

1 month ago

Amazing hike! We saw a grizzly bear about one mile in and later spotted three more (mom and two cubs), two moose, and a large ram. The hike is slightly strenuous, but worth it. It took our group of six about 5.5 hours in total.

1 month ago

Great views

2 months ago

This might be my all time favorite hike. It’s mostly uphill and parts of it are steep, but the payoff is huge. The glacier and the glacial lake are some of the most stunning nature I’ve ever seen. Even better, you cross waterfalls, streams, and pass gem colored blue lakes on your way up. The views are magnificent. Highly recommend this hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Pros: Accessible, Variety of terrain, amazing viewpoints throughout, accesses a (still) impressive Glacier and Glacial Lake Cons: Exposed trail much of the way, can be deceptively strenuous, potential crowds
This trail is one of the best known in Glacier NP for a reason, as it is accessible rather easily from the road coming from St. Mary MT, and covers a wide variety of terrain in its traverse. (As of Sep. 2018) you can either take a ferry across lake Josephine or hike along the east shore of said lake. We hiked along the shore, which was a pleasant way to start the trail, going through dense forested land, and through quite extensive berry patches. Bear danger is greatest by the lake shores, so it is worth it to remain aware and take bear spray with you. Occasional trail closures due to bear activity are to be expected. After passing the SW end of lake Josephine, the trail begins its gradual switchback ascent to Grinnell Glacier itself. This section is exposed and does cross some narrow sections with steep drop offs, so one does not want to be in a hurry nor improperly outfitted here. The views from this mid section of trail are wide open and cover an amazing variety of terrain. At the crest of the trail is the still quite impressive Grinnell Glacier and Lake.Unfortunately, the Glacier is receding rapidly, and may potentially be gone in 10 yrs.. You can walk unimpeded up to the lake shore, but the water is extremely cold, and immersing oneself is only feasible on a warm/hot day. The top vantage point is certainly worth it though, as many of the Glaciers in the park require back country access, while this one does not. There is one pit toilet towards the top, but no water , so you are advised to bring plenty with you.
5/5 stars

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked the trail on 9-12-18. In aggregate, the reviews are spot on. This is a spectacular trail with incredible views throughout. Be prepared for wildlife. I walked up on a Grizzly on the North side of Josephine Lake (the trail had been closed due to bear activity in the days prior). At the end of the hike (in the rain) several of us got to pass close by a bull moose frolicking in Swiftcurrent Lake. The one thing that isn't clear from all of the reviews: You can get to the trail via boat (the 9.7 mile hike listed on Alltrails), but you don't have to take a boat. Park at the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead and you are looking at 11.4 miles minimum, per the signs. It's about the same walking from the hotel. There are a lot of people, but spectacular and worth the trip!

hiking
2 months ago

The smoke was not a problem, even though it was just over the hill.

The trail showed obvious signs of heavy usage, but was also well maintained. The signage made the path obvious. There were stair-like rocks all the way to the top. I saw plenty of folks over 60 doing the trail, even all the way at the top.

Most folks turned back about halfway, but there were a ton of people. However, it was not too crowed. We found a parking spot at the bottom without waiting.

I think that this late in the season it is less busy and crowded.

The views are incredible, even with smoke. All the way up, there's an un-blocked view of the granite peaks. The glacier at the end is awe inspiring.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing views..We hiked on 9/9/2018..started at the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead. The north trail was closed due to bear activity and so it added ~1 mile to the round trip...It took us 3.5 hrs to get to the top and 2.5 hrs for the descent (including water / photo breaks)..It was a little windy and chilly at the top..

2 months ago

Hiked on 9/5/18. Great hike; one in the best We have ever done. Very nice views after Lake Josephine all the way to Grinnell Lake. While the Glacier was great to see, we were most impressed by the lake, which was aquamarine and contained many pieces of ice. Color contrast between the lake and the sky was beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

This was the first hike of our 8 day trip. It was awesome! The moderate rating is right on, nothing technical simply a nice incline on the way up, and a decline on the way down. There is a glacial lake at the end of the trail, you might be able to spot a waterfall depending on the glacial melt at the time of year. The mountain in front of the lake is actually a part of the highline trail. The lake is a little chilly, but if you want to be a true Canadian just walk strait in. ;)
We spotted a moose swimming in a lake from up above from a very far distance away.
You may spot a mountain goat on the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely love this hike. We started at the Many Glacier Hotel and follow the south trail( the north was close due to bears activity in the area). So end up to be around 11 miles. Amazing views and except for the last section near the glacier where it get a bit steep, a very pleasant hike. Loved it

2 months ago

Keep walking and the view gets better and better. #godly

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