Grinnell Lake Trail

EASY 62 reviews
#9 of 117 trails in

Grinnell Lake Trail is a 7.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near East Glacier Park, Montana that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

7.1 miles
351 feet

kid friendly




horseback riding

nature trips

trail running







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.

5 days ago

To shorten the hiking distance and get a view of the scenary from the water, I recommend taking the boat tour from Many Glacier Lodge across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. You are offered a return pass later in the day for both boats.

No grizzly sightings, but we did see two bull moose (at different times) soaking in Lake Josephine.

14 days ago

6/30/18. 8:45am. On a Saturday. Busy trail. Mosquitos weren’t a problem except for a few areas. Easy and fun hike with a 7 year old.

When you teach the outhouse, take the trail to the lake to step out onto the short pier. Lots of nice views throughout but this was our favorite.

Trail is closed just past Lake Josephine. 6 miles, 3 hours. We jumped trails and probably added another .75 to our hike.

Absolutely amazingly stunning! Awesome turquoise water views the entire hike. We logged 8 miles RT from the campground to the top of Grinell. Lake where a sign permits further traffic due to dangerous snow fields (although very experienced hikers were continuing). There are several snow bridges over waterfalls that would make it too risky to go to the Glacier for me. There are innumerable waterfalls and wild flowers along the trail. We saw a sow and bear cub from a distance and a moose and calf down along the river. A grizzly was on the trail that day but we never ran in to it. Be sure to bring your bear spray and make plenty of noise and enjoy the trail!!

Amazing views! Even though we had to stop short of the Glacier the views were spectacular

20 days ago

Wonderful hike! Added on Grinnell glacier trail. Saw moose and deer. Lower lake trail closed for severe flooding and end of glacier trail closed for snow shoot. But still an excellent 11 miles when all combined.

22 days ago

Did this hike June 23 and the last .75 miles to the lake was closed due to flooding. We went the .2 mile hike to Hidden Falls which was amazing!

2 months ago

Did this because we summited the glacier earlier than we expected. Very windy when we went by still so quiet and very few people. If you have time I’d say do it, it’s basically on the way anyways.

Follow me on Instagram for pictures of the hikes and other adventures @wildrumpfie

4 months ago

Beautiful hike! We hiked this trail after hiking to Grinnell Glacier. This trail is easy and beautiful all at once. It passes through dense forest. Beautiful lake with a beautiful beachy area. Great views from the lake. Bring water and a snack, carry bear spray. Make noise on the trail.

10 months ago

Very easy trail with good views and lots of scenery. Saw a moose in Josephine Lake. Was told normally a lot of bears can be found on hike but due to dry summer berry season wasn't good and as such bears are at higher elevations. Very easy hike for my 4 and 5 years olds.

11 months ago

We didn't do this hike as a loop and started from the Swiftcurrent parking lot off Many Glacier Rd. Saw a baby and momma moose, and a doe also popped out of the bushes at the lake and hung around where we were sitting maybe ten feet away from us.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

This trail is one of the higher rated trails in our guidebook but we thought it was a bit overrated. You have the option to take the trailhead from the Many Glacier hotel or take a $25 boat ride to cut off part of the distance. We would recommend taking the boat if you're able.

The trail is mostly flat but pretty overgrown most of the way. Highlights include: wildlife, a really awesome suspension bridge, fun plank trails, cute and convenient outhouses.

The boats leave at specific times throughout the day and fill up quickly. We recommend booking ahead of time!

We hiked in July 2017 and there was a bridge out near the end so you'll have to ford the water. There are plenty of shallow places to walk in the water but you'll want to take off your shoes and be prepared for cold toes!

Best photo opportunities are before the sun gets too low in the sky. Try to hike before mid afternoon.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Cheeky climb to an amazing overlook of Grinell Lake . The last bit of the trail was closed due to snow pack so we ended up doing a rather strenuous 7 miles . We took a quick dip in the lake on our way back near the boat shuttle dock . Cold but so refreshing after a hot day . It's a very sunny trail with little shade , so go early and bring a hat and plenty of sunscreen.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Most amazing views! Saw wildlife, mountain goats, and a bull moose. Hiked the whole way from the lodge and took the ferry back.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Unbelievable views, beautiful mountains, and amazing wildflowers.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Very easy trail. We met a deer, walking the trail in the opposite direction as us, and she passed us as a person would when we stepped aside to let her by. In July, this hike was cold. We were bundled up on the lakeshore as the wind was chilling.

Friday, September 02, 2016

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.

Monday, August 15, 2016

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

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

Sunday, May 01, 2016

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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Nice hike. Lovely views across the water.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

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.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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.

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recorded Grinnell Lake Trail

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