The trail to Grinnell Lake
is only half the adventure. To get to the trailhead, there are two alternate scenic approaches, neither accessible by car. From the Many Glacier Hotel
parking lot, one choice is to take the long route around the south shore of the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail
and then along Lake Josephine to the shelter by the boat dock at its southwest shore.
Otherwise, save time by reserving passage on the boat tour. It includes two short voyages across the lakes, with a short hike in between. Either way, from the shelter, the Grinnell Lake
Trail angles southwest through dense woods along the Cataract Creek.
Mounted riders may be seen on the horse trail that parallels the foot path. A low-slung suspension foot bridge is a treat in crossing the creek. Follow the banks of the multi-colored cobbled creek into a spectacular opening upon the eastern shore of Grinnell Lake
. Wade in the frigid water and gaze across the turquoise blue lake surrounded by the mountainous remains of a glacial cirque. On the western shore the spectacular thousand-foot plume of Grinnell Falls descends from its namesake glacier, which is not visible tucked beyond the peak. A segment of Salamander Glacier, however, appears in the distance.
On the way back, take the marked side-spur to Hidden Falls
just beyond the footbridge. This one-way trek rises swiftly in elevation until it ends with a pleasing view of a mountain stream cataract. You may return the way you came, but come back changed.
Native trees, numerous wildflowers and berries line the trail and creek. Moose and deer may be spotted.