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Grinnell Lake

Intermediate
 4.4 (12) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Head out from the Many Glacier Hotel along the southern lake shores and creeks leading to Grinnell.


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Map Key

7.1

Miles

11.4

KM

Loop

4,960' 1,512 m

High

4,887' 1,489 m

Low

190' 58 m

Up

190' 58 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

7%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Though strenuous, older children will love the opportunity to see a glacier and dip their toes in the chilly waters of the Grinnell Lake.

Bring bear spray.

Overview

Following the same path and wonderful terrain as Lake Josephine Trail, the Grinnell Lake Trail starts at the Many Glacier Hotel and follows the south shorelines of Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. Both of those lakes offer fantastic views of Grinnell Point and various other summits in the Many Glacier area as you dip in and out of lush forests to Grinnell Lake which is tucked beneath red cliffs and fed by a waterfall from the glacier above.

Need to Know

The overall distance of this hike can be shortened by taking the boat tours for a fee.

Description

To access this hike, head into the Many Glacier area and take a left over the Swiftcurrent Creek bridge. Continue toward the historic Many Glacier Hotel and park in the lot. Head down to the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake by the hotel. Follow the shoreline south until you get to the trailhead.

Go along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and stay on the east side of the creek instead of taking the bridge as the trail transitions onto the Swiftcurrent Cutoff Trail. It then merges onto the South Shore Lake Josephine Trail passing Stump Lake, then a really beautiful look at the foot of Lake Josephine. At around mile 2.5, just past the boat dock, you'll come to the end of Lake Josephine. Continue past the trail junction where Josephine Walk wraps around the head of the lake into the forest.

Once past Lake Josephine, follow Cataract Creek upstream for just under a mile. Look for a spur trail off to the left to see Hidden Falls, which is a waterfall tucked in among the rocks.

Once back on the trail, cross the swinging bridge over Cataract Creek and continue southwest for another quarter mile to the shores of Grinnell Lake. The lake sits tucked beneath the base of Mt. Gould, Angel Wing, and Grinnell Mountain with Grinnell Falls cascading from the Grinnell and Salamander Glaciers.

To return, head back the way you came or take the Josephine Walk on the north side of Lake Josephine and follow the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail around the lake in either direction. This route is a fairly level stroll.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visithike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

Forest flowers such as columbine, spiraea, and beargrass. Small mammals such as tree squirrels and chipmunks and a decent chance to see a moose and potentially a bear.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 12 votes

#6

in Many Glacier

#1885

Overall
  4.4 from 12 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#6

in Many Glacier

#49

in Montana

#1,885

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Photos

Along the shores of Lake Josephine. with permission from danhester
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Tour of Swiftcurrent Lake, Lake Josephine, and Grinnell Lake.
May 13, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Glacier National Park, Montana, USA with permission from danhester
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Glacier National Park. with permission from danhester
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Lake Josephine with Grinnell Glacier and Grinnell Falls.
Jul 21, 2019 near Swiftcu…, MT
Lake Josephine looking up towards Grinnell Glacier.
May 13, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT

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Check-Ins

Aug 21, 2020
Claira Kelso
Jun 24, 2019
Yancy Piepenburg
Jun 12, 2019
Emily Bradberry
Jun 9, 2019
Cody Rickwalt
May 30, 2019
Cody Rickwalt
May 9, 2019
Saideep Bollam
Oct 26, 2018
Amy Collett
1mi
Aug 11, 2018
Zue S
saw one bear 3.5mi