Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park

4.8
#2 of 16 in Trails in Montana
Grinnell Glacier is in the heart of Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. The glacier is named for George Bird Grinnell, an early American conservationist and explorer, who was also a strong advocate of ensuring the creation of Glacier National Park. The glacier is in the Lewis Range and rests on the north flank of Mount Gould at an altitude averaging 7000ft, in the Many Glacier region of the park.The glacier has been one of the most photographed glaciers in the park and many of these photographs date back to the mid 19th century. When compared with images taken over subsequent years, the glacier has obviously retreated substantially. In 1850, at the end of what has been referred to as the Little Ice Age, Grinnell Glacier measured 710acre, including the area of The Salamander Glacier, an ice apron or shelf glacier that used to be attached to Grinnell, but is now separate. By 1993, Grinnell Glacier measured 220acre and The Salamander measured 57acre.Between 1966 and 2005, Grinnell Glacier lost almost 40 percent of its acreage. Glaciologists have predicted that if carbon dioxide levels increase at a worst-case scenario, all the glaciers in the park, including Grinnell, will disappear by the year 2030. However, under a modest increase in overall carbon dioxide levels, some glaciers will remain until the year 2277.
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Grinnell Glacier Reviews
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  • We saw a bear, purple and yellow flowers, steep cliffs, vertiginous falls, a gigantic glacier, a turquoise Lake... What more in a hike? It's not worth paying for the famous expensive ferry because the trail is beautiful from one end to the other in addition to not be very difficult!
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  • For me quite a tough hike, about 8 miles and 1600 feet gain. I did it in mid September and beforehand was a bit dubious about hiking it on my own as weather was cold and very misty. But the boats acro...  more »
  • Wife and I, both mid 60s, hiked this trail on Sept 30, 2017. Boats were no longer running so we hiked the entire trail in and out. We are in decent shape, do several miles of walking each day at home....  more »
Google
  • Picturesque in every way! We hiked up as far as we could but couldn't reach the glacier due to dangerous snow bridges so we hiked down to the lake and soaked our feet before heading back. One of the best days of my life.
  • They say this Glacier will be gone in 8 -13 years so, don't miss your chance. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Glacier National Park. Hike is challenging and should be planned as all day event. If you like extreme and you there in the summer swimming is and option but for everyone else - dipping you lags in will make you feel like you didn't hike at all and way back will be much easier. There is also lake in the beginning of the hire and swimming there is great way to complete this hike.
  • Spectacular Glacier! I wish I could have seen it years ago before it broke off of Salamander, but I am glad I was able to see it while it still existed.
  • B-E-A-Utiful. You really owe it to yourself / family to go see this. An all day event- the challenging hike, and picturesque reward atop this crown of the continent- will truly make your trip worthwhile. Welcome to Montana!
  • Come here and enjoy the view.

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Where to stay in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park offers a wealth of accommodation options right inside the park. You can stake a tent in one of the campgrounds or choose from a handful of rustic lodges and chalets. Rooms fill up quickly at these, so make reservations as far in advance as possible (up to a year ahead). A few inns, motels, and lodges sit around the St. Mary's Lakes by the park's northeast boundary, but staying in Whitefish on the western side is a better choice if you prefer to be in a Montana mountain town. Here you'll find homey inns and lodges, economy motels, and a wide range of restaurants. You'll find additional inns and motels as you drive east along Route 2 toward the park's entrance.
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