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Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park

4.9
#1 of 15 in Trails in Montana
Geologic Formation Hiking Trail
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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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 theĀ 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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  • This is a real classic hike for people who are fit. However it can get crowded. Start this hike early and enjoy a picnic lunch at the lake where you can see icebergs calving off this shrinking glacier...  more »
  • It is impossible to explain the beauty seen on the Grinnell Glacier Hike. We hiked with our three children and our mom (the kids grandmother). We hiked in July. It was perfect weather and amazing scen...  more »
  • We want on a ranger-led hike -- saw a bear on the way, incredible views, sad that the glacier is melting. Great way to spend the day.  more »