Monday, July 14, 2008

Grinell Glacier & Grinell Lake, Glacier National Park

The trailhead for the Grinell Complex is by the Many Glacier Hotel. We hiked the south side of Swiftcurrent Lake (where we saw fresh bear scat!), then the north shore of Josephine Lake up to the Grinell Glacier (which, unfortunately, was closed about 2 miles form the glacier, due to hazardous snow). The trail was fairly easy until the intersection of the glacier trail and the trail to Grinell Lake, where it became steep, but well worth the climb. At the end of where we could go, we saw a Bighorn Sheep grazing, and had good views of Falling Eagle Falls and Grinell Lake. We turned around (since there was no place else to go) and went on a spur trail to Grinell Lake – it’s a very pretty lake and well worth the hike. The entire hike was about 10 miles.

There are lots of ways to do these hikes – many people do what we did, go to both the glacier and the lake, some go only to the lake, some only to the glacier. There is also a boat you can take there and back for $16.00 per person, although you still need to hike the short distance from Swiftcurrent lake to Josephine lake, and then onto the glacier, the lake, or both. Alternatively, you can do the hike we described above, then take the boat back, which we did, at a cost of $8.00 per person. (If you do not have exact fare, you can pay when you get off the boat at the Many Glacier Hotel.) One caveat - those without roundtrip passage are not guaranteed a boat ride back, and the limit is 49 passengers. Tip –according to the staff, the 1:40pm boat from Josephine to Many Glacier Hotel is usually the not full. That being said, they will always take back anyone on the 11:40am 5:40pm boats.

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