Glacier National Park Part 2: The Grinnell Glacier Trail Hike

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If you’ve never seen a glacier up close and personal, the Grinnell Glacier Trail is a must-hike trail when visiting Glacier National Park.

Is it for the faint of heart? … No.

Is it epic? … Yes.

To see the other photos from my Glacier National Park visit in Sep 2016, visit this post. To read on about just the Grinnel Glacier Trail (and our almost-grizzly encounter)… read on!!

The trail starts easily enough as you pass Swiftcurrent Lake from the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead, which is close to the St. Mary (East) side of Glacier National Park.

Soon you start to see warnings for the wildlife in this area!

As the trail ascends, you’ll walk along mountainous cliff-sides that are rugged and beautiful.

You’ll probably see a bunch of pronghorn sheep, too!

As you climb in elevation, you’ll see grand views of Lower Grinnell Lake which is a mysterious and fascinating blue-green color. This is due to the sun’s reflection off the sediment in the water that comes from the glacier ice as it melts.

Soon enough as you keep rounding corners and heading higher, glaciers will come into view. Watch out for grizzlies, and don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights!

Oh, the big horn sheep need to be avoided, too!

Once you reach the glacier a few hours later, you’ll be exhausted but impressed. I was actually expecting the glacier to be a bit bigger, but it was still really cool.

We didn’t walk on the glacier ice or walk up close to it as you can fall through if you can’t see a crevice, and we were running short on daylight to get back.

Those big horn sheep are no joke!!

Neither are the cliffsides!


Shortly after the above photo was taken, a hiker who had been behind us called out to us to warn us of a grizzly bear we had just passed within 6 feet on the left. The trail was below the field on the left of us, and the grass was so high, that we didn’t see it!

I was really bummed but also elated to have missed it!

Fun fact: remember Jack Hanna from TV? Apparently he was charged by a grizzly bear on a narrow cliffside portion of the Grinnell Glacier Trail! I’m glad we didn’t have to experience that. 😀

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