Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

The wonders of Glacier National Park just never cease! We spent time traveling the famous Going-to-the-Sun-Road, we hiked and we even had a very interesting encounter with a grizzly bear.

We planned to visit Many Glacier during our stay, and we ended up shifting our accommodations a bit. We knew that the road to Many Glacier would be closing in just a few days, so we decided to move over to the northeast side of Glacier to make it easier for us to access. Originally, we were going to stay in Babb for two days, but we added two more days at the beginning to allow us to explore the wonders of Many Glacier.

These seasonal closures are definitely something to be aware of as you think about visiting Glacier. Make sure you pick a time to visit when many of the fabulous roads and fun attractions are going to be open.

Let’s explore the marvelous area around Many Glacier, which will provide plenty of inspiration as you pencil out your own itinerary.

Babb, Montana

Babb Montana
Babb Montana

The village of Babb used to be called Main and is located in Montana within the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. It got its start back in 1874, with whiskey sold to customers from all around the area. Such interesting history to go along with the spectacular mountain views. We enjoyed staying here in an RV we rented.

Historic Many Glacier Hotel

Historic Many Glacier Hotel
Historic Many Glacier Hotel

We had very high hopes for exploring Many Glacier Hotel, a historic and beautiful place, but when we arrived here it was being boarded up for the season. We were so hoping to eat dinner here the first evening we arrived in the region, but we were sadly disappointed. If you want to explore this hotel, be sure to look up whether they will be open during your own excursion to Glacier.

Historic Many Glacier Hotel
Historic Many Glacier Hotel

Hiking Grinnell Glacier

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Let’s Get This Hike Started – Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

But onward we went to Grinnell Glacier!

Do Your Research

Based on the information that we researched, Grinnell Glacier is the number two hike of the entire park. Be cautious as you hike here, since the trails are quite rocky in spots and that means you really need to watch your footing.

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

Watch the Weather

It is worth noting that you need to watch the weather when you plan to hike here. During our visit, we made sure to watch the weather report very closely. We heard that winds of 30 miles per hour and rain were probable for the day we went. We decided to risk it and make the hike anyway, even though inclement weather was predicted.

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

It is a Difficult Hike

This particular hike is considered difficult, with its length of 11 miles and a 2,200-foot elevation gain. Just be sure you know this going in, and if you can handle it then you will surely be glad you did it. This hike kicked my butt, but I would not have missed it for the world. The stunning views all the way and at the very end of the hike are all well worth the effort it takes to get there.

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Look at These Spectacular Views

The Hike Will Be Glorious

Plus, just imagine that feeling of triumph once you successfully scale Grinnell Glacier! That is a story to tell back at home at a dinner party with friends. And you will absolutely love the stunning views everywhere. I recommend taking them in frequently, which happily means stopping and resting every so often.

If you journey to Glacier in September as we did, you might just get to see snow way up in the mountains. The fall colors were just starting to turn into vibrant reds and yellows and oranges for our journey, so it is worth looking into planning your trip to Glacier in early fall if you can.

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

Wildlife and New Friends Abound

During your hike at Grinnell Glacier, you will likely see plenty of wildlife in addition to the gloriously scenic views all around. We wore bells on our hike to help repel the bears—we were hoping it didn’t attract them!

We were lucky enough to see large quantities of wildlife during our time here. We saw a whole family of black bears, a grizzly bear, elk, moose, mountains and so much more. Keep your eyes open as you hike, because you just might spot all these animals and maybe even more.

We also made some new friends as we journeyed along on our hike. Part of the joy of traveling is meeting new people, and this trip was no exception. Don’t forget to be friendly as you pass other hikers, you just never know who you might become friends with. In fact, our newfound friends Lyle and Janet helped us out on this hike. It was so kind of them!

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

The Top of Grinnell Glacier

We finally made it to the top and wow, what views! They were glorious. Like a slice of heaven, really.

Getting to the top of Grinnell Glacier was brutal, but we survived and were rewarded with such amazingly fabulous views. It was definitely windy and looked like it was about to start raining, but we took the time to soak it all in before heading back down the trail.

We saw an amazing array of wildlife as we started to head back down. It was hard to tell whether we saw sheep or goats, but it was just amazing to see all those animals. The clouds were coming in and the wind was picking up, so we didn’t linger too long viewing the wildlife on the way back.

You must take caution to be very aware of what the weather is doing so you know what to expect. It was glorious to watch some of the weather roll in, like the rain we saw about a mile left of the trailhead.

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

Nearing the End

As we neared the end, I was breathing hard—I think I’m like an elephant or something. But my wife (more like a gazelle) was just fine.

As we got close to the finishing spot close to the lodge, we got in the car and the skies just opened up. Our timing was so perfect. We got to finish our hike and they got some much-needed rain. What a tiring but amazingly rewarding day!

Even though Grinnell Glacier makes for a challenging hike, I highly recommend that you hike here if you can. Just allow yourself plenty of time to stop and rest along the way. As a bonus, those breaks will give you plenty of chances to snap some beautiful photographs to help you commemorate your adventures.

Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park
Hew We Made It!! Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

Additional Hikes to Consider

Red Rock Falls

Red Rock Falls via the Swift Current Trail was a lovely little hike. We happened upon two lakes and a delightful waterfall at the end of one of the lakes. It was definitely pretty, but it was not the most spectacular of views along the way. Those came later.

St. Mary/Virginia Falls

Now this area was absolutely beautiful in a very haunting sort of way. In 2015, this area was actually burned quite severely by the Reynolds Creek Wildland Fire. During the blaze, they had to evacuate the St. Mary Campground and they closed the Going-to-the-Sun-Road.

Today, it is quite delightful to see the forest regenerating. And here you will see waterfalls that are absolutely fierce and absolutely beautiful.

Hike to Hidden Lake Overlook

We found ourselves once again at Logan Pass, which is a place we passed by on a previous hike. The views here at Hidden Lake Overlook are just spectacular!

You will want to note though that they do close this trail occasionally because of grizzly bear activity. They even close the lake sometimes because of the grizzlies. (After our encounter, I would agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry!) Hopefully this beautiful trail and lake will be open for your trip.

Hike to Rockwell Falls in Glacier National Park

The hike to Rockwell Falls is supposed to be about 6.6. miles long. We went a little further, once by accident and once because of an interesting detour.

Our first extra mile happened because we took a wrong turn. But surrounded by such beauty, that wasn’t such a hardship.

Our next extra mile got added to our hike because a swing bridge had been taken out for the season. That meant we had to find an alternative route, so it lengthened our hike a bit.

Even with the extra mileage, the day was gloriously beautiful and the waterfalls at the end were so very beautiful. Detours here are definitely quite pleasant.

Conclusion Hiking Grinnell Glacier

I hope you can tell that we totally and completely loved the Grinnell Glacier Hike, it was challenging but certainly worth it. I would recommend that you do what ever you can to make it happen for you.

We also loved all the activities that you can do from the east side of Glacier National Park. So do not hesitate from staying on that side of the park.  Contact us if you have any questions at all about this hike.

Start working out for these amazing parks and until next time, get out and capture the adventure!

Co Author: Brittany VanDerBill – www.bvanderbillconsulting.com

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Hiking Beautiful Grinnell Glacier Glacier National Park

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website
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