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Grinnell Glacier Trail



3.5 mile 5.6 kilometer point to point
80% Runnable


Ascent: 1,608' 490 m
Descent: -39' -12 m
High: 6,510' 1,984 m
Low: 4,937' 1,505 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Michael Faist

One of Glaciers most famous trail, this moderate trail leads you right up to Grinnell Glacier itself

Michael Faist

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Oftentimes it remains closed into late June or early July, depending upon the amount of snow. Up to date status can be found at the Glacier's website.

Runner Notes

As one of the most popular trails in the park, runners should be aware of the heavy foot traffic one would encounter in the middle of the day. To avoid the crowds, start before 11:00 AM or after 4:00 PM.


As you drive into the Many Glacier area of the park, there's only one road to take. You'll drive along Swiftcurrent Lake for a while, until you come upon a parking area on your left for the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead. (Another way that some people start the trail is by boat, which can be picked up at the Many Glacier Hotel a little farther down the road. Taking the boat shaves off around 3.4 miles roundtrip).

Starting from the trailhead, the first two miles are mostly flat, taking you along Josephine Lake before you reach a fork in the trail. The trail to the left is the Josephine Walk to the Grinnell Lake Trail, and the trail to the right is the Grinnell Glacier Trail. Just after the junction, you start going up. There are spectacular views of Grinnell Lake to the south, with Mt. Gould standing tall behind it. As you run, you'll pass fields of wildflowers, waterfalls, and with any luck some wildlife! The trail does at points get narrow, and those with mobility restrictions should be aware of the steep nature of some points of the trail. That being said, families of all ages take the trail every summer, so be sure to bring appropriate supplies (hiking poles, water, food, etc.).

Looking into the Grinnell Basin as you approach you'll see two glaciers, Salamander and Gem, settled into the rock face. Eventually, you'll reach the glacier itself, affording a spectacular view of Grinnell. Settle into one of the best lunch spots in the park, and enjoy the view before starting back!

This trail also offers Ranger-led hikes starting oftentimes in July, be sure to check out Glacier's website.

Flora & Fauna

Grinnell Glacier is one of the best trails in the park to spot wildlife and wildflowers. Glacier Lillies, Beargrass, and Western Pasque Flowers surround runners with each footstep. Mountain goats, marmots, and even moose or grizzlies can be seen from this trail. The Many Glacier area of the park is famous for it's wildlife sightings, so bring your binoculars!

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Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 15 votes


in Many Glacier


  5.0 from 15 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Many Glacier


in Montana


91 Views Last Month
5,547 Since Sep 2, 2015



Grinnell Lake overlook.
Nov 12, 2015 near Swiftcu…, MT
A friendly local waves hello to hikers.
Nov 12, 2015 near Swiftcu…, MT
Grinnell Glacier glacier hike - great reward for not a ton of effort.
Jan 28, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Grinnell Lake (center) and surrounding mountains as seen from the ascent to Upper Grinnell Lake.
Aug 9, 2018 near Swiftcu…, MT
Grinnell cutting through the clouds.
Feb 23, 2019 near Swiftcu…, MT
Grinnell Glacier
Sep 18, 2019 near Swiftcu…, MT


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