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Grinnell Lake



7.1 mile 11.4 kilometer loop
100% Runnable


Ascent: 190' 58 m
Descent: -190' -58 m
High: 4,960' 1,512 m
Low: 4,887' 1,489 m


Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 7% (4°)


No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Jake Bramante

Head out from the Many Glacier Hotel along the southern lake shores and creeks leading to Grinnell.

Jake Bramante

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Bring bear spray.


Following the same path and wonderful terrain as Lake Josephine Trail, the Grinnell Lake Trail starts at the Many Glacier Hotel and follows the south shorelines of Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. Both of those lakes offer fantastic views of Grinnell Point and various other summits in the Many Glacier area as you dip in and out of lush forests to Grinnell Lake which is tucked beneath red cliffs and fed by a waterfall from the glacier above.

Need to Know

The overall distance of this run can be shortened by taking the boat tours for a fee.

Runner Notes

Bears are very common in this area with many sections in dense, high foliage. Make sure to make noise when going through these sections.


To access this run, head into the Many Glacier area and take a left over the Swiftcurrent Creek bridge. Continue toward the historic Many Glacier Hotel and park in the lot. Head down to the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake by the hotel. Follow the shoreline south until you get to the trailhead.

Go along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and stay on the east side of the creek instead of taking the bridge as the trail transitions onto the Swiftcurrent Cutoff Trail. It then merges onto the South Shore Lake Josephine Trail passing Stump Lake, then a really beautiful look at the foot of Lake Josephine. At around mile 2.5, just past the boat dock, you'll come to the end of Lake Josephine. Continue past the trail junction where Josephine Walk wraps around the head of the lake into the forest.

Once past Lake Josephine, follow Cataract Creek upstream for just under a mile. Look for a spur trail off to the left to see Hidden Falls, which is a waterfall tucked in among the rocks.

Once back on the trail, cross the swinging bridge over Cataract Creek and continue southwest for another quarter mile to the shores of Grinnell Lake. The lake sits tucked beneath the base of Mt. Gould, Angel Wing, and Grinnell Mountain with Grinnell Falls cascading from the Grinnell and Salamander Glaciers.

To return, head back the way you came or take the Josephine Walk on the north side of Lake Josephine and follow the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail around the lake in either direction. This route is a fairly level stroll.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

Forest flowers such as columbine, spiraea, and beargrass. Small mammals such as tree squirrels and chipmunks and a decent chance to see a moose and potentially a bear.

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 12 votes


in Many Glacier


  4.4 from 12 votes
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Along the shores of Lake Josephine. with permission from danhester
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Glacier National Park, Montana, USA with permission from danhester
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Glacier National Park. with permission from danhester
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Lake Josephine with Grinnell Glacier and Grinnell Falls.
Jul 21, 2019 near Swiftcu…, MT
Lake Josephine looking up towards Grinnell Glacier.
May 13, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Hidden Falls from the overlook.  It's a short, steep climb to the viewpoint, but totally worth it.
Sep 3, 2018 near Swiftcu…, MT


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