We decided to do the Grinnell Lake hike after completing our canoeing on Swiftcurrent Lake. It was a picture perfect day and we wanted to cram as much into it as possible.
We started on the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail at the left end of the Many Glacier parking lot. The Swiftcurrent Nature Trail makes a 2.5-mile loop around the lake, but also is a trailhead for the Lake Josephine, Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier hikes. We hurriedly walked this .7-mile from the hotel to the beginning of the Lake Josephine/Grinnell Lake trailhead. The south shore of Lake Josephine is just .2 of a mile away and there is an opening where you can walk down for a gorgeous view of the lake. We didn’t tarry long here, even though it was a beautiful spot. . . just long enough for a few photos.
An eerie feeling crept over us as we traveled westward along the path surrounded by waist high berry patches and tall evergreen trees, as we wondered if there might be a bear buried in there. . . munching to its heart’s content. . . while we were traipsing along!! The sun was casting shadows and it was difficult to see, so these two casual tourists yelled "Hey Bear" a lot. . . in hopes of not surprising one!
We eventually came to a wooden swinging bridge that crossed over Grinnell Creek. Be sure to hang on to the sides. . . it could easily throw you if you’re not careful! A little farther along the trail, huge tree stumps provided us with a path to cross an area, which apparently overflows in spring runoff! Again it was dry, but I had to try my balance on stump walking!!
Within a few minutes the emerald green waters of Grinnell Lake could be seen. Simply magnificent!! The deep cirque contained the snow white "Salamander Glacier" nestled deep within the dark mountain crevices and Grinnell Waterfall flowed down the mountainside into this shimmering emerald colored lake against a bright blue sky as a backdrop. It was quite a breathtaking sight!! When we decided we had captured the moment in photos, we dropped our backpacks and found a tree to sit on so we could spend a few minutes resting. We just sat quietly, totally captivated with what we were experiencing and seeing. This surely beat being at work on a Friday afternoon!
We took the boat ride back to Many Glacier as we were running out of time. It can be picked up at Lake Josephine, with the last boat leaving around 4pm. The cost is $5 per person for the return trip only. There are many options for the Grinnell Lake trail with one of them being the boat ride from the hotel, which goes up Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine, thus making the hike to Grinnell Lake 1.8 miles round trip. Ranger led trips are also available, so if interested, inquire about the specific times for these.
February 22, 2004
From journal Glacier On Fire