The trail head to Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier is just south of the Many Glacier Hotel. However, there is a second option to get to the lake and the glacier. You can grab a boat, ride across Swiftcurrent Lake (the lake directly behind the Many Glacier Hotel), hop off of that boat, walk a short distance, hop onto another boat and chug across Lake Josephine. From the Lake Josephine boat dock, you can hike the rest of the way to Grinnell Lake, or take the higher elevation trail and hike to Grinnell Glacier.
Since, just the day before, we hiked 10 miles round trip to see Iceberg Lake, we opted for the boat ride. It was raining, with more bad weather on the way, so the boat ride was a good choice for us.
The view of the Many Glacier Hotel from Swiftcurrent Lake
Self portrait while on the boat.
A view of our boat once we disembarked at Lake Josephine.
The Lake Josephine boat dock–what I like about this shot is that the color of the water came through in the photograph. The rock sediment that leaches into the water as the glaciers move down the mountains causes a white powder to be present in the lakes and rivers. The guide called it “glacial flour” and the presence of this sediment is what gives the water in Glacier National Park its signature turquoise appearance. So beautiful!
We hiked to Grinnell Lake and had no real plans to hike to Grinnell Glacier. It was a much longer hike to get to the glacier. We’d already hiked 10 miles the day before. It was raining. We were wearing athletic shoes instead of hiking boots. However, the great explorer was very gung-ho to go ahead and take off on another 10 mile hike, as ill prepared as we were. Hubby and I had to have a show down on the hiking trail that went something like,
me: “We’re not hiking all the way to the glacier today.”
him: “You’re not the boss!”
me: “I don’t care if I’m the boss. We’re not going.”
him: “You don’t get to decide. You’re not the boss!”
me: “Well, you’re not the boss either and we’re turning around. Go by yourself!”
We didn’t hike to the glacier.
It was pretty bad though. Having a screaming match about “You’re not the boss of me!” on a hiking trail in the middle of a national park was not one of our finer moments. However, if I hadn’t confronted him and had the screaming match, I can guarantee you we would have hiked to the glacier that day.
In the rain, wearing running shoes.
I couldn’t put grandma and my eight year old through that. The showdown had to happen.
More wildlife: we saw a moose.
More flora, and some fauna. The worms were creepy and they were all over the place.
A few notes about the hike back from Grinnell Lake: when we aborted the glacier hike, we were on the opposite side of Lake Josephine and in an area the guide had dubbed the “bear’s picnic area” because of the abundance of berries and other bear food on that section of mountain. There was bear sign all over that trail, and and one point, we were even close enough to smell grizzly bear (and they are STINKY!) The trail was so dense and thickly overgrown, the bears had ample opportunity to hide and wait for us to pass–but I’ve smelled a bear. I have to say, that’s as close as I want to get.
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