Grinnell Lake, Montana, USA

Also known as:  Grinnell Lake Trail, Lower Grinnell Lake

Grinnell Lake is the reward at the end of the Grinnell Lake Trail. And what a reward it is! The entire trail, although considered one of the easiest hikes in Glacier National Park, also offers some of the most spectacular scenery. The trail skirts several lakes and offers beautiful views of the Continental Divide, Mount Gould and three glaciers. The trail from the trailhead in Many Glacier Valley to Upper – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Grinnell Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Grinnell Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Grinnell Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Grinnell Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Grinnell Lake

Lake Locations: USA - West - Montana - Glacier Country -

Grinnell Lake is the reward at the end of the Grinnell Lake Trail. And what a reward it is! The entire trail, although considered one of the easiest hikes in Glacier National Park, also offers some of the most spectacular scenery. The trail skirts several lakes and offers beautiful views of the Continental Divide, Mount Gould and three glaciers. The trail from the trailhead in Many Glacier Valley to Upper Glacier Lake is about six miles long. The trail gains about 1600 feet in altitude, but the climb is mostly gradual. Rangers regularly lead hikes to this location, but numerous visitors make the trek on their own each summer. Those who make the trip are rewarded with the sight of beautiful milk-white-to-turquoise Upper Grinnell Lake, a small glacier-fed lake that is always exceptionally cold. Few people attempt an end-of-trail swim in this cold little lake. The lakes and the glacier were named in honor of George Bird Grinnell, a naturalist who was instrumental in convincing Congress to establish Glacier National Park.

There are actually two Grinnell Lakes along the Grinnell Lake Trail, and visitors often confuse the two. Lower Grinnell Lake is a bit larger at 130 acres than Upper Grinnell Lake’s 77 acres. It is also a turquoise color from the glacial rock flour carried by the melt water that feeds it. When people refer to Grinnell Lake, they most often mean the lower lake. Lower Grinnell Lake holds some brook trout, whereas Upper Grinnell Lake has no fish. Occasionally fly fisherman head to Lower Grinnell Lake, but most people complete the hike so they can be rewarded by the sight of Grinnell Glacier, Salamander Glacier, and little Gem Glacier. Salamander and Grinnell glaciers were once connected, but melting has caused them to separate. A small back country campground is located near Lower Grinnell Lake, and a picnic area with bench and pit latrine located there make some people think they have reached the end of the trail. The trail goes on, however, to Upper Grinnell Lake nestled at the base of the Continental Divide.

The trailhead is located near the Many Glaciers Hotel, one of the few hotels built by the Great Northern Railroad in an effort to encourage tourism to the region. Completed in 1915, the hotel’s 214 rooms have hosted over half a million visitors to the eastern side of Glacier National Park since it opened. The National Historic Landmark maintains its sense of rustic history by not placing televisions in the rooms, the goal being to get people out of doors and into the Park. Major renovations recently have assured that the historic hotel will remain open to visitors for many more years. The Many Glaciers Campground is located near the trailhead. The hotel overlooks Swiftcurrent Lake, where the Grinnell Lake Trail begins. A tour boat cruises Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine, cutting almost two miles off the hike to Upper Grinnell Lake. Those wishing an easier trek can take the boat one way to the dock at the far end of Lake Josephine. Most hike the entire trail, however, which skirts Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine.

The first couple of miles of the trail are relatively flat ground as they pass the first two lakes. Then the trail gradually starts to climb as it follows Grinnell Creek upstream. On every side the views are spectacular and wildlife are abundant. The glaciers come into sight, then disappear behind peaks as hikers progress along the trail. Short side-trails lead to viewing points, and one trail leads to a spot where hikers can actually stand on the glacier. Those planning to camp must be aware of all regulations regarding primitive camping in the area and also remain aware that this is prime grizzly bear habitat. At times, the trail may be closed due to excessive grizzly activity in the area. Those unaccustomed to back country hiking will do best if they take one of the ranger-led treks, as the local rangers are experts on both the trail and the needs of inexperienced visitors. The experienced and more adventurous hiker can approach Grinnell Lakes the long way, from over the much longer and more strenuous Piegan Pass Trail across the Continental Divide.

Hikers looking for solitude will do better finding another trail. The Grinnell Lake Trail is one of the most popular in Glacier national Park and could almost be called crowded on busy summer weekends. There are numerous trails in the area with fewer visitors, but every back country hiker should be equipped with an excellent map and accompanied by a hiking buddy. The trails are open year-round, although Park services are closed in winter. Some of the easier trails are favorites for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, while a few experienced alpine skiers seek out some of the more remote slopes to test their mettle against the wilderness. Visitors also can find all sorts of lodgings other than campgrounds just outside the park, from motels to guest cabins to guest ranches and hunting camps. There are few towns of any size near the east side of Glacier National Park, so motels or guest ranches with restaurant or meal accommodations may be the best bet. Campers will need to plan on bringing many supplies with them.

If you only have one trip to Glacier National Park in your future, then Grinnell Lake Trail is a great option for experiencing both the mountains and the glaciers that cover many of them. Bring the hiking boots and the binoculars. They and the camera will be your most important supplies for this lovely 11-mile round trip hike.

*Statistics are for Lower Grinnell Lake.

Things to Do at Grinnell Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Grinnell Lake

  • Brook Trout
  • Trout

All About Grinnell Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Grinnell Lake

The Grinnell Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Grinnell Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Grinnell Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Grinnell Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Grinnell Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Grinnell Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

[get-post-images]

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 130 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,040 feet

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Grinnell Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Grinnell Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Grinnell Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Grinnell Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Grinnell Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

divider

Looking for the Grinnell Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Grinnell Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Grinnell Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Grinnell Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Grinnell Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Grinnell Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Grinnell Lake forum group? Click Here

New Grinnell Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam consequat a neque id hendrerit. Mauris ut commodo erat. Praesent at fermentum sem. Vivamus dui turpis, posuere sed auctor a, luctus semper nibh. Etiam quis neque vehicula, finibus sem sit amet, condimentum turpis….

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi