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Grinnell Glacier picture in Glacier National Park
GlacierNPS / Flickr

Details

  • Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
  • More than Full Day Time to Spend
3.9
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    2.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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Named for anthropologist and conservationist George Bird Grinnell, the Grinnell Glacier is one of the most-photographed attractions in the park. The Grinnell Glacier hike is a little more than 10 miles round-trip and, at the viewpoint, reaches 1,600 feet in altitude. Hikers can take a shortcut to the trailhead by using the Glacier Park Boat Company shuttle or catch the trailhead at various points including Logan Pass and the Many Glacier Hotel. If you want to park your car, a free shuttle service runs from all three visitor centers: Apgar, St. Mary and Logan Pass. The early morning boat shuttles from Lake Josephine or Swiftcurrent Lake are popular with hikers, as the boat ride trims several miles off the trail. Reserve a round-trip ticket in advance ($27.50 for adult; $13.75 for children). One-way return-only tickets are available on a space-available basis and can be purchased from the boat captain.

Most recent visitors called this daylong hike a "must-do" and loved the variety of wildlife, from bighorn sheep and mountain goats to marmots and bears. However, reviewers also warned that it's best for physically and aerobically fit individuals due to the altitude and difficult descent. Some suggested taking the boat tour to eliminate several miles of hiking. Many travelers recommended starting the hike early in the day, bringing bear spray, warm clothing and food and drinks, and wearing sturdy hiking shoes. The trail is typically open from early June through late September, depending on the amount of snowfall. Access to the trail is included in your park admission. For more information on day hikes, visit the NPS website.

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#1 Apgar Nature Center Housed in a small cabin built in 1929, the Apgar Nature Center sits in a grove of cedar trees and is one of the official park visitor centers. The nature ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

#2 Lake McDonald Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park, is the major hub of activity on the west side. Carved out by massive glaciers thousands of years ago, the valley is ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

Wirepec / Getty Images

#4 Going-to-the-Sun Road Going-to-the-Sun Road is a paved, two-lane highway that snakes through Glacier National Park, dividing the park into east and west regions and crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. One ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

#5 Logan Pass The visitor center at Logan Pass is located in the middle of the park off the Going-to-the-Sun Road, less than 20 miles west of the St. Mary visitor center and ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

#6 Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, and Glacier National Park partnered to create the world's first International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Both parks ... Read more » Wikimedia Commons

#7 Iceberg Lake Trail The Iceberg Lake Trail is a favorite among experienced hikers, who are treated to stunning views of Mount Wilbur, Iceberg Peak and the Continental Divide upon reaching the snow and ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

#8 Glacier Park Boat Company Tours This historic family-owned boat company dates back to 1938, when it became the first tour concession in the park. Its handcrafted wooden boats take visitors on narrated tours of Lake ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

#9 Grinnell Glacier Named for anthropologist and conservationist George Bird Grinnell, the Grinnell Glacier is one of the most-photographed attractions in the park. The Grinnell Glacier hike is a little more than 10 ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

#10 Highline Trail One of the most popular hiking trails in the park – and one of the most strenuous – the Highline Trail follows the Continental Divide and features stunning scenery of glacial valleys ... Read more » GlacierNPS / Flickr

Apgar Visitor Center picture in Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald picture in Glacier National Park
Trail of the Cedars picture in Glacier National Park
Going-to-the-Sun Road picture in Glacier National Park
Logan Pass picture in Glacier National Park
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park picture in Glacier National Park
Iceberg Lake Trail picture in Glacier National Park
Boat Tours picture in Glacier National Park
Grinnell Glacier picture in Glacier National Park
Garden Wall picture in Glacier National Park
Apgar Visitor Center picture in Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald picture in Glacier National Park
Trail of the Cedars picture in Glacier National Park
Going-to-the-Sun Road picture in Glacier National Park
Logan Pass picture in Glacier National Park
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park picture in Glacier National Park
Iceberg Lake Trail picture in Glacier National Park
Boat Tours picture in Glacier National Park
Grinnell Glacier picture in Glacier National Park
Garden Wall picture in Glacier National Park

Housed in a small cabin built in 1929, the Apgar Nature Center sits in a grove of cedar trees and is one of the official park visitor centers.  GlacierNPS / Flickr

Visitors love the glacial geography and the more than 130 lakes in Glacier National Park, especially Lake McDonald, the largest and most popular in the park. GlacierNPS / Flickr

The Trail of the Cedars features a raised boardwalk that passes through a fragrant, old-growth red cedar forest. Wirepec / Getty Images

The annual snow removal on Going-to-the-Sun Road every June often draws spectators. GlacierNPS / Flickr

Offering maps and trip-planning information, the Logan Pass visitors center features exhibits, restrooms, water fountains, a bookstore, ranger-led guided hikes, parking and free shuttle service to the other two visitor centers.  GlacierNPS / Flickr

In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, and Glacier National Park partnered to create the world's first International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Wikimedia Commons

The Iceberg Lake Trail is a favorite among experienced hikers, who are treated to stunning views of Mount Wilbur, Iceberg Peak and the Continental Divide.  GlacierNPS / Flickr

The Glacier Park Boat Company is the park's official rental concession for kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and rowboats at Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier, Two Medicine and Apgar GlacierNPS / Flickr

Named for anthropologist and conservationist George Bird Grinnell, the Grinnell Glacier is one of the most-photographed attractions in the park.  GlacierNPS / Flickr

The Highline Trail follows the Continental Divide and features stunning scenery of glacial valleys, alpine meadows and a famous ledge called the Garden Wall.  GlacierNPS / Flickr

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