I decided to hike Grinnell Glacier on the morning I was leaving the park, and really wish I had done it on one of the previous days when I had more time. You can either hike 8 miles out to the glacier from the trailhead, or you can take a couple of shuttle boats over Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine from the Many Glacier Hotel. I think it cost around $20 per person, plus you get to hang out with a douchy tour group, if you’re into that sort of thing. Since I was lacking the time to do the complete hike, I opted for the boats. As I’m sure you can already guess, the boat is chalk full of older folks and their children. The boat itself was driven by a pothead college kid that I was certain was going to kill us and said the word “dude” a lot. He also kept pointing out bears on the mountainside that I’m 100% sure were just rocks.
As soon as the boats dropped me off I left the tour group on my own. They are slow as balls, so I suggest you do the same. Once I made it out to Grinnell Lake it was well worth it… I had the entire place to myself for about 30-45 minutes before the tour group caught up. Although I could see the glacier in the distance, I was sad I didn’t have the time to actually hike the extra 3 miles to get out to it. The tour group only goes as far as the lake. I did have time to run off on a side hike to Hidden Falls Overlook while waiting for the slow ass tour group, so that was at least a small bonus.
This was probably my second favorite hike on the trip, and might have been my favorite had I had the time to complete it. I will definitely be doing this one the right way when I return. Grinnell Lake is beautiful, and the water is a very bright aqua blue since it’s all runoff from the glacier above it. I wish my camera had caught the color better, but it’s pretty much one of those things you just have to see in person to believe.