Reminiscing about Hiking Grinnell on My 50th Birthday
12 years ago this July, my family and I hiked Grinnell Glacier, If you haven’t been to Glacier National Park, this place should be on the top of your bucket list. I couldn’t have imagined anything so beautiful!
My husband & kids decided to make last minute arrangements to take a road trip to Glacier National Park, during the week of my 50th birthday. My son just graduated high school, my daughter was home from college and her boyfriend was also home from college, they all wanted to hike Grinnell Glacier.
I must say I was hesitant, considering my level of athleticism which was NONE. But I was willing to be adventurous, turning 50 made me want to challenge myself.
A new experience, scary and exciting. Since we didn’t plan this trip in advance(a week at most) if we had, I might have walked around the block a few times to prepare for this hike.
We only had enough time to buy some new sleeping bags a tent and good hiking shoes, before hitting the road to Glacier National Park, from Northern Michigan (approx 3 days, stopping now & then to rest, taking turns driving).
We made it to Grinnell Glacier, it is on the eastern side of the park, nearly 20 miles from the east entrance. We got our first stance of nature just after entering the Glacier Park.
The route from the entrance to the Many Campground was breathtaking. We did stop the car a few times just to take in all the beauty of the track (and also clicked on lots of pictures).
On this path, we also came across the beautiful going-to-the-sun road.
We were lucky to get a campsite on the river in Many Campground! So Lucky! Camping amidst the woods rather than lodging out in a hotel or in an RV was absolutely spectacular. I would highly recommend staying in tents in this amazing campground.
The next day, July 28, 2006, to be exact, was a very hot day, we started our trek to the Grinnell Glacier which is about 11 miles for a round trip with altitude just over 1600 ft. You can skip around 3 miles by taking the boat trips for crossing the lakes.
We decided not to take the boat to Grinnell, instead, we walked from our campsite in The Many Glacier (about a 1/4 mile) to the trail of Grinnell Glacier.
The hike began with a nice easy path. Plenty of hikers were going uphill, while few were trekking down. But we let everyone go forward (my pace being not so good). My husband & kids, who are all athletes, slowed their pace to stay with me.
The trail was along the shoreline of Swiftcurrent Lake and the Josephine lake. The sights of both the lakes are simply stunning.
After covering a certain distance, the ascend got steep, letting us quickly gain good elevation. Once we reached a certain height, which is after the switchback towards Grinnell lake, the trail offered some mesmerizing views of all the lakes alongside the trail. Finally, we made it up to the upper Grinnell lake after hours of hiking (at least I felt so). The scenery was overwhelmingly breathtaking! The lake was still covered with ice and some parts were melted with blue/turquoise water.
We took a nice break there and clicked quite a few pictures (as we did all along the route). After taking a much-needed rest, we started descending so that we get down well within the time of sunset. It took about 8 hours for the entire trek.
By the end of the hike, I simply laid on the ground while my husband went to get the car; I could not go one more step. I even got a pine sap in my hair from laying under a pine tree waiting for my husband. And today, we all still laugh thinking about that day. I just loved the entire experience of hiking Grinnell Glacier and to be able to share it with my family, I am forever grateful.
I just want to say that I am not an athlete or an experienced hiker, rather more of a couch potato, but I did it! If I can do it, anybody can. Great experience!
Even though I wanted to call 911 at the top of the mountain, I survived and had the Best Birthday ever.
About Grinnell Glacier Grinnell Glacier is the place one must surely visit, I am telling it from my own experience.
I was a bit skeptical about treks and glaciers earlier but after my own hiking to this place, I have definitely changed my point of view. Grinnell Glacier is a beautiful place and the trekking for this trail is around 11 miles round trip. In this blog, I will tell you more about this glacier.
Let’s start by knowing how you can reach here. The nearest airport to the Grinnell glacier of Glacier national park in Montana is in Kalispell. This glacier is located on the eastern side of the Glacier National Park. You might need a 35 dollar 7-day permit for entering the Glacier National Park. The rundown of the Grinnell glacier trek is of 10.6 miles in the round trip.
The trek begins from the Grinnell glacier trailhead; however, many can skip at least 3.4 miles of their trek by opting for the boat trip across Josephine lake and Swiftcurrent Lake. Normally, I suggest you take the whole trek, as the woods are worth looking at and this is, of course, one-time experience in the lifetime.
In addition, you do not save any time while taking the boat ride across the lakes. However, if you choose to take the boat ride, then be ready to pay around 26 dollars per person.
When To Plan – August is the best time to visit this glacier; however, you can visit anytime from July to September. The hiking season here is too short because it is normally covered in heavy ice.
The road normally preferred, going-to-the-sun does not open until late June; this is one of the reasons why you should think of visiting Grinnell Glacier in the August month.
Wildlife – Black bears and Grizzly consider glacier park as their home. So there are the lot of chances that you might come across wildlife during your trek. Therefore, it is always advised to carry bear sprays along and learn how to use them in the hour of need.
In addition, learn to make the noise to distract bears and trek in large groups. You might also come across friendly mountain goats; however, do not go too close to them.
This is all you need to know for starters before planning your hike to the Grinnell Glacier. An extra tip for the first-time trekkers, pay special attention while backpacking. Always keep insect repellents, water filters, camera gear, compass, trekking poles, a first-aid kit, sun protection, and the extra pair of clothes handy.
Be prepared and enjoy this wonderful hike to the Grinnell glacier and savior of the beautiful journey and the paranormal raw beauty of this landscape.
Glacier National Park has become a tourist attraction these days, and more and more people are attracted towards the rawness and beauty of the melting glaciers.
But while planning for this adventurous trek, people normally come across the problem of lodging. The natural park holds five hotels for lodging where you can have a relaxed night stay. But I would recommend camping in the national park rather than staying in the motels.
The Many Campground can serve as a better option if you are planning for a hike in Grinnell glacier.
Many Campground The many campgrounds are situated on the eastern side of the Glacier National Park. It is nearly 22 miles away from the eastern entrance and the St. Mary town.
The campground is at an elevation at about 4500 feet. There are 62 campsites in this area for first-come-first-serve, and 41 sites for advance reservations. The reservations during the peak season are almost full, so the best chance of camping is by coming as early as you can.
Facilities There are basic facilities available at the campgrounds. Potable drinking water is available throughout the campground; you have to share it with others.
Restrooms are available with flush toilets and running water sinks. Each campsite has a fire grate and a picnic table. Some campsites are generator free for quitter ambiance, while others have limited hours for generator usage. Most the campsites are shaded as they are in the forest area.
Within walking distance of the many campgrounds, you can have access to the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Here you will find a camp store, some groceries, gift shop, coin-operated showers, as well as the restaurant with special concessions. These campsites are best suited if you are planning to go for day hiking or overnight backpacking.
It has amazing trails, and the Going-to-the-sun road adds the beauty to this special place. In addition, you should prefer the campground because the trail to the west side starts at a more elevation; whereas from here, just within shorter ascent, you will be already at the scenic areas.
The Many campgrounds are ideally located amidst the forest area, and so there are frequent visits of wildlife, especially the wild bears and grizzly. You have to be extra careful around these animals and carry bear spray along for any such encounters.
Always roam or hike in larger groups to stay away from facing these wildlife animals. I preferred camping, and we chose to camp in a tent in Many Glacier along the river. My experience was just amazing. I can surely say as it is the best campground in the Glacier national park.
Today, we own a 5th wheel RV but still given a choice, I will choose camping. Experiencing camping at the age of 50 was the best birthday gift I can give myself. Now, even after years, when I sit around with my family, we always end up talking about the camping and trekking experience in the Glacier National Park. All About the Glacier National Park Majestic, mountainous, wild beauty is how one can describe Glacier National Park. The first-time visitors are always stunned by this beautiful scenic place, and others have definitely visited this place again after being smitten with its nature and rawness. The glaciers and the geological features of this place makes is a must on the bucket list.
All those who are looking for glacier trekking or camping can mark this place, even if they are short on the number of days. The glacier national park is a pure tourist attraction, and here I have tried to sum up all the information that one needs to know for planning a trip to these beautiful glaciers.
It is said that this national park was once home to more than 100 glaciers, but due to environmental changes, there are quite a few remaining now. However, you can enjoy these glaciers, especially the Grinnell glacier.
Activities To Do Here – This national park has a large area under its belt and so there are many outdoor recreation activities to do here.
- You can take a drive of this scenic road, especially the Going-to-the-sun road.
- This place is ideally famous for trekking, so you can plan for trekking through the iceberg lake, Piegan pass, and Swiftcurrent pass. This park hosts around 700 miles of trekking trails.
- You can go on horse riding if you are fond of it.
- Some other activities include cross-country skiing, boat tours, boating, camping, wildlife viewing, hiking, canoeing, and biking
When To Visit? Best time considered to visit Glacier National Park is between June to September; August being the peak season, as the glaciers just start melting down and a good warmth spreads all over the region making the place more favorable to visit.
There is a well-thought lodging facility available at the glacier national park.
The park manages five hotels around the entire area naming Lake McDonald Lodge, Village Inn Motel, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, Rising Sun Motor Inn, and Many Glacier Hotel (a preferable hotel if planning to trek the Grinnell glacier).
Fees And Passes – If you are visiting the Glacier National park by your car, then you need to buy a 7-day park permit costing you around 35 USD. However, if you entering the park on foot or by the bike, then a single entry pass might cost you 20 dollars, and 30 dollars if you are entering on a motorcycle.
Things To Carry Along – This is a wildlife park, where you will find bears in common, so it is safe to carry bear sprays and learn how to use them. This is necessary for being safe in this national park, as wild bears considered it as their home. Consider also carrying insect repellants with you. Along with this, keep your camera gear, rain gear, water, first-aid kit, and trekking poles handy.
Apart from this, try packing anything you think you will be needing while staying in the wildlife national park. It is also recommended that you carry winter clothes, as the climate at the glacier national park might change without prior notice. Glacier National Park should definitely be on your to-do list. If you don’t hike, go just experience the beauty.
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