Glacier National Park, Part 3: Grinnell Lake & Glacier (Sept 2017)


Oct 27, 2013
Glacier National Park

Part 3: Grinnell Lake & Glacier
September 11-12, 2017
Part 1 here
Part 2 here

I woke up in time to catch the sunrise at Rising Sun campground. The campground was closing for the season today, so we planned on packing up camp and moving on to explore the Many Glacier area.



Home sweet home.

The wind was blowing fiercely today, kicking up whitecaps on Saint Mary Lake.

View from the drive along the entrance road to Many Glacier


We arrived at the Many Glacier campground around 11am and were able to easily find an empty site, being a Monday morning the week after Labor Day. I'd been keeping an eye on the recent and historical campground fill times, so I knew we wouldn't have to be lined up at 6am to get a spot, but I didn't want to arrive much later than this. We had planned on using this as a mid-trip rest day, but the weather forecast called for rain and a cold front at the end of the week, so we decided to keep hiking while the weather was still nice. We compromised on an "easy" hike with little elevation change: Grinnell Lake. We were taking the boat shuttle for our hike to the glacier the next day, so today we decided to hoof it the entire way.

Looking up the series of lakes toward Grinnell Glacier.


There's the boat, in the lower right corner

Grinnell Lake would have been a richer turquoise color on a calm day, but the wind formed train after train of waves.



Suspension bridge across a creek on the hike back. Not really necessary today with the low water level and waterproof boots, but still fun!



I spotted this chipmunk jumping from branch to branch.

Caterpillar on the trail


The next day we saw much of the same area on the hike up to Grinnell Glacier, but we spared our legs a few miles and took the boat shuttle across the lakes.


View of Lake Grinnell from above. The wind was much calmer today.

Small fault and folds in the rock.

There's that turquoise water.

A small herd of bighorn sheep was hanging out along the trail.

This guy posed for a glamour shot.



The series of lakes

Made it to the top of the trail and Grinnell Glacier.


Glacial moraine


A reminder of the force of a glacier; it transported and dropped these boulders.


Interesting rock. A lower-energy environment depositing the layers of sandstone below, and a high-energy environment depositing the conglomerate on top.

Fossilized stromatolites (layered mounds formed by single-celled bacteria)

I heard a "ploop!" and looked up just in time to see the shiny piece of ice in the middle turn over in the water.

One more glacier shot.

Starting the hike down.


Our chariot awaits.

Grizzly bear! We had just hiked the trail behind those trees the previous day; good thing we didn't see him then.

Many Glacier hotel

Sunset over Swiftcurrent Lake


Grinnell Glacier was a great hike, but by far the busiest one we did the entire trip, with it being a popular hike for many of the hotel guests. Tomorrow we'd be back to having more solitude along the trail, for our final day of hiking.


Feb 7, 2015
I was pretty sure you had a Ptarmigan then @Jeffrey Chandler walked behind me and said Grouse. I don't think Grouse have the white areas yours seems to have. I love the tremendous lighting/smoke you captured.
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