Day Hikes Many Glacier a Slow Hiker's Guide™


Many Glacier Thanksgiving sunrise 2004

many glacier thanksgiving sunrise 2004 glacier national park © shawn coggins

Many Glacier Day Hikes List

Opening info from my being there or in some cases from NPS Press Releases.

Many Glacier Trails Trail Map

Many Glacier Road opened on May 1, 2014.
Grinnell Glacier Trail didn't open till mid July in 2008. 2011 late opening records are continuing to be set as of 8-15-11 the Grinnell Glacier Trail still hasn't opened for the season. As of July 17, 2012 Grinnell Glacier Trail is only open for 2 miles.

Many Glacier is the hiking hub for a large number of trails in Glacier National Park. If your planning a day trip to Many Glacier you want to get there early at the trailheads the parking spaces become almost as rare as campsites in Many Glacier Campground on a weekend.

The snow filled notch in the center of the photo shows Grinnell Glacier in 1911, at that time the 'glacier' now called Salamander was the upper edge of Grinnell Glacier. These trails vary from some of the easiest in the park to one of the more strenuous hikes in the park. The Swiftcurrent Pass Trail has the distinction of being both. The first four miles of the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail are very easy, with the trail providing access to several lakes. After the first four miles be prepared to go UP! I've hiked the first four miles numerous times and have no intention of hiking the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail from Many Glacier to the Loop. When I plan a hike I always minimize the uphill and maximize the downhill. The Swiftcurrent Pass Trail can also be approached from the Loop to Granite Park Chalet and then up and over Swiftcurrent Pass.

One of the more famous trails that start from Many Glacier is the Grinnell Glacier Trail. It's not an easy trail, but the views along the trail and at the Grinnell Glacier Overlook are truly spectacular. It's worth hiking this trail to see Grinnell Lake from above. To that point the trail is fairly moderate in difficulty. Another reason for hiking the Grinnell Glacier Trail is that in a few years there won't be a glacier at the end of the trail. Glacier National Park's glaciers are vanishing at an accelerated rate. According to the USGS Grinnell Glacier lost 9% of it's surface area in 2006. From the Grinnell Glacier Trail you can see how glacier flur from Grinnell Glacier transforms the lake surface into a turquoise color. The lucky part is that spectacular view of Grinnell Lake is from a long section on the Grinnell Glacier Trail before the trail starts to get steep.

Black and White photo below was taken in 1911 for USGS. I've touched up some of the scratches.

atyln usgs 1907

A slow hikers guide™ to Glacier National Park Wildflowers
Available on iBooks wildflower book cover

A slow hiker's guide™ to Glacier National Park Wildflowers

Whitefish Pilot article on my Wildflower Guide.

Swiftcurrent Pass Trail and the Grinnell Glacier Trail are tough trails but both trails have the distinction of being fairly easy for the first four miles. For serious hikers the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park and it's centrally located campground provides a jumping off point for some of the most spectacular trails in Montana. The sheer number of repeat visits by hikers, and entire hiking clans, to the Many Glacier area, year after year, generation after generation make this area unique in the National Park System.

Many Glacier is not serviced by the free park service shuttle.
Many Glacier usually has the highest concentration and variety of wildlife in the park.
Many Glacier Trails are very good wildflower trails. A trip to Glacier National Park without visiting the Many Glacier area of the park would be a great loss for you as a visitor to Glacier Park. The views alone are worth the side trip to Many Glacier. Many Glacier is bear country.

Lake McDonald Area Trail Map

Logan Pass, St. Mary and Many Glacier Area Trail Map

Two Medicine Area Trail Map

North Fork Area Trail Map