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How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

Illinois
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7 posts
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How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

My husband and I (early 40s) are planning a September 2013 trip. I would love to see a glacier up close, so was thinking about the hike to Grinnel Glacier. I'll be honest-- I'm overweight and don't get a lot of physical activity. I hope to lose some weight by our trip with seeing a glacier as motivation.

I'm wondering just how difficult of a trip it would be for a 'non-hiker". We have been to Rocky Mountain National park and did do a trail to see a waterfall, but I don't think it was more than 2 miles. I just had to stop quite often and take breaks to catch my breath.

Would this be doable for me? I don't have trouble with long distances, just rises in elevation.

Your opinions are much appreciated.

Spokane, Washington
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for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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1. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

This is is a steady elevation rise and a 10-mi. trip in total. While you can certainly chose you own pace and the elevation is likely lower than where you were in Colorado, it is still a long pull. Often the return, down hill is as bad or worse for people. Practicing in advane on hill around your home will help you decide if you can get the level of fitness that gives you confidence.

Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

Motivation is a great thing! Buy a good pair of walking shoes and start traning now in he neighborhood, at lunchtime, etc. But you'll also need a good pair of hiking boots once you start training on the trails. Get out and walk as much as you can, but ease into distance and hills. Grinnell is a tough hike and there's a couple of steep sections. You'll need to carry a daypack with food and water too which adds extra weight. I would strongly recommend trekking poles, because as k2Kelley said the downhill can be tough, especially in the steep sections. Here's more detailed information about the hike:

www.hikinginglacier.com/grinnell-glacier.htm

You'll need to get your boat ticket at least a day in advance as Grinnel is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier and there's a ranger led hike there everyday.

You can do it!!

buffalo
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3. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

Grinnell Glacier has 1,700 feet of elevation gain....I'd compare that to how much gain the waterfall hike had in RMNP (though the altitude at RMNP makes it harder) and make a realistic guess at how difficult that it will be for you...

The good news is that you don't have to get all the way to the Glacier to get great views....

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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for Glacier National Park
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4. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

The two previous posters do not mention how exposed to sun most of the hike is. If it's a sunny day, it can be brutally hot which would make it even harder on a person who is struggling with the elevation gain. All the more reason to train for the hikes you will do in Glacier. You can always turn around at Grinnel Lake overlook and if getting up close and personal with a glacier is on your bucket list, visit the Columbia Ice fields in Alberta where you can take a coach ride on one.

Illinois
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5. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

Thanks for the replies! I just looked up the elevation gain for our RMNP hike and I grossly overestimated it-- a puny 200 feet! I have a long way to go since I struggled with that.

I do appreciate the time everyone took to respond. I'll stay motivated.

montana
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6. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

TropicalPool -- there are so many beautiful hikes that are within your comfort range, you won't be disappointed with the scenery regardless of the distance and elevation. "It's not the destination, it's the journey....."

Detroit, Michigan
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7. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

Gnp4me had a very good point, I thought I had researched the hikes in Glacier well, yet the exposure on most hikes there were surprising to me being used to hiking in the Smoky Mountains which are mostly wooded hikes. The only wooded hike we did was Avalanche Lake. Grinnell is a ridgeline hike, no shade to speak of, which does make it more difficult on a hot day which it was the day we hiked it. There is a waterfall you hike under near toward the end. That waterfall sure looked good, and could not wait for it on the way back.

Another good point, you don't have to go all the way to see Grinnell Lake and some outstanding scenery....

One outstanding hike 3 miles roundtrip you should have no problem with is Hidden Lake... fabulous scenery. The Waterfalls loop is also very nice and more covered with some shade

8. Re: How difficult is the hike to Grinnel Glacier

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