My Top 10 National Park Hikes (over 6 miles)
I completed the list of my Top 10 Short National Park Hikes over a month ago, so I guess it’s about time I start the list of my favorite longer hikes. This list will focus on hikes over six miles long.
You probably noticed by now that I love the National Parks and like making lists. In addition to the list of my favorite shorter National Park hikes, I have previously made lists of my Top Ten National Parks, Top 20 Things to See in the National Parks, Top Ten Waterfalls, My Bucket List, and Ten Places You Should Visit Before You Die. So yeah, I enjoy writing these blog posts. I hope you enjoy them, too.
Let me know if you agree with me, want to add other hikes, or want to try some of these out.
My list so far…
10. Mount LeConte – Great Smoky Mountains National Park
9. Cape Alava – Olympic National Park
8. Half Dome – Yosemite National Park
7. Siyeh Pass – Glacier National Park
6. Cascade Canyon – Grant Teton National Park
5. Plateau Point – Grand Canyon National Park
4. Highline Trail – Glacier National Park
3. Mist Trail (to Nevada Fall) – Yosemite National Park
2. The Figure 8 – Bryce Canyon National Park
1. Grinnell Glacier – Glacier National Park
Location: The Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, in northwest Montana.
Distance: Around 11 miles.
Elevation change: 1,600 feet.
Difficulty: On my totally subjective scale from a 1-10 (10 being the hardest) I would give it a 7.
Wildlife: The Grinnell Valley is full of wildlife. I have seen rams, moose, and grizzly bears. I’m sure there are mountains goats out there, too, but I surprisingly haven’t seen any on this trail.
Brief Description: All of the hikes on my top ten list are great hikes, but this one is simply amazing. There are a couple of different trailheads, but I recommend the one at the picnic area on the west side of Swifcurrent Lake. That will set you on a course to have nonstop views from start to finish. You will pass three beautiful subalpine lakes, then make a steep climb up the side of a mountain. Fantastic views will open up of the Grinnell Valley the higher up you go. Eventually you will reach Upper Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier. There will be ice bergs floating in the tiny lake.
Highlight of the hike: There are a lot of highlights on this one. There’s the up-close view of the glacier, the view of the turquoise Lower Grinnell Lake from high above it, the views of the entire Grinnell Valley with its multi-colored lakes, and the likely wildlife sightings.
Tips: Make a lot of noise while hiking and hike in a group if possible, since you are definitely in grizzly country. Go all the way to the glacier (some people skip the final climb). There is also a boat ride from the Many Glacier Hotel you can book if you want to shave a few miles off the hike.
I have hiked this trail twice in its entirety. You can read about my first time hiking the trail here. I also hiked to Lower Grinnell Lake another time there, but that wasn’t nearly as nice of a hike as the more strenuous hike to the glacier. I also wrote about watching the sunset on Swiftcurrent Lake from the Many Glacier Hotel’s deck.