The Grinnell Complex

West Glacier, Montana 59921

The Grinnell Complex

The Grinnell Complex Professional Review and Guide

"Day hikes from Swiftcurrent Picnic Area. The Swiftcurrent Pass Trail follows the Swiftcurrent Valley past a chain of lakes to a steep ascent of the Continental Divide. This ascent to the pass is quite strenuous, but the trail is much easier if taken from other trails in the west toward the east. It may be attempted as a strenuous day hike or plugged into a more extended itinerary by linking up with the Highline Trail.

The trail begins at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and winds westward along the valley floor, among groves of tall aspen interspersed with lodgepole pine. The trail passes to the north of Fishercap Lake, which can only be glimpsed briefly through a few gaps in the vegetation."

The Grinnell Complex Reviews

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I hiked this from Logan Pass via the Highline Trail. I won't get into detail about Highline trail other than simply saying I had a very upclose encounter with a mountain goat and her kid about 2 miles in, also some marmot near Haystack Butte... Once you achieve the summit of the pass heading From Granite Park Chalet Back toward Many Glacier be aware of your surroundings as the wind really picks up speed atop the pass, but the views for the next 2+ miles are without doubt the most beautiful I've ever experienced in my life. Snowmelt waterfalls trickling into a valley between two ranges, feeding the pristine emerald chain of glacial lakes (and Redrock Falls in the far distance) below. I spotted a group of 10+ bighorn sheep on the side of the mountain opposite the trail before I reached the switchbacks descending into the valley. This part of the hike was in solitude, which I was longing for since hiking the Highline Trail, which had dayhiker traffic. Once I reached the valley the trail followed a small creek with a couple shallow crossings. About a mile after descending the switchbacks and reaching the valley I saw the highlight of my entire Glacier NP experience. An enormous fully grown male black bear crossed the trail about 15-20 feet in front of me. He foraged for a few minutes then crossed over the stream opposite me continued foraging and sniffed the air in my direction and moved on behind me. I have some very amazing pictures and video of this encounter along with all the other animal encounters from this hike. From here the trail has a very level grade and weaves it's way past Redrock Falls and Redrock Lake to Fisher Cap Lake, if you detour, taking one of a few spur trails (you can see the lake from the main trail) to the right from this direction heading toward Many Glacier, you can see a bull and cow moose feeding in the lake (At least it was the case summer 08). They fed there consistently in the same lake for the few days I was in the Many Glacier area.
What a hike! We made this hike late afternoon and although it was busy (you pass other hikers every 5 minutes or so this time of year), we saw a cow moose, a sow grizzly and cub in just the first hour of hiking through a beautiful wooded forest, along an alpine lake (Redrock) and it's Falls. The grizzlies seemed to be everywhere in Many Glacier. We saw 7 in 2 days of hiking including one that passed directly in front of us on the Iceberg Lake trail! If you go out early or late, be very prepared and carry bear spray if possible!
we saw a grizzly bear up close at the pass, but obviously it didn't bother us! going up to the lookout is a must -the views are incredible, as it's right in the middle of the park.

The Grinnell Complex Photos

Trail Information

West Glacier
Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Best Spring through Fall
Many Glacier
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018