There are many glacial lakes in Glacier Park. Glacier Park Boat Company offer scenic boat tours on 5 of the larger lakes. Tours are offered on Lake McDonald, Saint Mary Lake, Two Medicine Lake, and then a dual lake tour on Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine in the Many Glacier area. Our favorites are the tours on Two Medicine Lake and the dual lake tour on Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine.
You can catch the Two Medicine boat tour on the northeast shore of Two Medicine Lake near the Two Medicine Campground and Camp store – just over an hour’s drive from Smoky Bear Ranch. There you’ll climb aboard the Sinapah, an historic old wooden vessel. The first part of the tour takes you along the northwest side of the lake as the guide draws your attention to points of interest and explain how Two Medicine Lake got its name from the Blackfeet Indian Tribe. When you dock at the head of the lake, you can stay on the boat and continue your tour along the southeast side of the lake or you can disembark to do a hike on your own or with a guide.
The short hike of .9 miles into Twin Falls – a pair of falls separated by an island in mid-stream – is well worth it. You can do this hike on your own or with the guide. The guided hike will take about 2½ hours. Or you can take the 2.2 mile hike through sparse forests to the foot of Upper Two Medicine Lake. Upper Two Medicine Lake is surrounded by sheer peaks – Pumpelly Rilla, Mount Helen, Lone Walker Mountain, and Mount Rockwell. It’s a good lake for fishing and there is a back country campground at the foot of the lake if you want to make it an overnight trip. Once you return from your hike(s), you climb back onto the Sinapah to complete your tour along the southeast side of Two Medicine Lake.
The boat tour on the lakes at Many Glacier starts at the Many Glacier Hotel on the northeast end of Swiftcurrent Lake – about a 3 hour drive from Smoky Bear Ranch. There you will climb aboard on the Chief Two Guns for your tour along the northwest side of Swiftcurrent Lake. At the head of Swiftcurrent Lake you will disembark for the short ¼ mile hike over the hill to Lake Josephine where you will board the Morning Eagle. The Morning Eagle will take you along the northwest side to the head of Lake Josephine. There you can stay on the boat and complete the tour along the southeast sides of both Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake or you can disembark to do a hike on your own or with a guide.
The short .8 mile hike to Grinnell Lake which sits at the base of Grinnell Falls cascading down from Grinnell Glacier above. You can do this hike on your own or with a guide. Or you can take the 7 mile round trip hike to Grinnell Glacier. This is a moderate hike with 1600 foot elevation gain in 3½ miles. Once the trail to Grinnell Glacier opens – usually around the middle of July – Glacier Park Boat Company offers a hikers only early departure with a guided hike from the head of Lake Josephine up to Grinnell Glacier. Make sure you arrive back to the head of Lake Josephine to catch the last boat or you can hike the 2.5 miles back to Many Glacier Hotel.
Happy boat touring and hiking. Don’t forget your bear spray as bears are known to inhabit both these hiking areas.