The Glacier Park Boat Company has been directing tours across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lake for many years. These tours allow you to access Grinnell Lake and Hidden Falls, which are beautiful areas in the Many Glacier area. (The areas are also open to hikers, but the boat ride minimizes the distance.)
Tickets for the Many Glacier boat ride can be purchased online or right on the dock behind the hotel. Most people on standby were able to get on the boat the day we were there, but that is not always true during the busy season, so be prepared and book tickets in advance.
The enclosed boat circles around the shore giving you a chance to see otters, loons, and mergansers. We even spotted a snake swimming alongside the boat. Keep your eyes open along the shore.
The tour guides are very knowledgeable and friendly. They explained the history of the area, as well as answered all the questions from tourists. We were impressed with the young people running the boats.
One of the things we liked about the ride was that the boat crossed Swiftcurrent Lake and let us out. We took a short hike (only a quarter mile) to the shore of Lake Josephine and caught another boat. This one took us across the second lake to a trailhead. The trail was a one mile hike to Grinnell Lake, which was a beautiful ice cold lake. We spotted moose and ptarmigan along the way. There is also a short climb to Hidden Falls that branches off this trail.
Many people come just for the boat ride and don’t do the hike. If you do get off to hike, sometimes catching a ride back can be tricky because they only have so many spots on the boat. Depending on how many people get off, some hikers might have to wait for a few different boats to catch a ride back. You can always hike back to the hotel and skip the ride back. It’s 2.5 miles back to the Many Glacier Hotel. The final boat departs at 5:30 pm.
The Glacier Park Boat Company provides boat rides across 3 other lakes in Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, and Two Medicine. We enjoyed our boat ride in Many Glacier and hope to try another spot next time.
Tips for Families
- Buy tickets early. You can purchase online or by calling the Glacier Boat Company.
- Choose the boat ride best for you. We chose this ride specifically for the hike, but there are lots of options.
- For other ideas for exploring Glacier, visit our post on Glacier National Park.