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If There's One Hike You Do in Your Life, Make It This One

By: Grant Marek

As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

And this hike, consequently, will get you JACKED.

That's because it will almost kill you. Located inside Montana's Glacier National Park, the Grinnell Glacier Hike starts unassumingly -- you board a boat at Many Glacier Hotel's dock (you can score an express one as early as 8am, just make sure you secure tickets in advance) that takes you across Swiftcurrent Lake, get off the boat, hike 400 yards, and board a SECOND boat that takes you across Lake Josephine.

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From there, the actual hike begins: you're looking at a 7.6-mile round-tripper with 1,840 feet of elevation gain through the most bear-inhabited region of the contiguous United States. More than HALF of the bears in the lower 48 live in Montana. They estimate anywhere from 1-to-4 bears for every square mile in the park.

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The payoff, though -- if you don't get mauled -- are views like ^^^^ this ^^^^.

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Once you wind through a host of switchbacks and a mountain hugging trail that offers pit stops at mini waterfalls where you can dunk your hat/head/mini-dinosaur-sponge-that-expands-once-it-touches-water, you'll arrive at Upper Grinnell Lake which's home to Grinnell Glacier.

And then you'll stand there.

For a long time.

Just taking it all in.

Then, because it'll probably be in the high 70's, low 80's if you're hiking during the summertime, you'll lose the layers and cannonball your way into the lake, which sits at just above freezing.

Then you'll yell a whole buncha f-bombs because IT'S JUST ABOVE FREEZING, then make your way out, warm up in about 1 minute, and head back down the mountain to your return boat (miss the final one at 5:15pm and you're gonna be hiking an extra couple miles back to the hotel).