Lake Josephine is probably the easiest of all the backcountry lakes
in Glacier National Park to reach. Indeed, the only reason it is listed
as a backcountry lake is because you can't drive to it. To reach Lake
Josephine requires either a very easy one mile hike to its shore from
the Many Glacier Road or hopping aboard a boat to cross Swiftcurrent
Lake followed by a easy 200 yard hike.
Either way, Lake Josephine is easy to reach and its use reflects it.
The lake is very popular for hikers to stop and sit a spell along the
lakeshore. As hiking trails closely follow the lake on all sides, hikers
are a common sight along Lake Josephine. Yet, as far as fishing goes,
pressure is extremely light. Virtually all people who find their way
to this lake are hikers, either making a easy destination of the lake
or passing by the way the lake into the heart of Glacier National Park.
Lake Josephine is primarily a brook trout lake, with average sizes around
10 inches. Some kokanee salmon can also occasionally be caught. Virtually
any dry fly or attractor fly works well on Lake Josephine. While winds
can occasionally present casting challenges, the mountains give some
protection from the fierce winds that pound Lake Sherburne just to the
Lake Josephine, due to its easy access and moderate size, is a prime
place to take a float
raft or canoe. You can paddle across Swiftcurrent Lake and then portage
your craft 200 yards over to the shores of Lake Josephine. Since virtually
no one does this, you will very likely have the waters of the lake to
yourself. Instead of the portage, you can also paddle up the channel
that connects Lake Josephine to Swiftcurrent Lake.
The setting Lake Josephine is in is absolutely stunning. Mt. Gould,
Allen Mountain, and Grinnell Point all tower above the lake. Allen Mountain
and Mt. Gould both rise more than a mile in vertical height above the
lake. Additionally, an easy hike up to Grinnell Lake, which is fishless,
can also be done from Lake Josephine. Just go to the inlet of the lake
and follow the well-maintained trail for a truly beautiful sight. The Grinnell
Glacier Trail also parallels the lake on its way up to the beautiful
Several backcountry campgrounds are found near Lake Josephine. The Many
Glacier Campground is also found nearby, although it fills up quickly.
The Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake (less than 2 miles away)
also provides for a more luxurious lodging choice for those who are tired
While the whole area around Lake Josephine is prime bear country, you're
unlikely to see them due to the high amounts of people using the trails
around the lake - the bears will generally be found more around Grinnell
Lake and up the Grinnell Glacier
Trail. Still, you never know, so pay attention when fishing along
the shoreline of the lake.
Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National
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the right type of rain gear for Glacier Park
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