Grasshopper Glacier - Red Lodge
Information about Grasshopper Glacier is provided by Custer Gallatin National Forest.
Dr. J.P. Kimball, a mining geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, made the first recorded discovery and scientific exploration of the glacier. In 1914, local Forest Service officials sent grasshopper specimens from the glacier to the U.S. Bureau of Entomology for study. Scientists estimated the grasshoppers had been extinct for 200 years. Entomologists identified the specimens as migratory locusts "Melanoplus spretus, Thomas."
Years ago this species of locust was found in large numbers throughout the West. It is believed they became embedded in the ice when swarms of the migratory grasshoppers, passing over the high mountain range, became chilled or were caught in a severe storm and were deposited on the glacier. Ice and snow continued to build, and buried the grasshoppers into the glacial ice. Later melting of the ice exposed the embedded grasshoppers, permitting discovery of the phenomenon.
The Glacier, at 11,000 feet, is in the heart of the rugged, picturesque peaks of the Beartooth mountain range. It is approximately 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide. The glacier is receding from a length of more than four miles. To reach the Glacier, turn north off the Beartooth Highway (U.S. 212) about 2 miles east of Cooke City, Montana, near Colter Bay campground, onto the Lulu Pass-Goose Lake Road, #6493. This road is extremely rough. Suitable for high-clearance 4x4's, and is open only during the dry months of late July and August. This primitive road terminates at the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness boundary, and since mechanized travel is not permitted in the Wilderness, you must hike the remaining 4 miles to the glacier.
The trail follows the old road to the upper end of Goose Lake, then continues northeast to the saddle between Sawtooth Mountain and Iceberg Peak. As you reach the saddle between two peaks, you can see a snowfield; it should not be confused with the glacier. Go to the crest of the first rock ridge. From there you can see Grasshopper Glacier, which clings to the north side of Iceberg Peak. There are two other glaciers in the Beartooth Range that contain grasshoppers. Both are several miles to the east in the Lake Fork of Rock Creek drainage. One is named Hopper Glacier, and the other is also named Grasshopper Glacier. For more information call or visit or Beartooth Ranger Station located in Red Lodge, 406-446-2103