Hike description: Burroughs Mountain is one of Mount Rainier National Park’s most popular and spectacular trails with a view of alpine scenery and of the Mountain.
The trail starts on the south side of the parking lot at Sunrise, taking you down to Sunrise Camp. The trail then climbs to an overlook with views of the White River and Emmons Glacier. Continue on the ridge to First Burroughs Mountain, keeping a sharp eye out for a herd of mountain goats along the way. Continue hiking up to what appears to be tundra environment that is being restored – please stay on the trail to protect the vegetation.
Then on to Second Burroughs Mountain where the views are magnificent. Enjoy the views and the memorial to Edmond S. Meany, longtime president of The Mountaineers, before heading back to First Burroughs. The loop is closed by taking the trail to Frozen Lake and back to Sunrise. However, this last section, First Burroughs to Frozen Lake, crosses a steep snowfield that requires an ice ax until late August. When the snowfield is hazardous, retrace your steps back down to Sunrise Camp and then up to the parking lot. When you pass by Shadow Lake at Sunrise Camp you need to resist the temptation to swim, wade or fish. The small lake can be used as a water source (if you treat it) but it is for looking at, not getting in to.
Directions: Drive state Route 410 about 43 miles east of Enumclaw. Turn right at the Mt. Rainier National Park White River entrance. Take the road from the entrance up to Sunrise.
Difficulty rating: 3 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)
Miles round-trip: 5
Elevation: 1,200 feet
Best time of year: August-September
Map: Green Trails 270 - Mount Rainier East or GT 269S Mount Rainier Wonderland
Pass: Mount Rainier day or annual pass or equivalent
Also: The parking lot at Sunrise is at 6,400 feet , higher than we are used to in our everyday life around Puget Sound. Start out slowly to give your body a chance to adjust to the thinner air. A hat and sunscreen will offer the only protection from sun on this trip above tree line. Please stay on the trail as this is a fragile area. When the wild flowers are out the displays are spectacular. Restrooms at the White River entrance to the park and at the trailhead at Sunrise. The only water at Sunrise Camp is in Shadow Lake which must be treated. Hiking poles are helpful when crossing patches of snow.
Info: For current road and trail conditions, snow levels, and campground information: Mt. Rainier National Park, 360-569-2211; nps.gov/mora; “Day Hiking Mount Rainier,” Mountaineers BooksHike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee.