Hike Sunrise Trails at Mount Rainier

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Spectacular views from any trail you choose to hike. Plethora of wildflowers in summer months, time depending on snow melt. Options to create challenging, long hikes or to keep it easy.

I grew up in Washington, but didn't get out to Mount Rainier until I came home for a visit years later. We took advantage of the nonexistent snowpack and headed up in mid-June, which is normally a terrible time to visit (think late summer). There are two main areas in the park, Sunrise and Paradise. Sunrise is less busy and less popular, so we started there.

For a mid-level day hike, head for Sourdough Ridge from the Sunrise parking lot. Stay left and go past Frozen Lake, staying on the trail that points directly at Mount Rainier towards Burroughs Mountains. You can stop at the stone bench on the top of the first at 7,000 feet, or continue on to the second at 7,400. Keep an eye out for mountain goats (those are the white ones, the sheep are brown and less exciting). Arriving on the top of the first Burroughs Mountain, you feel like you've basically made it to the foot of the glaciers.

Come down towards Glacier Overlook where you can see the White River below, and continue to pretty Shadow Lake and back to the trailhead. This side of the trail is riddled with wildflowers and an absolute must-see!

For detailed map of the hikes in the Sunrise area, check out the Nps.gov website.

Pack List

  • Trekking poles in case you encounter ice or snow
  • First aid kid including pain killers for altitude
  • Lots of water
  • Camera (duh)
  • Mosquito repellent (they were small but relentless)
  • Binoculars to spot wildlife
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Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1200 Feet

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Wildflowers

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