Hike the Burroughs Mountain Trail
Washington › Burroughs Mountain Trail, Mount Rainier National Park
Added by Sarah Vaughn
- Stunning views of Mount Rainier
- Wildlife sightings including Goats & Marmots
- Views of Frozen Lake & Shadow Lake
- 6 mile hike roundtrip to Second Burroughs
- 9 mile hike roundtrip to Third Burroughs
- Food & Beer awaiting you at the end
The Burroughs Mountain Trail comes from a series of trails out of the Sunrise Area. First piece of advice is to set your alarm clocks! The parking lot and trails get busy quite quickly, especially in the summer.
From the parking lot you will start by taking the Sourdough Ridge Trail up to Frozen Lake. Once at Frozen Lake you will follow the trail to the First Burroughs Mountain peak with about 900ft elevation gain and reaching 7000ft. On your way up be sure to look down towards the Wonderland Trail for some mountain goats as they are prevalent along the trail!
After climbing an additional 400ft you will arrive at the Second Burroughs peak (7400ft). A very tundra-looking landscape somewhat reminiscent of something out of a Lord of the Rings movie, it gives you absolutely stunning views of Rainier. This is also a nice place to take a break before setting out to the Third Burroughs. Keep an eye out for some of the friendly marmots and chipmunks that dot this and the other peaks.
Eventually it will be time to soldier on to the Third Burroughs (at 7800ft). Up here you will be rewarded with even closer views of this amazing volcano!
Heading back chose to take the Sunrise Trail at the junction with the First Burroughs Mtn. to take you by the Glacier Overlook and Shadow Lake. Once back in Sunrise, stop in to the Lodge for a cold Rainier brew and Chili Cheese Dog to give yourself a perfect end to a perfect day hike!
- Concentrated Map of Sunrise Area Trails (Available upon entry to park)
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Close Encounters from Third Burrough
Burroughs Mountain has three summits – First, Second and Third Burroughs. You can hike the Burroughs Mountain Trail up and back, or make a loop like our hiking group did. ASCENT: Sunrise Rim Trail from the Sunrise parking lot, which briefly connects with the Wonderland Trail (near Shadow Lake) and then to Burroughs Mountain Trail. DESCENT: Burroughs Mountain Trail to North Burroughs Mountain Trail (near Frozen Lake) and finally Sourdough Ridge Trail back to Sunrise parking lot. It was a surprisingly cold and windy morning with little to no view of Mount Rainier for the entire morning. The weather can fluctuate greatly at this elevation – come prepared with plenty of warm layers and rain gear. The trail was snow free and climbs steadily up the rocky terrain. Trail is in good condition and the traffic was very light. The terrain is quite barren and you are fully exposed when the clouds break. Be sure to bring extra sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water on sunny days. You reach the open top of First Burroughs Mountain at roughly 7,000 ft. 1/2 mile later you reach Second Burroughs (7,400 ft), a popular destination for most day hikers. The push to the third and final point is worth it, especially if the weather cooperates and you have a view of Mount Rainier and beyond. We were VERY fortunate that the mountain "came out to play", just as we arrived at the intersection. **NOTE: There is no official sign for Third Burroughs (or the First and Second that I saw). You will come to a sign that says Burroughs Mountain Trail with arrows directing both ways - and you will see a path to your right leading up toward Mount Rainier. Take this path to your right, or you will descend quickly toward Glacier Basin Trail. The remainder of the trail up to Third Burroughs remains steep amid the tundra-like environment. We crossed one small snow field - perfectly safe (but other times of the year, be careful). Third Burroughs Mountain, standing just over 7,800 ft elevation, provides the perfect perch for stunning views of Mount Rainier! Emmons and Winthrop Glacier, Little Tahoma and the endless amount of sights are also bound to amaze. I found it very interesting to see the vast evidence of volcanic activity – much more prevalent than the Paradise side of the mountain. Found it hard to leave Third Burroughs, but deliberately stopped for glimpses of Rainier from many different angles on the descent. Traffic and crowds increased as the day went on. Enjoyed completing the look by hiking Sourdough Ridge Trail down to a busy Sunrise parking lot.
Awesomeness of Mt. Rainier
I've done this hike several times and am thrilled that someone with average fitness can do it. The first time I went with my husband, I was in total AWE of this gorgeous HUGE mountain. Until you stand this close (on it!) you have no idea how massively wonderful it is. I need to schedule another trip...
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