by Diane Spicer
This description of spending your day at Mount Rainier hiking Burroughs Mountain paints a picture, but there's nothing like a visual presentation of the splendor of this hike.
So this trail review will include written words, photos and a video!
Drive 14 miles and climb to 6400 feet on the Sunrise Road, accessed via the Sunrise/White River turnoff on Highway 410.
You will pass through a ranger checkpoint, which collects a fee.
Park in the spacious and paved parking lot.
This place becomes a zoo in high summer, so park well away from the visitor's center and bathrooms so you can get your gear on and off without getting sucked into the circus.
You'll head off toward The Mountain (Rainier) from the NW corner of the Sunrise parking lot.
You need to check off this sequence of destinations before you get to the real trailhead:
Statistics for round trip: (approximate)
Here's what you get for your effort!
Burroughs Mountain, on Mount Rainier's northeast slope, is actually a three-for-one hike.
You can start at the Sunrise entrance parking lot, ascend to First Burroughs, and call it a day with your hiking pride intact.
But why not be lured even closer to big beautiful Rainier?
Second Burroughs will cost you a few more calories, and reward you with views like this one:
Still itchy for more?
Drop down from Second Burroughs, hike across the plateau on a well established trail, and wind your way up to the flank of Third Burroughs.
Losing elevation may discourage you, but hiking across "the tundra" this close to a major urban center (Seattle) is a thrill.
Your reward for achieving Third Burroughs is the chance to sit on a big pile of rocks and gaze at THE big pile of rock's every contour and nuance.
Time your hike so you have plenty of daylight to enjoy the roar of glacier melt, the whisper and howl of the wind, the caress of sunshine - you'll be working hard to take it all in.
If you're used to sea level hiking, the elevation at the Sunrise parking lot might get your attention with a bit of wheezy breathlessness.
As you ascend from the five-way trail junction at Frozen Lake, you will face one of two scenarios:
In both scenarios, there is exposure on your right hand side. However, the trail is wide enough that you can ignore it while you place your attention on each upward footstep.
In windy and/or wet weather, or in reduced visibility, this hike just isn't worth your time. Play it safe and choose a different hike.
John Burroughs was a naturalist who put pen to paper to share his thoughts about the importance of nature in a human being's life.
This corner of Mount Rainier National Park is a geologic and botanical oddity. The tundra-like terrain is extremely fragile so this is one place to really stick to the trail!
I assume this is not a rhetorical question, so will simply provide a list to answer it:
There are also options for a loop in a Rainier hiking Burroughs day hike via the Burroughs Loop Trail.
Drop off Second Burroughs to descend 1900 feet in 1.4 miles to Glacier Basin.
If you're putting together your wish list of Mount Rainier day hikes, and aren't sure whether or not to include Burroughs Mountain on it, drop me a line with your questions.
Rainier Hiking Burroughs Mountain
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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