While hiking the Skyline Trail in Paradise earlier in the day we heard from a backcountry ranger that heavy rain was moving into the area later that night, and would continue into the next day. As a result we made some changes to our plans and decided to hike the Burroughs Mountain loop that afternoon, instead of the next morning. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Sunrise roughly two hours later, Mt. Rainier was already socked-in with heavy clouds from about 11,000 feet and above.
No worries, though. The Burroughs Mountain loop still offers big expansive views in all directions throughout almost the entire route.
The hike begins near the Sunrise Visitor Center. It starts off with a relatively steep climb, but you’ll have an awesome view of Mt. Rainier off to your left, if the weather permits.
At the top of the climb you’ll reach what is known as First Burroughs Mountain. The name is the result of there being three “summits” on the mountain. On this alpine tundra plateau, at roughly 7160 feet in elevation, you’ll have outstanding views of Emmons Glacier and Little Tahoma Peak. Also at the top is the Sunrise Rim Trail junction, a trail you’ll use to continue your loop hike on your return trip.
At 4.8 miles hikers will reach the Wonderland Trail. You’re also likely to notice the Sunrise Camp shelter, which was built for backpackers section-hiking or thru-hiking the entire 93-mile Wonderland Trail. Hikers should turn right here to continue on towards Sunrise. Just past the Wonderland Trail junction is another fork in the trail. The short side trail on the left leads to Shadow Lake, while the right fork continues on towards Sunrise.
After completing the 6.2-mile loop the hike ends at the Sunrise parking area. Although the weather wasn't optimal that afternoon, I would still rate this as an outstanding hike.
Trail: Burroughs Mountain
RT Distance: 6.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1425 feet
Max Elevation: 7402 feet
TH Location: Sunrise
Map: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails Illustrated Map
Day Hike! Mount Rainier uncovers the best trails for the day tripper, whether you’re a newbie hiker or a veteran with hundreds of miles on your boots. Northwest outdoors expert and Seattle Times's Trail Mix columnist Ron Judd reviews more than 50 of the best day hike trails in Mt. Rainier National Park, from Paradise and Sunrise to the lower foothills. The book describes classic routes - from easy to moderate to extreme - giving hikers the choices they want.