Location: Mount Rainier National Park
Length, Round Trip: 7 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Minimum Elevation: 6385 feet
Maximum Elevation: 7400 feet
Elevation Change: 1015 feet
Best Season: Summer
The Burroughs Mountain Trail to First and Second Burroughs Mountain begins in Sunrise at an elevation of 6,385 feet. A loop hike heads on to a mountain plateau then along the Burroughs Mountain Ridge. The first few miles of this trail, from the north of south, are very popular, but beyond that you’ll find few hikers.
This trail description begins from the southern end of the Sunrise parking area. You can also hike north from Sunrise and complete the loop counter clockwise. Begin by hiking south heading towards Shadow Lake. The trail descends approximately from the parking area then contours the White River Valley wall. Within 0.5 miles of the parking area, the trail forks with the Wonderland Trail heading south to the White River Campground. Follow the right side of this fork to reach Shadow Lake.
Approximately 1.3 miles from the trailhead, you’ll reach Shadow Lake. Just west of the lake is a trail junction and Sunrise Camp. At this junction, follow the left fork west as it begins to ascend to a wide plateau of ancient volcanic flow. After about 0.25 miles from the trail junction is the Emmons Overlook. From this viewpoint you’ll be able to look down into the White River Valley at the moraine and foot of the Emmons Glacier. Across the valley stands Goat Island Mountain.
The Burroughs Mountain Trail continues heading west from the overlook and ascends the southern edge of the plateau. Beyond the overlook, the route continues up and onto the wide, flat plateau of First Burroughs Mountain, reaching a junction with the trail to Frozen Lake in 1.5 miles. The right side of the fork heads to the Frozen Lake Trail, which will be the return trip of the loop. Follow the left side of this fork to reach the summit of Second Burroughs Mountain. Another 0.5 miles leads hikers to Second Burroughs Mountain. The elevation of Second Burroughs Mountain is 7,400 feet. The trail continues west along the ridge descending almost 2,000 feet in the next two miles to join the Glacier Basin Trail along Inter Fork Creek.
To return to the trailhead from Second Burroughs Mountain, hikers can retrace their steps or follow the trail past Frozen Lake. To view different scenery, follow the trail heading to Frozen Lake. This trail will bring you to the northern side of the Sunrise parking area. From First Burroughs Mountain walk east along the ridge and pass the trail from Sunrise Camp. Initially, the terrain is flat but then begins to descend steeply to a trail intersection. Follow the trail to the right that heads to the south of Frozen Lake.
Just east of the trail intersection you’ll reach another junction. The trail leading to the right ends at Sunrise Camp. Follow the left side of the fork, which continues along the southern side of Frozen Lake then crosses its outlet stream. From this point, the trail remains level as it follows a ridge crest for 0.5 miles to the Huckleberry Creek Trail, which heads north. At this junction, follow the trail leading east (right). Shortly after reaching another high point, the trail forks again. Follow the right side of the fork and descend to the Sunrise Complex.
From the White River Entrance:
Drive west along White River Road 14 miles to the Sunrise Complex parking area. The trailhead is located on the south side of the parking area.