Hiking Mount Rainier National Park
by Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset (Falcon Guides)
© Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We started our hike at 7:15 AM at Sunrise, just after sunrise. We were the fifth auto in the lot. By the time we returned from third Burroughs at 2:45 PM the lot was filled to capacity and the last several miles of trails were like a downtown Seattle sidewalk... not exactly the commune with the wild we had envisioned.
The trail is well marked and well maintained to the second peak. Most of the large snow fields have melted by mid July, but there were two steep crossings: one on the approach to second Burroughs and one on Sunrise Ridge--the alternate route returning from first Burroughs.
The last leg to third Burroughs, where the truly spectacular views are to be had, can be something of a scramble, particularly when snow or loose volcanic gravel are undermined by melt water. After lunching at the summit we slid down the middle snow field on our jackets.
A truly unique tundra-like environment with panoramic views of the central and north cascades including Glacier, Baker, and Shuksan peaks. From the summit of third Burroughs you peer down on the crevasses of and terminal moraines of Emmons and Winthrop glaciers on either side of you. Plenty of marmots, pikas, and mountain goats inhabit the high meadows, which bloom brilliantly in July and August. We even saw a few hummingbirds at nearly 8,000 ft.
This was a great trail, fairly easy, some snow traversing, but well marked. Beautiful views of Mt. Rainier, mt. goats, and human climbers. Take your binoculars.
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