Burroughs Mountain Trail

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Distance4.3mi
Elevation Gain1,019ft
Trailhead Elevation6,250ft
Top7,176ft
Elevation Min/Max6249/7176ft
Elevation Start/End6250/6250ft

Burroughs Mountain Trail

Burroughs Mountain Trail is a hiking trail in Pierce County, Washington. It is within Mount Rainier National Park. It is 4.3 miles long and begins at 6,250 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,019 feet. The Glacier Overlook viewpoint and Burroughs Mountain (elevation 7,392 feet) can be seen along the trail. The trail ends near the Sunrise Camp site. There are also restrooms near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the following: Sunrise Trail, Wonderland Trail, Shadow Lake Trail, Sourdough Ridge Trail, Burroughs Loop and Mount Fremont Lookout Trail.

Burroughs Mountain Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (The Mountaineers Books)
Joan Burton
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"Burroughs Mountain is so close to Mount Rainier’s gigantic north side glaciers it seems to run right into them—in fact, it looks down on their lower paths to crevasses and around the corner to the base of Willis Wall. Some seasons, snow patches linger late on the trail and are very dangerous, so call ahead to ask the ranger if the snow is gone. Sometimes they are perilous even when the trail is legally “open.” The trail is wide and, aside from the patches, smooth and well maintained. There may be an icy wind, so be sure to carry extra clothing for the summit." Read more
Best Wildflower Hikes Washington (The Mountaineers Books)
Art Kruckeberg with Karen Sykes & Craig Romano
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"Most visitors come to Sunrise to see Mount Rainier, but many hikers know that the other attraction at Sunrise is the wildflower display that begins in mid-June and extends through the summer. Several nature trails take off from the parking lot, but if you have time for only one hike, Burroughs Mountain is suggested. Burroughs Mountain is unusual because this region verges on a tundra-like environment. Here, trees that look “young” are actually hundreds of years old. Their growing season is short and conditions are harsh. In addition to flowers, this trail offers views of Mount Rainier, glaciers, moraines, and the White River valley." Read more
Day Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park (The Mountaineers Books)
Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer
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"This route offers more than just wonderful wildlife viewing. The trail atop Burroughs Mountain provides hikers outstanding views of the northeast face of Mount Rainier. Little Tahoma can be seen flanking Rainier, and the tower-topped peak of Mount Fremont stands to the north. Closer at hand, marmots and pikas dash between the rocks along the trail. Mountain goats can be found showing off their agility on the sides of the local peaks. And raptors—from lightning-fast peregrines to massive golden eagles—soar overhead. All in all, the views and the local wildlife make this loop an unbeatable day hiking option for hikers young and old." Read more
"Starting from the highest paved parking lot in Washington State, the Burroughs Mountain loop wastes no time in getting to a mountain realm of alpine tundra, bare rock, and snow. Spectacular views of Mount Rainier start immediately and only get better. The top is a table set for two, with just you and the mountain staring each other in the face. On the return path you’ll see deep moraines and acres of lupines." Read more
Hiking Mount Rainier National Park - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Heidi Radlinski and Mary Skjelset
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"Make a gentle, but at times icy and technical, ascent from the Sunrise Complex to the top of a long mountain with the tundra-like terrain of alpine areas and surreal, top-of-the-world views of Mount Rainier’s northeastern flank. While you are walking along this trail, you can see the Cascades to your right; on really clear days you can even see Mount Baker. Mount Rainier also looks magnificent from Sourdough Ridge. As you crest First Burroughs Mountain, Mount Rainier comes into view in its full glory. Take the time to identify the major glaciers and landforms in front of you: Emmons Glacier, Winthrop Glacier, Inter Glacier, and Little Tahoma Peak." Read more

Burroughs Mountain Trail Reviews

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9/25/2010
This is a classically beautiful trail on a clear day with close views of Rainier and the surrounding ridges. It is a relatively easy elevation gain on a highway of a trail. The altitude can be a factor for those that aren't conditioned for it. The rate of use is the only negative thanks to the spectacular views and close proximity to Seattle. However, the trail is well worth braving the crowds.
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9/3/2010
Absolutely tremendous views, with only a couple patches of snow along the trail. Bring plenty of water, food, and sunscreen (and a camera of course).
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10/6/2009
Hiked all the way to Burroughs 3. Weather was clear but wind was continuous and biting. When we were in areas sheltered from the wind, though, the sunshine was really pleasant. Some patches of snow in shaded areas, compact snow on the trail on the long traverse up to Burroughs 1. Views were absolutely magnificent. On the way back, we split off onto the Sunrise Rim trail at Burroughs 1. Even though it was about 1/2 mile longer, it was mostly in the sun, and more sheltered from the wind.

Not much more time this year to enjoy that area - all the facilities at the Sunrise Visitor Center are already closed for the season.
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7/11/2009
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.
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8/16/2008
One of the best days of my life! The view of Rainier is ridiculous. Pretty much the entire sky is filled with it. Go early in the morning since by the time you finish everyone and their mom will be there.
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8/13/2006
You've got to get to the 3rd Burroughs, it's amazing. While there we could hear the glaciers crack and even got to see an avalanche. With binoculars we were able to see climbers coming down from the top of Mt Rainier. I don’t believe there is a better view of Mt. Rainier then from the 3rd Burroughs!
If we had just done the 1st and 2nd Burroughs we might have done the roundtrip in 3 hours, maybe. Adding the trip to the 3rd Burroughs added several hours (and it’s quite a hike). Our total hike time was 7 hours and we’ve got the photos and blisters to prove it.

Both snow fields around the 1st Burroughs had melted.

Note: Those that fear heights should not take the trail from Sunrise Camp to the 1st Burroughs, instead take the trail by Frozen Lake in both directions.
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7/1/2006
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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8/6/2004
I would imagine this was a beautiful hike. Unfortunately for us, we had a rainy, cold, windy day...in early August! Even got sleeted on at the top of First Burroughs.

Actually, when the sun popped out for a few moments, the views of the area around the Burroughs, especially back down to Frozen Lake and, in the other direction, the White River, were spectacular. But as far as Mount Rainier - it might as well not have been there, since we couldn't see any of it.

Two days later, we did the Tolmie Peak hike in gorgeous weather. Now having seen the Burroughs from that vantage point, I'd recommend this hike even without having had the best day to be on it.
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10/3/2002
This was an incredible day for hiking in this area, for Mt. Rainier is right there, and watching the clouds forming off the glaciers was unearthly!
We managed to summit 1st, 2nd and 3rd Burroughs before the clouds drove us back to the car.
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Trail Information

Mount Rainier National Park
Nearby City
Mount Rainier National Park
Parks
Moderate
Skill Level
Views
Features
White River Wilderness Information Center: (360) 569-6670; Sunrise Visitor Center: (360) 663-2425
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Dec 2018