Sunrise Rim

Mount Rainier, Washington 98361

Sunrise Rim

Sunrise Rim Professional Review and Guide

"This loop travels along Sourdough Ridge, over the first hump of Burroughs Mountain, to an overlook of the Emmons Glacier, and descends along Sunrise Rim, past Shadow Lake and back to the Sunrise Complex.

While exploring the scenic area around the Sunrise Complex, this hike offers rare views of a wide range of landscapes in a relatively short loop. You walk along Sourdough Ridge, climb to the first hump of Burroughs Mountain, and look over the Emmons Glacier. Finally, you descend to Shadow Lake, through subalpine forest and back to the Sunrise parking lot."

Sunrise Rim Reviews

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This is a spectacular trail, albeit not for the faint of heart. After leaving the parking area, the trail has a steady rise, then levels off to traverse a scree slope and then ascends slightly to Frozen Lake. Even after one of the hottest and driest summers in Washington state, there was a fairly thick pack of snow on the steep northern bank of the lake. The lake is the water supply for the Sunrise Inn and building complex, which detracts slightly from its stark beauty. Ascending the Burroughs Mountain trail is fairly steep for a flatlander like myself, but it overlooks Berkeley Park and its small pond. Mount Rainier itself is mostly obscured by Burroughs mountain until you reach the top of First Burroughs, where you have a suprising full view ahead of you as a reward. Had I not told my wife I would be back in 2.5 hours, I would have gone on to Second Burroughs. The downhill going east on Burroughs Mountain trail allows an almost continuous, spectacular view of Emmons glacier and moraine, with a small unnamed turquoise-colored lake for added effect. Several sections are quite rocky and it becomes very narrow through some scree slopes. Shadow lake was disappointing. From here the trail runs through mostly forested terrain, and is nearly continuously uphill back to the Sunrise parking lot. I don't remember much of this, concentrating on the fact that I was completely exhausted and hyperventilating from the hasty trip. This is listed in the Easy Day Hikes book, and given about 4 to 5 hours, it would be relatively so. Being a middle aged Texan in moderate condition, who lives at 800 ft elevation, I did it in 2.5 hours, running most of the downhill at moderate pace. Trying to do it in the 2 hours described in the guide would reuire no stops to catch one's breath, or to admire the views, which is of course why you would want to do the hike in the first place. Plan to give this hike the time it deserves.

Sunrise Rim Photos

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Trail Information

Mount Rainier
Nearby City
840 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
About 2.5 to 4 hours
August through Sept
White River Wilderness Information Center, (360) 569-6670; Sunrise Visitor Center, (360) 663-2425
Local Contacts
USGS Sunrise and White River Park, Mount Rainier East and Ohanapecosh Springs; Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018