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Mount Rainier National Park: Burroughs Mountain Loop

On this 6.1-mile lollipop loop, you’ll crest two summits on Burroughs Mountain, trace the Sourdough Mountains’ ridgeline, and take in views of Mount Rainier, the Emmons Glacier, and 11,138-foot Little Tahoma Peak.

Rating

This worthy, 6.1-mile dayhike links some of the most scenic trails in the Sunrise area for big views across the park. Start at the southwest corner of the parking lot near the Sunrise Ranger Station, and follow the gravel access road for less than half a mile to where the road forks. Stay left for a gradual descent through alpine meadows that feature southwest views of Mount Rainier. At the end of the road, stay left, heading south toward Shadow Lake and Sunrise Camp (several campsites and a covered shelter).

Just past the last campsite, turn right for a climb to Emmons Glacier overlook, a 6,400-foot perch with larger-than-life views of Little Tahoma Peak, the Emmons Glacier (the largest glacier in the Lower 48), and Steamboat Prow, a triangular formation of rock that divides the Emmons and Winthrop Glacier. Look for the headwaters of the White River—a small ribbon of water flowing from the snout of the Emmons Glacier.

Next, traverse west along the ridge to the table-flat top of First Burroughs, one of three summits that dot the Burroughs Mountain ridgeline. To the north, Berkeley Park’s meadows are nestled between Skyscraper Peak and Mount Fremont. To the west-northwest, the couloirs on Old Desolate’s southeast face look like a large bear claw raked it from top to bottom.

At mile 2.6, turn left at the T-junction and continue climbing to the top of wind-blown, 7,402-foot Second Burroughs. Find the round, rock throne that faces the mountain—and provides some protection from the wind—and soak up the commanding view of Rainier.

When you’re ready, turn around and retrace your steps to the last trail junction; stay straight and follow it down the north side of Burroughs to a 4-way trail junction at mile 4.6. Continue straight, following signs for Sourdough Ridge Trail and Frozen Lake. At mile 5.8, descend the Sourdough Ridge Trail, crossing through meadows surrounding the main facilities, and return to your car.

INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping-and-hiking.htm.

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations requests accepted by fax or mail, starting on March 15th of each year ($20/reservation). Download form at nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-reservation-information.htm.

CONTACT Mt. Rainier National Park, (360) 569-2211; nps.gov/mora

-Mapped by David Tate

To Trailhead

From Greenwater, drive southeast on WA 410 E/Chinook Pass Hwy. In roughly 17 miles, bear right onto Sunrise Park Rd./White River Rd. Go 15.5 miles and park at the end of the road.

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