Probably the shortest and easiest of all Mt. Rainier alpine hikes, this one provides by far the best bang for the buck.
On a beautiful day I drove to Sunrise, Mount Rainier’s highest visitor center. It sits at an elevation of 6,400 feet in a vast and colorful wildflower meadow.
There were amazing close-up views of the massive Emmons Glacier, and the summit of the 14,411-foot Cascade volcano.
After putting on my day pack, I hiked the 6 1/2-mile loop trail past Frozen Lake to the top of First Burroughs Mountain, dropped a short distance to a saddle, and then hiked to the top of Second Burroughs Mountain at 7,400 feet. Along the way I spotted a pika peaking over a rock, a hoary marmot out for a snack and a herd of almost 50 mountain goats. Where else can you experience natural beauty so well?
And, you literally can’t get a more magnificent view of the mountain without climbing it – – – Camp Schurman, Winthrop Glacier, Glacier Basin, Emmons Glacier, Little Tahoma Peak and list goes on.
Much too soon, I put on the pack, descended to First Burroughs Mountain, passed by Shadow Lake, before returning to Sunrise.
One more observation, both of the Burroughs Mountains are remnants of lava flow and are probably the best examples I have seen of a classic tundra environment in the Cascades.