Denizens of Mt. Rainier

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Hoary Marmot

When hiking on or near Mt. Rainier it’s easy to get captivated by the magnificent vistas.

But, with a watchful eye there are fascinating critters to spot and pretty butterflies to spy.

Sitting on the top of Second Burroughs Mountain, I had an unobstructed view of the summit of Mt. Rainier.

To my delight, a small family of hoary marmots came out on the rocks within a few feet of me. The two young ones were intent on playing and sunning themselves. Mom, was focused on gathering food.

A couple of moments later a golden-mantled ground squirrel came near my pant legs and began energetically scratching itself. Soon it was back to begging again.

Icing on the cake.

Hoary Marmot with a tasty snack (to store for hibernation?)

A Golden Mantled with a powerful itch

Arctic Fritillary Butterfly on an alpine Aster

Young Hoary Marmot

Golden Mantled licking its foot for a new round of scratching

Hoary Marmot

Snowberry Checkerspot Butterfly

Golden Mantled begging for food

Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: ,


  1. I was able to capture some fabulous shots of a marmot in RMNP a few years ago. They are fantastic little people…

  2. Those squirrels on 2nd Burroughs peak are quite food-obsessed, aren’t they? In September we encountered (presumably) a different family of Marmots on this same trail. A fellow hiker returning to Sunrise asked if they had “posed” for us yet. Sure enough, a minute later a huge marmot approached, stood 5 feet from me, and making eye contact just waited for me to get my shot. This is just one of many reasons that this is my favorite trail I’ve ever hiked!

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