An Alpine Hike on Mt. Rainier: Second Burroughs


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Second Burroughs

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 summer day a few years back 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.

Your humble scribe on top of First Burroughs

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.

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. With the thin volcanic ash soil and scattered alpine wildflowers, it’s almost like a moonscape.

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 the list goes on.

Much too soon I put on the pack, descended to First Burroughs Mountain, passed by Shadow Lake, before returning to Sunrise.

Hanging Glacier on Mt. Rainier

Calving glacier in Frozen Lake (reminiscent of Prince William Sound in Alaska)

Early in the season the trail can be treacherous

Frozen Lake in background

Sunrise Lodge and surrounding area

Wenatchee Cascades (home of the Enchantments) in the distance from the summit of Second Burroughs

The “best” end of a Hoary Marmot?

Shadow Lake on the loop trail back to Sunrise Lodge

Trail to summit of Second Burroughs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: , ,

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