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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.
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.
Sunrise Lodge and surrounding area