Burroughs Mountain Trail, Sunrise Visitor Center, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Burroughs Mountain Trail - 9.0 miles

Sunrise Visitor Center

View across the Loch Creek drainage from the Burroughs Mountain Trail

View across the Loch Creek drainage from the Burroughs Mountain Trail

Round-Trip Length: 9.0 miles (distance and elevation figures include all 3 summits)
Start-End Elevation: 6,415' - 7,828' (7,828' max elevation on summit #3)
Elevation Change: +1,413' net elevation gain (+2,522' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Burroughs Mountain Trail - 9.0 Miles Round-Trip

Burroughs Mountain is located on the NE side of Mount Rainier between Emmons Glacier and Winthrop Glacier. The mountain, named for naturalist John Burroughs, can be thought of as a long bulky ridge with three distinct summits, or 'Burroughs'. 

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The first two summits are broad and flat - almost as if their tops were cut off - and the third spans a narrow ridge that extends from Steamboat Prow between Emmons and Winthrop glaciers.

Hikers will enjoy miles of open tundra with up-close views of the glaciers, and panoramas across the entire Sunrise area, Berkeley Park, Sourdough Range and White River. 

Burroughs Mountain is accessible from Glacier Basin, and two different approaches from the Sunrise Visitor Center. This description begins at Sunrise and follows the Sourdough Ridge Trail to Frozen Lake, where the Burroughs Mountain Trail splits off for the summits.

Note that some sections, especially north-faces, can hold snow all year. Technical gear and know-how may be necessary. Travel to the third summit is considered more difficult than the first two. Call ahead for conditions before setting out:

Follow signs from the parking lot to the trailhead for all destinations. An access trail runs up to the Sourdough Ridge Trail (.3 miles : 6,630'); turn left to the Huckleberry Creek Trail split and follow signs for Frozen Lake (.62 miles : 6,790'). You'll have good views across Huckleberry Basin to McNeely Peak from this point.

The trail rolls to the south side of the ridge and drops to a 4-way junction on the edge of a broad alpine meadow at Frozen Lake (1.5 miles : 6,760'). Turn left on the Burroughs Mtn Trail, which climbs 412' in .55 miles to the First Burroughs (2.05 miles : 7,172'). Prairie-like tundra grasses cover this broad, flat summit.

The trail continues along the north rim, passes the Sunrise Trail split (2.25 miles), dips along a saddle and rises back to the Second Burroughs (2.85 miles : 7,402'). The summit is similarly flat but covered in scree, which can be more freely explored without damaging sensitive vegetation.

The trail drops steeply from #2 across a saddle to a Burroughs Mountain Trail sign pointing down to the Glacier Basin Trail, which is 1.7 miles away (3.3 miles : 7,120'). Bear right on the unmarked but well-traveled fork for summit #3. 

The trail drops to a nadir (3.45 miles : 7,020'), then rises steeply across open tundra onto perennial snowfields. Poles and traction devices can be helpful here, even when conditions are not technical. Grades moderate on the final push to the Third Burroughs Mountain (4.5 miles : 7,828').

The summit spans a long, rugged ridge that extends from Steamboat Prow (9,702') between Emmons and Winthrop glaciers. You'll have excellent views of Winthrop's rock covered terminus, and several big crevasses near the summit.

It also gives perspective on Rainier's complex topography, and of multiple drainages and basins on its NE flank.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N46 54.950 W121 38.622 — 0.0 miles : Sunrise Visitor Center Trailhead Portal
  • N46 55.111 W121 38.802 — .3 miles : Turn left on to the Sourdough Ridge Trail
  • N46 55.149 W121 39.219 — .62 miles : Huckleberry Creek Trail split
  • N46 55.096 W121 39.870 — 1.25 miles : Frozen Lake viewpoint spur
  • N46 55.055 W121 40.116 — 1.5 miles : Burroughs Mt - Wonderland Trail split
  • N46 54.744 W121 40.603 — 2.05 miles : Level along Burrough #1 summit
  • N46 54.648 W121 40.793 — 2.25 miles : Sunrise Trail split
  • N46 54.373 W121 41.384 — 2.85 miles : Burrough #2 summoit
  • N46 54.292 W121 41.702 — 3.3 miles : Drop to Burroughs Mtn - #3 summit trail split
  • N46 54.235 W121 42.277 — 3.8 miles : Steep climb in open tundra
  • N46 54.058 W121 42.686 — 4.2 miles : Final push to summit-ridge
  • N46 54.201 W121 42.832 — 4.5 miles : Burrough #3 summit

Worth Noting

  • Travel to the third summit is considered more difficult than the first two. Gauge trail conditions carefully and know your limits in alpine conditions before setting out.
  • Goats are frequently seen along this trail. Keep a safe, respectful distance from wildlife and allow goats plenty of room to pass.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Wilderness Permits are required year-round for overnight camping in the backcountry. Wilderness Camping Permits are free (*see notes for climbers below).

  • Permits and current trail conditions are available at all wilderness information centers, visitor centers and ranger stations (360.569.2211).
  • Camp only in sites designated on your itinerary. Fires are not permitted anywhere in the backcountry.
  • All trail-side camps have primitive toilets, marked sites, poles for hanging food and a nearby water source.
  • Cross-Country Zone Camping: there are no maintained trails, campsites or amenities in cross-country zones. Camp at least 1/4 mile away from any road or established trail, and 100' from water sources. Cross-country camping is not permitted for those hiking the complete Wonderland Trail.
  • Summer Party Size Limit (May 15th - September 30th): 5 people per individual site or cross-country zone designation. Families are an exception to this rule (parents + children).
  • Winter Party Size Limit (October 1 - May 14th): 12 people per individual site or cross-country zone designation.
  • Groups (defined as 6 - 12 people) are permitted in 25 designated sites throughout the park, and when camping on snow in Alpine Zones.
  • Climbing Permits are required year-round for any day or overnight travel on glaciers or above 10,000', including Little Tahoma. The Climbing Permit also serves as the wilderness camping permit for overnight trips. Wilderness Camping Permits are free while a Climbing Permit requires the purchase of an annual Climbing Pass for each member of the party.

Fishing Information

  • There is no fishing along the Burroughs Mountain Trail.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $25 entrance fee to Mount Rainier National Park (good for 7 days). Annual Passes are $50.
  • Pets and Bikes are not permitted on hiking trails or climbing routes in Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Fires are not permitted in the backcountry in Mount Rainier National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

The Sunrise Visitor Center is located 14.0 miles from the White River Entrance Station at the end of Sunrise Road. The trail begins on the north side of the main parking lot. Follow signs for hiking trail access past the Snack Bar to the trailhead for all destinations.

Contact Information

Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

General Information

Lost and Found

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