Exploring the Beauty of Washington: Burroughs Mountain Trail

Top hiking trails in the US worth exploring

Nestled within the breathtaking expanse of Mount Rainier National Park, the Burroughs Mountain Trail is a hidden gem for hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

This picturesque trail offers a journey through alpine meadows, lush forests, and panoramic vistas of the awe-inspiring Mount Rainier.

Whether you are an experienced hiker seeking a challenging adventure or a casual explorer looking for natural beauty, the Burroughs Mountain Trail in Washington is a must-visit destination.

Location and Accessibility

Located in the northern section of Mount Rainier National Park, the Burroughs Mountain Trail can be accessed from the Sunrise Visitor Center. Sunrise is known for being one of the park’s most easily accessible and popular destinations, making it a convenient starting point for this scenic hike.

The visitor center is about 60 miles southeast of Seattle, and the park’s White River Entrance is open seasonally, typically from late June to early October. Visitors should check the National Park Service website for the most up-to-date information on road conditions and park hours.

The Trail

The Burroughs Mountain Trail is a 9.5-mile round-trip hike that offers a variety of experiences and breathtaking views of Mount Rainier. The trail can be divided into three main sections: First Burroughs, Second Burroughs, and Third Burroughs.

First Burroughs

The adventure begins as you ascend the trail through lush meadows filled with wildflowers, especially during the summer months.

This section of the trail is relatively gentle and provides hikers with the first captivating view of Mount Rainier. The vista from First Burroughs is particularly impressive, giving you a taste of what lies ahead.

Second Burroughs

The trail becomes slightly steeper and more challenging as you continue toward Second Burroughs. Here, you’ll encounter more stunning scenery, including a vast expanse of vibrant alpine wildflowers.

As you gain elevation, the sweeping views of the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the contiguous United States, and the surrounding mountain ranges become even more captivating.

Third Burroughs

The final stretch of the trail is the most demanding but also the most rewarding. As you hike to Third Burroughs, you’ll find yourself on the edge of a subalpine meadow, surrounded by magnificent, close-up views of Mount Rainier.

The backdrop of the glacier-clad peak against the sky is a sight to behold. From Third Burroughs, you can also see the sprawling Sunrise campsite and the White River Valley below.

Throughout the hike, you will likely encounter various wildlife, such as marmots, pikas, and mountain goats. Make sure to keep a safe distance and respect the park’s guidelines for wildlife viewing.

Best Time to Hike Burroughs Mountain Trail

The best time to explore the Burroughs Mountain Trail is during the late summer and early fall. While the trail is typically snow-free from July through September, it’s recommended to check the trail conditions before planning your visit, as weather in the mountains can be unpredictable.

Late summer offers pleasant weather, wildflower displays, and the best opportunity to witness the surrounding landscapes in all their glory.

Preparation and Safety

Before embarking on your Burroughs Mountain adventure, be sure to prepare properly:

  • Check the National Park Service website for trail conditions and closures.
  • Bring plenty of water, as there is limited access to water sources on the trail.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for varying weather conditions and rugged terrain.
  • Carry essential items, such as a map, compass, sunscreen, and bug repellent.
  • Be mindful of altitude and its potential effects on your body, such as altitude sickness. Take your time and acclimate as needed.
  • Respect Leave No Trace principles by packing out all your trash and minimizing your impact on the environment.


The Burroughs Mountain Trail in Washington is a truly remarkable hiking experience that offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the grandeur of Mount Rainier. From its vibrant wildflower meadows to the breathtaking views of the glacier-clad peak, this trail is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts.

So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your camera, and set out to explore this natural wonder that is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories of the Pacific Northwest.

Pearce Kibaale is a freelance writer, content creator, and Editor-in-Chief of Trip Dhow.