Mount Rainier Three Burroughs
4-9 miles roundtrip
At a glance: Mount Rainier is our #1 hike and it's easy to see why. The Three Burroughs hike offers turnarounds at 4, 6 and 9 miles so you can go as far as your ambition can carry you.
What's included: Pick-up from hotel/home/airbnb and transport to trailhead, trailhead permit and passes, lunch, snacks, equipment, and drop-off back to home base. $199/person.
Burroughs Mountain has been described as a mountain against a mountain. At over 7800 feet, Burroughs Mountain sets right up against the northeastern face of Mount Rainier, hugging the Winthrop Glacier. It offers one of the most dramatic views of Washington's largest volcano; the landscape atop Burroughs is both broad and barren, so there is little to inhibit full exposure.
Seemingly little plant life should survive this harsh, high-elevation terrain, yet the number of wildflower varieties which thrive with vibrant color on this hike may surprise you. Besides the floral displays in early summer, the wildlife seen atop this summit is a treat. Goats wander the hillsides, and chipmunks, marmots and pika skitter amongst the rocks, along the trail and atop each of the three “peaks” which define this long, tundra-like alpine mountain.
We follow the signs to the top of Sourdough Ridge on a wide, often dusty trail. The trail heads steadily uphill, gaining 400 feet in just over half a mile. The way is well-marked and heads west to a five-way intersection at Frozen Lake. From here, follow the Burroughs Mountain Trail at it makes its way uphill to the southwest on a relatively steep stretch of trail, reaching the broad, open top of First Burroughs Mountain at roughly 7000 feet.
Continue past an intersection to Second Burroughs, climbing an additional 400 feet in about half a mile. Second Burroughs offers impressive views into the Glacier Basin below, pointed Little Tahoma on a ridge of Rainier to the south, and expansive views of the park to the north, including Fremont Lookout, Berkeley and Grand Parks, and Skyscraper Mountain.
The trail veers slightly right and climbs the bench that eventually leads to the high point: Third Burroughs Mountain. Extra effort is required to reach the 7800 foot rocky top, but the reward is the invigorating feeling of being so close to Mount Rainier that you could reach out and touch it.