Friday, August 27, 2010

Burroughs Mountain Trail: Up Close with Mt. Rainier

Now that there is a distinct feeling of autumn in the air, it’s time to celebrate summer on Mt. Rainier. Between the end of August and the return of snow flakes exists a narrow window of opportunity to hike on the park’s higher elevation trails. The snow pack has at long last melted from most of the trails and the weather is often sunny, cool, and clear.
One of the most dramatic, knock-your-socks-off vistas can be found from the Second Burroughs and this seven-mile, 900-foot elevation gain trail is well worth the huffing and puffing. The trail, named for the 19th century naturalist and essayist, John Burroughs, begins at the Sunrise Visitor Center parking lot. From here, it climbs steadily up a meadow and along the Sourdough Ridge to Frozen Lake (1.5 miles) offering some pretty views along the way. From the lake, the trail leads upwards across an exposed, rocky slope to the First Burroughs (7200’). While the vista from here is photo-worthy, don’t give up! Continue the extra mile up to the Second Burroughs (7400’) where you will be rewarded with a breathtaking, 360-degree panorama including Mt. Rainier (so in your face), the Emmons Glacier, largest in the lower-48, and the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia.
Here are some photos to motivate you!

The long slog to Second Burroughs

Mt. Rainier emerges from the clouds.

At the top of Second Burroughs

Picnic with a view!

Avoid the abyss!

Worth the effort!

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