The trail or trails to First and Second Burroughs Mountain begin in Sunrise at an elevation of 6,385 feet. A loop hike leads on to a mountain plateau then along the Burroughs Mountain Ridge. The first few miles of this trail, from the north of south, are very popular, but beyond that you'll find few hikers.
This Trail Description begins from the southern end of the Sunrise parking area. An alternative to this trailhead is hiking north from Sunrise and completing the loop counter clockwise. Hiking southward head toward Shadow Lake. The trail descends approximately 80 feet from the parking area then contours the White River Valley wall westward. Within a half mile from the parking area the trail forks with the Wonderland Trail leading southward to the White River Campground. Follow the right side of this fork to Shadow Lake.
Approximately one and a third miles from the trailhead you'll reach Shadow Lake. Shortly west of the lake is a trail junction and Sunrise Camp. At this junction follow the left fork westward as it begins to ascend to a wide plateau of ancient volcanic flow. A quarter mile from the trail junction is the Emmons Overlook. From this viewpoint you'll be able to look down into the White River valley at the moraine and foot of the Emmons Glacier. Across the valley stands Goat Island Mountain.
The trail continues leading westward from the overlook ascending the southern edge of the plateau. Within a mile of the overlook is a trail junction. The right side of the fork leads to the Frozen Lake Trail, which will be the return trip of the loop. Follow the left side of this fork to reach the summit of First Burroughs Mountain in one quarter mile. The elevation of First Burroughs Mountain is 7,300 feet.
Walking westward along the Burroughs Mountain ridge you'll reach Second Burroughs Mountain in one half mile. The elevation of this summit is 7,400 feet. The trail continues westward along the ridge descending almost 2,000 feet in the next two miles to join the Glacier Basin Trail along Inter Fork Creek.
To return to the trailhead from Second Burroughs Mountain hikers can retrace their steps or follow the trail past Frozen Lake. This description details the alternate route past Frozen Lake, which will bring you to the northern side of the Sunrise parking area. From First Burroughs Mountain walk eastward along the ridge passing the trail from Sunrise Camp. The terrain is flat then begins to descend steeply to a trail intersection. Follow the trail to the right that leads south of Frozen Lake.
A few minutes east of the trail intersection you'll reach another junction. The trail leading to the right ends at Sunrise Camp. Follow the left side of the fork, which continues along the southern side of Frozen Lake then crosses its outlet stream. From this point the trail remains level as it follows a ridge crest a half mile to the Huckleberry Creek Trail leading north. At this junction follow the trail leading eastward (right) and skirt the southern base of a high point along the ridge. Shortly after this high point the trail forks. Follow the right side of the fork, which descends to the Sunrise Complex.
Directions: From White River Entrance, Drive westward along White River Road 14 miles to the Sunrise Complex parking area. The trailhead is located on the south side of the parking area.
Elevation: 6,385 feet
Ending Elevation: 7,400 feet
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