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Glacier Basin / Burroughs Loop

Difficulty: strenuous

9.6 miles

Elevation gain: 3290'

Max elevation: 7400'

Camps: White River, Glacier Basin, Sunrise

First hiked by me: older

This loop combines the Glacier Basin, Burroughs Mountain, and White River to Sunrise trails:

Dense forests, high meadows, alpine tundra, rivers, lakes, and expansive views of glaciers and mountain: this loop really has it all.

There are many options to increase the length. You could continue on to the Glacier Basin campsite (in fact I'd say you'd be crazy not to, as it makes a great spot for a second breakfast!) and perhaps head further up that basin. You could also head left rather than right from the Burroughs saddle, taking in Third Burroughs as well as Second and First.

An important choice is which direction to hike the loop. I went clockwise, which gave a nice progression of gradient (gentle up, steep up, gentle down, steep down), and left time for morning clouds to burn off before the views opened up during the high part of the hike. But this also meant I was facing away from the mountain during the viewtastic portion, and I hit the most crowded part of the popular Burroughs trail at the busiest time of midday. An alternative would be to start at Sunrise and hike counterclockwise, but ending a long hike with the climb back up from White River to Sunrise would be brutal. Next time I'm thinking about parking at White River while going counterclockwise, timing my start so I make it up to views while there's still dawn light on the mountain and not yet too many people around.

This route can be a good way to reach Burroughs Mountain in early or late season, when the road to Sunrise is closed or the trails from Sunrise to Burroughs are dangerously icy.

Views along the climb from the Glacier Basin trail to Burroughs Mountain are just silly good

Looking up at Second Burroughs

Along the connecting trail between Glacier Basin and Burroughs Mountain

View of Tahoma from where the Glacier Basin connector trail intersects the Burroughs Mountain trail, in the saddle between Second and Third Burroughs

Looking across at Goat Island Mountain

Looking up from the trail junction toward Second Burroughs