Understandably the most popular hike leaving from Mount Rainier National Park's Sunrise Point, the trek up to Burroughs Mountain is just over 3 miles and offers constant views of Mount Rainier's eastern face and a nonstop display of absolutely spectacular Washington Cascade scenery. The Burroughs Mountain Trail climbs up to 7,402 feet, making it the highest maintained, non-mountaineering hiking trail in Mount Rainier National Park.
From the Sunrise Day Use Lodge, begin the quick climb up to Sourdough Ridge, where you'll have views stretching as far north as The Enchantments, Glacier Peak, and even 10,781-foot Mount Baker in a matter of minutes. Hiking west along the ridge provides views overlooking all of Sunrise and Yakima Parks and the craggy Cowlitz Chimneys.
Once you reach Frozen Lake, the subalpine forest of silver firs gives way to a tundra-like landscape that is seemingly devoid of life. As you hike with Curtis Ridge and Willis Wall dominating your view, you'll find life that is still abundant in the harshest of landscapes. Listen for the whistle of hoary marmots and little pikas, and look closely to find thriving plants such as field lupine and partridge foot.
As if the views en route weren't enough, the panoramic vistas from the Burroughs Mountain's summit of 7,402 feet are astonishing, showcasing Emmons Glacier (Mount Rainier's largest by area*) and Moraine, the White River, and Little Tahoma (the heavily eroded 11,138-foot volcanic vent that would be Washington's third highest peak after Mount Adams).
From Burroughs Mountain you can actually hike down roughly 2,000 feet to Glacier Basin, continue an additional 1.5 miles on an unmaintained trail that climbs 400 feet to the next overlook, or simply head back to Sunrise. On your return, consider making a loop of the hike by taking the Sunrise Rim Trail, which offers unique views of Mount Rainier National Park's backcountry. The Sunrise Rim hike is roughly the same distance as the approach via Sourdough ridge.
Note: Because of its 6,400-foot elevation and extensive snowpack, the road leading up to Sunrise can be closed as late as early July and closes again in October.
* By volume and length, Carbon Glacier on Mount Rainier's north side is the largest glacier in the lower 48 states.