If you've made it all the way up to Sunrise but are short on time, venturing down the Silver Forest Trail is the best and quickest way to explore the wildflower-filled subalpine meadows of Sunrise Park and gain 180-degree views over the White River and Emmons Glacier.
Starting from the south side of the Sunrise parking area, you'll quickly reach the first interpretive viewpoint that overlooks the White River valley nearly 3,000 feet below. As the trail winds through stands of Pacific silver fir and some whitebark pine, the second kiosk and vantage point is just ahead. Here, vistas extend south across the valley to the Cowlitz Chemneys and beyond to Goat Rocks (the eroded remnants of a long-extinct stratovolcano). As you hike further east along this virtually flat, 1-mile stretch of trail, the trees will begin to thin and more wildflowers will begin to dominate this open meadow, including lupine, leafybract aster, and cascade aster.
In total, the hike can be finished in less than an hour.
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.