I car camped at the White River Campground in mid-September 2014 to do some dayhikes in the area. When I arrived at 4:30pm on Friday evening, I got the last available spot in the 2 loops that were open. It was cloudy when I arrived but cleared out over night.
Sunrise on the mountain from camp
On Saturday the plan was to do a loop up the Wonderland Trail to near Sunrise, connect to the Burroughs Mountain Trail up to Third Burroughs Mtn, and then down to the Glacier Basin Trail and back to camp. This worked out to be about 13 miles with a total gain of about 4000 feet.
The main climb - 2000 up from camp to the Sunrise Rim Trail in 2.8 miles - was first thing in the cool of the morning.
Sunrise Rim Trail and late summer meadows and Sourdough Ridge. You can see the Sourdough Ridge trail crossing the talus on the upper right.
Shadow Lake - appropriately. Sunrise camp is in the trees behind
Climbing the flanks of First Burroughs Mtn, the views start to open up
Looking at the Burroughs Mtn trail up Second Burroughs Mtn from the junction of the Sunrise Rim Trail and Burroughs Mtn Trail on top of First Burroughs Mtn
Looking at Third Burroughs Mtn from the top of Second Burroughs Mtn. The main trail drops left down to Glacier Basin, while the informal trail climbs up. What you see is 400 feet down and another 800 feet up.
Mt. Rainier and the Winthrop Glacier from the summit of Third Burroughs Mtn at 7828'
Looking west down at Mystic Lake. The Carbon Glacier is hidden in the valley just beyond
It's then 800 feet down Burroughs Mtn and another 1500 feet down to Glacier Basin. You start to get back into trees, fall colors, and Little Tahoma Peak beyond
Back near camp, the Wonderland Trail crosses the White River on this bridge
The next morning after breaking camp, drive up to Sunrise and head up towards Mt. Fremont Lookout, 2.8 miles one-way.
Sourdough Ridge from near the trailhead
The trail is wide, popular, and dusty at this point, but looks down on more nice meadows
The final section to the Mt. Fremont Lookout
Mt. Rainier from the lookout also shows Burroughs Mtn well. Third Burroughs Mtn is directly below the center of the summit of Rainier. Second Burroughs Mtn is the rounded summit to it's left below Tahoma. First Burroughs Mtn is the flat ridge to the left.
The huge meadow of Grand Park is to the west
After picking up lunch at the cafeteria at Sunrise - the last day of the year it would be open, I took my lunch to the Sunrise Viewpoint, 3 miles back down the road. This is also the trailhead for the 3.5 mile trail past numerous lakes to Upper Palisade Lake. There are no views of Mt. Rainier on this trail and it starts by dropping 500 feet and has lots of short but steep ups and downs. But clouds were moving in and the forest provided welcome shade on what was turning into a very hot day.
Sunrise Lake comes first after dropping 400 feet
This hike is as much if not more about meadows - it would be great a little earlier in the summer when it is more green
Clover Lake is 1.5 miles in and is as far as some get as a steep up and a real steep descent comes right after
Upper Dicks Lake has a backcountry camp next to it (between it and the lower lake)
The trail finally flattens and opens up as you approach the Palisades area
Presumably these are the Palisades that the lake is named for
The lake was at a pretty low level - again would be nice to get here earlier. A couple of campsites here as well.