Sunrise, Mt. Rainier

  • August 20, 2011 · 12:30 PM
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Description: Snow is slowly melting and it's time to get out and shoot! If you're feeling as cooped up as me by our unusual weather, the sleep deprivation plan for this trip will be a welcome trade-off. So here's the plan:

Saturday: arrive early afternoon at Sunrise (park location, not time of day) and scout out the wildflower meadows near the visitors center for possible return location for evening light and sunset. I'd like to check out the trail along second burroughs to see how far the snow melt allows us to go. There are pretty meadows and a tarn at the beginning of the trail for possible compositions. If the trail is melted out, it does get us very close to the mountain and could be an option for star trails later in the night. I'm also open to simply spending the afternoon and evening shooting around Sunrise. It depends on conditions once we arrive, and what will be our best options for compositions.

Saturday night: star trails (if the sky is overcast, we'll head back to Seattle after we finish shooting sunset). Locations to shoot from: Sunrise, of course. Tipsoo Lake, Reflection lake (if we're up for the drive), and along Burrough's trail, closer to the mountain.

Other fun things to shoot all night could be creating orbs, fire spinning, and other effects with artificial lights.

Since it's going to be cold, bring winter clothing for the night. Lots of coffee, to stay awake, and if sleep just becomes a requirement, we can take quick naps in the cars while waiting for the sun to rise.

Sunday morning: shoot the sunrise at partially melted Tipsoo Lake, then back to Seattle


2nd Burroughs trail description: The trail head is located on the south side of the Sunrise parking area. Sunrise wildflowers should be in bloom. The trail passes Shadow Lake on a level grade then climbs sharply to an overlook on the White River and Emmons Glacier. Beyond the overlook the route continues up and onto the wide, flat plateau of First Burroughs Mountain, reaching a junction with the trail to Frozen Lake in 1.5 miles. Another .5 mile leads hikers to Second Burroughs Mountain.

One of Mount Rainier's best day hikes. Along the way you'll find meadows of flowers and marmots before reaching the tundralike expanses atop Burroughs Mountain. Add to it a lake for lunch and views of glaciers, and Burroughs Loop seems to have it all.

A clockwise direction is best, especially if the north side is still snowy. From the visitors center, the trail crosses over crystal streams and colorful meadows to Shadow Lake and an overlook of Emmons Glacier and the White River (1.4 miles). Hikers start dropping off as the trail climbs 900 feet to First Burroughs Mountain (2.8 miles). Guaranteed: Mount Rainier has never looked so big in your life.

Miles Round Trip to 2nd Burroughs: 7 miles
Elevation gain: 900 feet

Miles Round Trip to Tipsoo Lake: Upper and lower Tipsoo lakes are right next to 410, so there's almost no walking here















More astrophotography ideas:


General trip planning info:

~If you have a National Parks (or other accepted pass), please bring it for your carpool.

~As usual with this group's day-hikes, bring enough food to last you through evening as we will be staying for sunset and back very late.

~Headlamps and/or flashlights required!

~There will be a 15 minute courtesy wait at the park & ride while we arrange carpools.

~Please have cash on hand and be prepared to split traveling costs with your carpool.

~Please check the weather and bring appropriate clothing for expected area day and night temps.

~Day trip version of 10 essentials required

~Please leave Fido at home for this trip. Dogs are not allowed in National Parks.

~Only sign up if you can participate in the entire trip - carpools will be a nightmare to organize otherwise.


Are you joining us for the first time? New to hiking or camping? To help promote a safe and enjoyable trip for all, please read the following link:

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  • sub

    An experience I won't forget for a bit. Thanks Deb for organizing!!

    September 6, 2011

  • eddie r.

    Amazing!! I had an amazing time with you all. A must repeat event!

    August 22, 2011

  • Chris N.

    Deborah was excellent as organizer of this event. Great leadership and technical knowledge meant everyone had a great time, despite being cold and tired (I sure wasn't expecting to be walking on snow in late August :))

    August 21, 2011

  • Deborah

    If you are going to be later than 12:45, send me an email through the site and I'll reply with my phone number

    August 20, 2011

  • Deborah

    Jenny, what is your ETA?

    August 20, 2011

  • Chris N.

    Okay. I am here.

    August 20, 2011

  • Jenny

    I am not sure if you will see this in time, but my bus up to northgate is getting delayed, so I might be running a few minutes late

    August 20, 2011

  • Chris N.

    Agreed. Let's meet as planned.

    August 17, 2011

  • Deborah

    Chris, do you have a suggestion for a park and ride near where I-5 and 405 join? I haven't had any luck finding a good place, but am open to suggestions. The location should stick for this event to avoid confusion, however.

    August 17, 2011

  • Deborah

    To clear up some confusion, I've always wanted to see and capture Tipsoo Lake partially melted with Rainier reflecting in morning light. From recent photographs, it looks like this is the weekend to do it. Rather than driving back to Seattle for a few hours sleep and then back to Rainier in the morning, it seems better to just stay up all night shooting star trails. (Details added above.) Bring lots of coffee and winter clothes to stay warm through the night. This could be a photo blast!

    August 17, 2011

  • Chris N.

    Since we are heading south, any chance of a pickup point in South King County? I live in Renton.

    August 17, 2011

  • Andrew

    Thanks for accepting and improving on my suggestion! We will start out of Overlake transit center, as planned. Maybe we will join you in your trip to the 2nd Burroughs or maybe we will go to the Berkley Park.

    Anyway -- will be nice to see you there!
    Any plans to join us in Tolmie Peak/Eunice Lake hike?­

    August 16, 2011

  • eddie r.

    Per Deborah, Yes overnight, though no tents. Probably napping in the cars

    August 16, 2011

  • Teresa

    Deborah, Is camp overnight (Sat. night) in the park part of the plan? I am afraid that it's a bit confusing on the Meetup announcement.

    August 16, 2011

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