The Glacier Basin Loop offers immediate views of the Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier, aqua green lakes, barren landscapes, and meadows full of wildflowers. The loop is 9.5 miles with 3200 feet of climbing, all of which is in the first half of the route from White River Campground.
Find the Glacier Basin trailhead at the far end of the White River Campground. The Glacier Basin trail is 3.25-miles and follows the Inter Fork of the White River toward the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the lower 48 states.
Along the Glacier Basin Trail are vast meadows of wildflowers and forests of evergreens. Several waterfalls from Emmons Glacier form the headwaters of the White River. The Emmons Morraine Trail junction is precisely one mile from White River Campground. Head up Emmons Morraine Trail for an adventurous out and back to get some extra climbing. Be on the lookout for hungry bears feasting on huckleberries and mountain goats resting on the glacier.
At 2.5 miles is the junction of Sunrise Trail. The route turns right on Sunrise Trail, but feel free to continue up the Glacier Peak Trail to the climber’s camp for more spectacular glacier views and rocky scrambles. Several switchbacks on the Sunrise Trail help manage the steep incline along the trees to the Burroughs Mountain Trail.
The Burroughs Mountain Trail follows three peaks described in our Burroughs Mountain Trail route. Enjoy stunning views of the neighboring Winthrop Glacier and the White River Valley. To continue on the loop, turn right on Burroughs Mountain Trail. Turn right again at the junction between the First and Second Burrough. Follow the trail along the ridgeline, looking down at the Glacier Basin Trail that started the loop.
To continue the loop, head right on the Wonderland Trail, dropping 1.25 miles into more subalpine wildflower meadows and huckleberries. The trail follows the east shore of Shadow Lake. Continue on Wonderland for the last 2.5 miles of an almost 2000-foot descent back to White River.