Distance: 14.5 km
Elevation gain: 870 mView mapDownload GPS track
This is an okay shoulder season hike that starts at the Cataract Creek campground about 13 km south of Highwood Junction.
The usual trailhead is located about 800 m from the main road, ~150 m north of Salter Creek and just before the campground gate. Alternatively, a much nicer trail on old road - heavily used by cows while we were there - starts just north of the Salter Creek bridge, crosses the creek to the south bank, and continues east for about 2.5 km before crossing back to the opposite bank. It is difficult to find on the way, but much easier on the return. It is also likely impossible during spring runoff because of the required crossings of Salter Creek. Regardless of what trail you take, the mostly level section ends after 2.5 km when the trail turns abruptly to the left at a junction marked with a large metal pole.
The ascent is moderate from here to the summit of Mt. Burke and the trail is remarkably well switchbacked the entire way. While we didn't see any animals, we saw fresh tracks of several ungulates, a bear, a fox, snowshoe hares, and a grouse. Presumably they are more visible when it's not hunting season. Unfortunately most of the ascent is in viewless, dull forest with only the last 1.5 km above treeline, although admittedly the views from this section are nice (or would be on a clear day).
The top of Mt. Burke is adorned with two structures: An old and dilapidated fire lookout and a new automated weather station. We sheltered in the old fire lookout, keeping a close eye out for broken glass and nails.