Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.21872°N / 113.07696°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 5102 ft / 1555 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Vulcans Throne is one of the more unusual summits of the Grand Canyon. Unlike the various sandstone and limestone buttes, temples and spires scattered across the canyon, Vulcans Throne is a cinder cone, with fresh volcanic rock spilling down its’ slopes into the Colorado River below. It, along with nearby volcanoes and cinder cones such as Mount Trumbull, would erupt and cause lava flows that would change the course of the river, damming the flow and changing it’s direction. As a cinder cone (and despite the loose rock that goes with it), Vulcans Throne is one of the easiest Grand Canyon summits to climb thanks to the road going to Toroweap, which can get you less than a mile from the base. It is also one of the few summits that doesn't require a descent into the canyon, making a climb to the top more of a traditional mountain climb, rather than the typical canyon peak that ends with an ascent back up to the rim.

Summit panorama
Summit panorama

Getting There

Getting there is probably the crux of the climb. Toroweap is in the extremely remote Arizona strip, far from and town or services. From the NPS website:

Access the three main routes to Tuweep from AZ 389 between Fredonia, Arizona, and St.George, Utah. Allow two to three hours driving time. Bring the BLM Arizona Strip Visitor Map, and do not rely solely on your GPS unit. Muddy conditions exist during summer monsoons and from winter precipitation.

Sunshine Route: County Road #109, the most reliable route, leaves AZ 389 eight miles (13 km) west of Fredonia or six miles (10 km) east of Pipe Spring National Monument. This 61-mile (98 km) road features sharp rocks, washboarding, and dust. Please do not stop on tribal land when traveling this route.

Clayhole Route: County Road #5 leaves AZ 389 at Colorado City, Arizona. It is 56 miles (90 km) long and impassable when wet.

Main Street Route: BLM Road #1069 and County Road #5 from St. George is 90 miles (145 km) long. This scenic route is impassable in winter due to snow and mud.

Regardless of the route taken, Vulcans Throne should be obvious once you ass the ranger station shortly after the park boundary. At the junction between the Toroweap Campground and Lava Falls Trailhead, there is a 2WD high clearance parking area. You can park here, or continue less than one mile down the road to the Lava Falls trailhead and park at a clearing near an old earthen dam. It is worth noting that the worst sections of the road are beyond this junction, and any high clearance vehicle should be able to make it this far.

It is also possible to hike the throne directly out of the Toroweap Campground, although there are significant cliff bands between the campground and summit, and it may be easiest to park at this junction regardless. It is also possible to climb it directly from the Lava Falls Trailhead.

From the parking area.
Vulcans Throne from the parking area.


From the junction of the Toroweap CG road and Lava Falls TH, head cross country through sage brush and across mud flats to the base of the summit. Pick a line heading up slope up the loose volcanic rock. I found no evidence of a use trail, it's just a grind up to the rounded summit.

Looking downslope towards the parking area.
Looking downslope towards the parking area.

Red Tape

Admission to GCNP is $30 for 7 days. I highly recommend the "America the Beautiful" Pass for $80, which covers the entrance fees for all federally managed parks and land for one year. 

View west.
View west.

When to Climb

As with most hiking in Arizona, Fall and Spring are the best. Summer can be brutally hot, with no water sources. Winter has been known to wash out sections of the road after rains, check with the NPS for the latest conditions.


A backcountry permit is required to camp in the primitive Toroweap Campground. There is plenty of great at-large camping for free around Mount Trumbull and Mount Logan about 10 miles up the road.

External Links

Trip Report- The Mountains Are Calling

Vulcans Throne
Vulcans Throne



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.