Vulcan's Throne, a cinder cone volcano, erupted 72,000 years ago, sending a 1200-foot-high wall of lava into the Grand Canyon. One of at least 17 in the Grand Canyon's history, the resulting lava dam created a lake that ran as far back as the present-day Phantom Ranch. The silt-filled Colorado eventually overcame the dam, grinding away the basalt and returning the river to its present state. Today Lava Falls, one of the largest rapids on the Colorado River, marks the existence of this massive volcanic dam. A sandy trail leads to the western slopes of Vulcan's Throne and then on to a hiking trail that leads down into the Grand Canyon. The geological history of the region is written largely along the trail. A part of the six million-year-old Uinkaret Volcanic Field, Vulcan's Throne's dark volcanic cinders stand in dramatic contrast to the red and orange Toroweap Formation sedimentary sandstone through which the volcano rose. Both were tectonic forces instrumental in shaping the Grand Canyon. In the quiet of the area, you can pause and contemplate the wonder of the ever-evolving earth on which we reside.
In an effort to manage the number of visitors to the area, all motor vehicles entering the Toroweap area of the Grand Canyon National Park require a backcountry permit or a day-use ticket available through Recreation.gov.
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