Distance: 10 km (6 mi) return to cirque; 16 km (10 mi) return to summit
Time: 4 - 6 hours to cirque; 8 - 10 hours to summit
Elevation gain: 548 M (1,800') to cirque; 1,442M (4,729') to summit
Maximum elevation: 1,280 M (4 200') at cirque; 1,990 M (6,529') at summit
Trailhead: Cottonwood trailhead at Kathleen Lake, 27 km (17 mi) south of Haines Junction
Topo map: Kathleen Lakes 115 A/11
This is a steep trail up to a spectacular cirque -- the "seat" of the King’s Throne. It is possible to follow an unmarked, unmaintained route to the peak of the mountain. Alpine flowers and great views are the highlights of this hike.
Kings Throne trail
The trail begins at the Cottonwood trailhead (located between the campground road and the day use area at the lake shore). For approximately the first 2 km, the trail follows an old mining road along the south side of Kathleen Lake. Watch for a trail marker indicating where the King's Throne trail and Cottonwood trail branch off to the left. Here, at the base of the mountain, the trail begins to climb through a forested area. Another trail marker will indicate where the Cottonwood trail branches to the right. Stay left to continue up the King’s Throne trail. Once the trail emerges from the trees, it zigzags back and forth up the mountain. Please hike on the switchbacks and avoid shortcut trails to prevent erosion and confusion. This will take you to the bench of the throne. The maintained trail ends here.
A route is not a trailRoutes are not marked with signs or maintained in any manner. The route described here is only a suggestion that may help guide you on your trip. Self-reliance and wilderness travel experience are essential, including excellent route finding skills, map and compass skills. It is the responsibility of individual hikers who choose to follow such routes to adequately prepare and be prepared to rely on themselves.
Distance: 6 km (3.8 mi) return trip
Time: 2-4 hours
Elevation gain: 710 m (2,329’)
Maximum elevation: 1,990 m (6,529')
To follow the unmarked, unmaintained route to the peak of the mountain climb the grassy ridge on the left side of the cirque (as you face into the cirque). After a steep climb up the ridge, at about 1,830 m (6000'), the terrain levels out and you can cross the mountaintop to the peak.
What you need to know
The steep scree and rock slopes encountered on this trail and route can be unstable and can present some difficult hiking. Weather is another factor to consider on this route. Strong wind gusts can be a hazard on the exposed ridges. Also watch for clouds, which can descend rapidly and make finding the trail or route difficult.
Sturdy footwear is recommended for the trail and route. Also, the rocks will be slippery on rainy, wet days, so use caution.
Bear sightings are common in the area. Review bear safety information in the You Are In Bear Country brochure. All bear sightings should be reported to the staff at the Kluane National Park and Reserve Visitor Centre in Haines Junction.
Cellular telephones do not work in most of the park. Satellite phones or satellite messaging devices are strongly recommended.