Distance: 15 km
Elevation Gain: 1250 m (4101 ft)
Time: 8 hours
Date Added: June 1, 2008
Last Update: January 2, 2010
The King's Throne is truly a majestic site when viewed from the shores of Kathleen Lake. It looks as if you would need to be a mountaineer with ropes to climb it - but in reality it is not that bad, and is indeed a popular day hike. The views of the surrounding valleys and Kathleen Lake are absolutely breathtaking.
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Drive south from Haines Junction on the Haines Road for 32 km. Turn right at the Kathleen Lake Campground; the campground is well signed. Drive towards Kathleen Lake (rather than the campsite) and look for a sign which says Cottonwood Trail / King's Throne Trail. Park where the sign indicates. Here you will find the old mining road which is the trailhead.
From the parking lot, follow the old mining road alongside Kathleen Lake. You will reach a fork in the road with a log sign post which indicates to go left for King's Throne/Cottonwood Trail or right for Kathleen Lake. The sign post may be knocked down. If in doubt, always stay to the left on the road. Take the left and continue until you reach the second fork with another log signpost which indicates to go left for King's Throne or right for the Cottonwood Trail. Take the left path which immediately begins to climb steadily upwards.
Note: Overnight trips in Kluane National Park and Reserve require registration and approved bear resistant food canisters. Please visit the Park's website for details.
After a steady climb in the trees, you will reach the treeline and will be following the rest of the path through loose rocks. Here you will get your first view of Kathleen Lake and the surrounding valley. The path switchbacks upwards and should be clearly visible if there is no snow on the trail.
You will reach an obvious plateau in the seat of the King's Throne with an ampitheater of rocky ridges surrounding you. This is a popular lunch stop with an amazing view, and is the turn around point if you are not interested in climbing along the ridge to the summit.
If you decide to continue up towards the summit, the trail becomes more difficult, but is well worth the effort for the extra view of the other side of the mountain. Facing the mountain, you will be taking the left ridge, so continue along the trail and follow it up the steep climb up the ridge. This left ridge will eventually lead to the summit on the right, so don't be tempted to take a short cut and climb the ridge on the right - its too steep.
The path along the ridge starts out steep and eventually turns rocky again. You will soon get a view of Dezadeash Lake to your left while climbing up the ridge. The trail should remain clearly visible except in some rocky scree areas where the trail is not always easy to see. If in doubt, continue along the ridge and stay away from the steep cliffs.
At the top of the ridge will be a plateau where you get a view of some of the mountains adjacent to King's Throne. However, you also get a taste of the brutal winds which can knock you straight off your feet, so you may decide to take a few photos and continue along the ridge right away.
After another steady climb you will finally be rewarded with a magnificant view behind the mountain. Valleys, rivers, lakes, and mountains seem to continue without end. On a clear day you can see the large massif of Mount Alverstone, Mount Hubbard, and Mount Kennedy from here - which is so magnificant as to give you a chill. Carefully follow the thin ridge towards the summit of the King's Throne.
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