Lava Falls at a glance
Photo Album: Lava
Falls Pictures Trail Map: Lava Falls Map Day hike: Yes, but camping at Lava Falls is allowed with a permit. Distance: 1.5 miles ( 2.41 km) one way Average hiking time: 8 hours - 2-4 hours down, 2-6 hours up. Difficulty: Strenuous and precarious. Falls are common, loose footing, bouldering. Permits: no, unless you want to backpack and camp down at the river Trail conditions: This trail is hot in the summer and is in full sun. Carrying
enough water might be impossible for some. Consider hiking in the spring. Gloves
are good protection from sharp rocks and cacti. Barrel Cactus are common along
the route. Many hikers will find themselves using their hands often on the down
hike to keep from falling on unstable footing. Cairns mark the route. Trailhead: The Lava Falls route and Vulcan's Throne route share the same trailhead. Trailend: Same as starting Trail access: 2.5 mile 4WD road that is impassible if water is in the usually
dry Toroweap Lake. Elevation Change: 2540' in 1.5 miles. This is steep,
do not underestimate the hike. Starting Elevation: 4180' at Lava Falls Trailhead Colorado River Elevation: 1640' Off the beaten path: yes Classic Park hike: Inner Canyon hike that is rarely traveled. Best season: Spring and Fall. Winter the daylight hours
might be too short, summers are too hot. Water availability: No drinking water, but there is of course water at the river. Restrooms: Toroweap Campground or Toroweap Rim
Lava Falls Trailhead: From the Toroweap Rim go back down the road 2.8 miles
and take the unmarked dirt 4WD road toward the usually dry Toroweap Lake and
past the cinder cone of Vulcan's Throne. When there is excessive rain the lake
bed can become muddy and the road will be impassible even with a 4WD.
There is no trail, but there is a route of sorts down to the Colorado River
through a corridor. If you are looking for an enjoyable and scenic trail this
is not it, but it does have its value. The hardcore hiker will be drawn to the
challenge and the end point is the river. Do not underestimate the time needed
to finish this hike since route finding is difficult and in the dark might be
impossible. To add to this, the path is a jumbled mess of sharp and unsecured
Make your way down the steep and unstable section, following the sparse display
of cairns along the way. The first named section of the trail is called Vulture
Valley. It's a bit unsettling to look up in this barren land and see the Turkey
Vultures circle overhead as they like to do in this section of the route. At
the bottom of Vulture Valley is a vertical step with a down climb. Climb up and
over the large basalt ridge where the Colorado River and Prospect Valley are
now visible. Toward the bottom of the route bright angel shale is visible. The
roar of Lava Falls, although a low hum from the Toroweap Overlook, is now crystal
clear. The falls are found .3 miles downstream from the routes end. In the Grand
Canyon the Lava Falls section here forms rapids that are perhaps only second
to the Crystal Rapid.
Directions to North Rim Grand Canyon: From Zion National Park, take on U-9 through the park to Mt. Carmel Jct. Turn south on US-89 to Kanab. There is only one stop light in Kanab; this is where US-89 changes to ALT 89. Fredonia, Arizona is 6 miles. In Fredonia take 89A to Jacob lake (36 miles), then take AZ 67 to the Grand Canyon North Rim park entrance.
Lava Falls rests below Toroweap Point at Tuweep in Western Grand Canyon
Lodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.
Best Trail Features: Trail leads to the Colorado River.
The Trail: This is the shortest and steepest rim to river hike in the Grand
Canyon. Lava Falls was formed in 1939 by debris from Prospect Canyon. Watching
the boats navigate the 13' drop is a high point of this hike.
Options: Hike up the cinder dome at the end of the hike rather than fighting
the loose footing along the cairned route. if you are good at route finding you
could even begin the hike this way.
Western Grand Canyon Permits
Permits can be obtained up to four months in advance from the NPS backcountry Information website.
Permits are available in person six days in advance or less, and at the Pipe Spring National Monument which is 14 miles west of Fredonia, AZ. They can also be obtained at the Public Lands Information Center in St. George, UT at 345 E. Riverside Drive.
Overnight use for the Tuweep area is only allowed at the Tuweep Campground. Picnic tables and composting toilets are provided. Reservation permits are required for all camping and overnight use at Tuweep Campground.
Nine small campsites are available for one to six people with a maximum of two vehicles, including motorcycles. One large group campsite is for 7–11 people with a maximum of four vehicles, including motorcycles. There is no water available. Permits cannot be issued at Tuweep.
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park
Contact Tanya to report errors: Email