The photothermal ablation of solid tumors using exogenous, near-infrared (NIR)–absorbing nanoparticles has been previously investigated using various preclinical models and is currently being evaluated in the clinic. Here, we evaluate the circulation kinetics, preliminary toxicity, and efficacy of photothermal ablation of solid tumors using gold nanorods systemically delivered and passively accumulated in a murine subcutaneous colon cancer model. Tumored animals were infused with nanorods followed by the percutaneous illumination of the tumor with an laser. Control groups consisted of laser-only, nanorod-only, and untreated tumored animals. The survival of the treated and control groups were monitored for post-treatment. The survival of the photothermally treated group was statistically longer than the control groups, with approximately 44% tumor free through the evaluation period. Histopathology of the major organs of animals infused with nanorods did not indicate any significant toxicity at post-treatment. Particle biodistribution was evaluated by elemental analysis of the major organs of untumored mice at 1, 7, and after infusion with nanorods. Elemental analysis indicates nanorod clearance from the blood and retention by the reticuloendothelial system. This study indicates that gold nanorods are promising agents for photothermal ablation of solid tumors.