Ranked as one of the planet’s top 20 treks, the Larapinta Trail is a 223 kilometre path that follows the rocky spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder.
Challenge yourself to hike the whole trail or tackle one of its 12 sections, all of which vary in difficulty and length. Each section can be reached by four-wheel drive, so you can join or leave the trail at any of the Tailheads.
The Trail encompasses some of the key attractions of the ranges including Simpsons Gap, and the permanent waterholes at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen. It weaves past some of the world’s most ancient metamorphic and igneous rock and nearly 600 species of rare flora.
The Trail also links in with other walking tracks within the West MacDonnell National Park, allowing side trips to explore more of the Park.
Along the way you camp under the stars. Most camp sites have picnic tables and tent sites. All Trailheads have a water supply and some have free gas barbecues. Fully guided tours are available, otherwise set off on your own ensuring you’re well equipped and have notified the relevant authorities.
Some campgrounds in the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park have campsite fees, including:
Ellery Creek Big Hole – $5 per person
Ormiston Gorge – $10 per person
Redbank Gorge – $5 per person.
You should carry the correct amount as change is not available.
There is a charge to stay at Standley Chasm and Glen Helen Resort as these are privately owned and operated.
All other campsites are free and most are set aside for use by Larapinta Trail walkers.
West MacDonnell National Park travelling to there | From Alice Springs car, campervan and motrhome access to the Park is via Larapinta Drive and Namatjira Drive. From Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) the unsealed Red Centre Way (4wd access recommended) connects to West MacDonnell National Park. Simpsons Gap is also accessible via a 17 km sealed bicycle track which starts opposite Flynns Grave, 7 km from Alice Springs along Larapinta Drive.
West MacDonnell National Park access | is accessible nearly all year round. The cooler months (April to September) are the most pleasant. All roads can be impassible for short periods after heavy rain.
About the region
West MacDonnell Ranges
West MacDonnell national park is a vast and spectacular section of the MacDonnell Ranges and an outstanding example of an ancient landscape sculptured over time by climatic elements.
The West MacDonnell (Tyurretye) National Park stretches some 161 km due west of Alice Springs.
There are cool scenic gorges being mportant refuges for plants and animals, many of which are found only here and some are relicts of a bygone era of tropical forests such as Palm Valley.
For more information on these trails please visit the Do the NT.