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This hiking trail has been officially registered as a sacred site, meaning official permission is required to hike to the summit of Mount Gillen.
This spectacular, un-formalised and un-signposted Mount Gillen and the Heavitree Range hike takes you to the summit of Mount Gillen; the prominent ridge standing sentry over Alice Springs to the west of the main gap.
It's a steep walk for fit walkers beginning at the Flynn's Grave car park 7km west of town on Larapinta Drive. Around 50m west of the Flynn Grave memorial locate the walkers gate and head south along the well trodden path toward the obvious Mt Gillen peak. Soon the track takes a sharp right turn and narrows. Follow the eroded track steeply up to saddle and then on until you reach the rock face where you'll need to do some scrambling to find your way on to the top of the Heavitree Range. From here follow the track east for about 500m to the trig point where you will be rewarded with wonderful 360 degree views of the surrounding ranges, valleys and the western parts of town.
This hike continued over the Heavitree Range onto the valley below then turned east to end just beyond the Todd River and Heavitree Gap.
Alternative and shorter hike is to return from the summit to Flynn's Grave car park via the same route.
About the region
The Heavitree Gap, or Ntaripe in the Arrernte language, is a water gap in the Northern Territory of Australia in the MacDonnell Ranges. It is the southern entrance to the city of Alice Springs and in addition to the Todd River it carries the main road and rail access to the south.
Nestled between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges, ‘The Alice’ (Alice Springs) is famous for its beautiful desert landscapes, colourful outback characters, opportunities for adventure and a strong Aboriginal culture. Alice Springs is a remote town in Australia’s Northern Territory, halfway between Darwin and Adelaide, both 1,500km away. It’s a popular gateway for exploring the Red Centre, the country's interior desert region.
From Alice Springs, head west along Larapinta Drive to the John Flynn Historical Reserve. Park your vehicle here and locate the trail-head on the south west corner of the carpark.
- Carry water, particularly in summer.
- Poles will be useful on bot the ascent and descent as they trail is loose and rocky in parts.
- Take care on the scramble to gain the summit.
Max elevation: 914 m
Min elevation: 565 m
Total climbing: 333 m
Total descent: -377 m