The Larapinta Trail extends over 223 kilometres west from Alice Springs along the West MacDonnell Ranges finishing on the summit of spectacular Mount Sonder. It lies almost entirely within the West MacDonnell National Park, crossing Aboriginal freehold land near Stanley Chasm.
The trail meanders through many gaps and sheltered gorges with waterholes. It also climbs steeply over the rugged ranges with spectacular vistas across the central ranges and the surrounding desert.
The trail can be walked in any direction and is divided into 12 sections, each a 1-2 day walk. Most trail heads are accessible by vehicle although access to some of the more remote sections is by rough 4WD tracks only. While many people walk the entire trail over around 14 days other schedules can be accommodated on the trail including day walks or overnight walking for a shorter period. The Trail itself is made up of a range of grades catering for hikers of varying abilities. All walkers on the Trail need to have a good level of fitness and must be well prepared and equipped.
All trailheads have a water supply so you rarely need to carry more than a days supply of water. Trail heads have rudimentary camping facilities. The trail is suited to adventurous campers who are self sufficient.
The best time to walk the trail is from May to August, it can be very cold during these months so be prepared. In April and September the weather is variable and hot days can be experienced. The rest of the year is too hot, people have died from complications arising from heat stress on the trail so keeping off the trail during hot weather should be taken seriously.
For those walking the entire trail there are two dedicated secure food drop facilities along the trail (Serpentine Gorge & Ormiston Gorge). Standley Chasm Kiosk will also happily accommodate a food drop for a negligible fee.
The Larapinta Trail is quickly establishing a reputation as one of the worlds great walks but does not experience the overcrowding associated with some popular trails. The feeling of isolation and remoteness is a big part of the attraction of trail, together with the fantastic clear desert skies. In fact, when you get to the end of your journey you may feel like turning around and doing the whole thing again.
NOTE: From March 2022 bookings are required, CLICK HERE to see our separate post on booking the trail. Camping fees apply at some of the campsites.