Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve
is accessed just 75km south of Alice Springs
from a turn-off along the Stuart Highway. A 22km access road that is unsealed with sandy patches leads to the reserve, which offers vehicle access, camping and walking.
The area gets it name from the scenic sandstone
bluffs and cliffs that show rainbow
-coloured bands. These are particularly striking at dawn/dusk when the colours are enhanced.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
The coloured rock bands in the sandstone
cliffs were caused by water. In earlier, wetter times the red iron of the sandstone
layers were dissolved and drawn to the surface during the dry season. The red minerals formed a dark, iron rich surface layer with the leached white layers below. This dark red capping is hard, and weathers slowly, whereas the softer white sandstone
below weathers quickly into loose sand. Weathering and erosion have also produced the valley shape, where sandstone
blocks have eroded into rock faces and squared towers.
Surrounding the James Range are spinifex dominated sand plains and claypans.
The traditional owners (Upper Southern Arrernte people) call the area Wurre. The Reserve has important archaelogical sites and artefacts which are evidence of ancient Aboriginal occupation in the area. A spread of black rocks at the northern base of the main rock formation is significant as is a large rock massif, known as 'Ewerre' which is a registered scared site.