West MacDonnell Ranges

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesPalm Valley Campground
FinishAlice Springs
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable for4WD AWD 2WD Caravan Camper Motorhome Bike 
Distance297.56 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed49.93 km/hr
Driving Time5 hrs 57 mins
Page Updated: 14 Mar 2017


There is so much to see in the Alice Springs region that you really need to plan your route carefully. With a 4WD you get the opportunity to avoid backtracking and can reach all the major and lesser known sites over a comfortable 1 week period. If you are a particularly keen walker, photographer or artist you would certainly want to allow 2 weeks or more. Most sites have various tracks to explore ranging from easy walks of just a few hundred metres to overnight hikes. There are countless opportunities for soaking up the surroundings on foot but if you are in a rush, excellent bitumen roads links all the major attractions to within a day's drive of Alice Springs.

This route we describe here is 2WD accessible as it follows the bitumen Larapinta Drive out of Alice Springs passing John Flynns Grave, Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm, then swings east on the Namatjira Drive to Ellery Creek Bighole, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge. A good dirt road continues the trek to Redbank Gorge, Gosse Bluff and Hermannsburg with a 4WD only diversion to Palm Valley.

2WD Accessible Sights (Walking tracks at all, camping at most)

The walking in the West McDonnells is excellent with quite a few choices depending on your level of fitness or temperature of the day. Walking close to some of the rocks can get incredibly hot in middle of the day, yet there are some gorges better visited at midday when the sunlight shines directly on the rocks and lights up the sheer walls with intense red colours (such as Standley Chasm).

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.




Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolGlen Helen.
4cyl 42 litres4cyl 48 litres4cyl 60 litres
6cyl 46 litres6cyl 54 litres6cyl 52 litres
8cyl 46 litres8cyl 49 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Alice Springs Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 59.02km E
Mean Max. °C36.435.132.628.223.019.819.722.627.230.933.635.4
Mean Min. °C21.520.717.512.
Mean Rain mm38.643.832.316.318.913.615.09.28.521.429.136.9
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The following locations have various services And supplies:Glen Helen


Loading Resources...

Embed Map
Embed this trek map directly into your website or page. It is easy and free, click the button to retreive the embed code and copy and paste it to your website or page.

What to See

Download Trek
Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge, Redbank Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge, Gosse Bluff (Tnorala), Palm Valley and much more.

Showing 6 Places

Where to Stay

Download Trek
Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.

Showing 5 Places


LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Palm Valley Campground to Lower Mount Hermannsburg13.03 kmN33 min
Lower Mount Hermannsburg to Larapinta Drive & Boggy Hole Access5.67 kmNE44° 10 min
Larapinta Drive & Boggy Hole Access to Hermannsburg0.54 kmNW303°
Hermannsburg to Albert Namatjira's House5.23 kmW273° 10 min
Albert Namatjira's House to Gosses Bluff Meteorite Impact Crater56.18 kmW287° 1 hr 19 min
Gosses Bluff Meteorite Impact Crater to Tylers Pass21.54 kmN17° 31 min
Tylers Pass to Namatjira Dve, West MacDonnell NP Boundary24.14 kmNE64° 24 min
Namatjira Dve, West MacDonnell NP Boundary to Glen Helen Gorge20.51 kmSE117° 24 min
Glen Helen Gorge to Glen Helen0.92 kmN343° 3 min
Glen Helen to Finke River, Namatjira Dve0.88 kmN344°
Finke River, Namatjira Dve to Ormiston Gorge and Pound 9.48 kmNE44° 9 min
Ormiston Gorge and Pound to Neil Hargrave Lookout30.48 kmSE128° 33 min
Neil Hargrave Lookout to Ellery Creek Big Hole18.37 kmE101° 17 min
Ellery Creek Big Hole to Point Howard Lookout11.98 kmE104° 19 min
Point Howard Lookout to Hugh River, Namatjira Dve21.63 kmE92° 16 min
Hugh River, Namatjira Dve to Namatjira Dve & Larapinta Dve9.42 kmE97° 6 min
Namatjira Dve & Larapinta Dve to Iwupataka (Jay Creek)5.9 kmNE41° 4 min
Iwupataka (Jay Creek) to Alice Springs41.65 kmE75° 45 min
Palm Valley Campground to Alice Springs297.56 km  5 hr 57 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


Nearby ExplorOz Treks

Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words West MacDonnell Ranges. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.

Showing 5 blogs.


Post a Comment
You must be registered and logged in to post here.

Registration is free and takes only seconds to complete!

Popular Content