Hike the Kings Canyon Rim Walk in Watarrka NP

Kings Canyon Carpark

A beautiful hike along the rim of Kings Canyon, complete with red rock walls, a diversity of wildlife, and even a desert oasis. All that with half the number of annual visitors as Uluru, so you may even get some solitude on the trail!

Kings Canyon is not a place to be missed in Australia's Northern Territory. Located at the western end of the George Gill Range in Watarrka National Park, you'll find an easily accessible but less well-known area of the Red Centre. Both for beautiful light and for staying cool in the heat of the Outback, it's best to start this hike at sunrise. On days where it's predicted to get above 36C (97F), the park does not allow hikers starting out after 9am. The loop must be done in a clockwise direction, starting with quite a wake-up - 500 steps built into the trail that take you atop the canyon rim. Between the warm light on the surrounding walls, wildflowers, and the smell of eucalyptus trees, you may not even notice the steps, though.

Once on top of the rim the trail heads to the right and takes you through a section known as Priscilla's Crack, moving in between rock walls and among beautifully weathered sandstone that has transformed into all shapes and sizes over the years. You'll soon encounter amazing views of the canyon and the creek below. Follow the trail markers along the rim and at about your half way point you'll pass over a wooden bridge and encounter a set of stairs that leads down to the Garden of Eden. Aptly named, this desert oasis hidden down in the canyon hosts shaded pools and 400 year old cycads, and is a perfect spot to stop for a break and do some relaxing.

Returning up the steps from the Garden of Eden, you begin to curve around to the other side of the canyon and wander through an incredible area known as the Lost City, full of weathered sandstone domes. Look out for the beautifully-plumed spinifex pigeons and other local wildlife. You'll have another great chance to peer out over the rim of the canyon on this side before beginning the descent, taking you past Kestrel Falls (flowing after heavy rain) and then back to the parking lot. Please remember to stay on trail throughout your adventure to help protect fragile desert ecosystems and to respect the sites held sacred by the local Aboriginal communities.

Pack List

  • Lots of water
  • Sunscreen and/or a hat
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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RT Distance 3.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 900 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Amazing Hike

The pictures really don't do this place justice! And, I second Benedikt on the water- it gets hot here. There is some accommodation about 30 minutes from the park entrance. When I went in September, there were few crowds and temperatures were bearable in the morning.

Amazing desert hike

Great fun to do this hike. Walking around King's Canyon provides you with nice views of the surroundings. Gets very crowded in November. A lot of water is absolutely necessary. Wear a hat.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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