This page tells you about the fabulous hiking and walks you can do in Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park.
We’ll introduce you to the walks on offer, let you know what to bring, when to walk and what to avoid.
The most famous, must-see walk is the spectacular Kings Canyon Rim Walk – which we never grow tired of doing. In fact, we’ve even done it twice in one day!
However, there’s also a couple of gentler hikes for the less adventurous and less fit.
And there’s even a spectacular, but little-known overnight hike to try as well.
Before you go, please read the safety information about hiking and walking in Central Australia. It’s vital that you do!
Gary has had to pull far too many people off Kings Canyon in stretchers due to heat exhaustion or simply overestimating their own fitness. Kings Canyon is a long way from the nearest hospital, so please take care!
Hiking at Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Without doubt, the most famous and breathtaking walk at Kings Canyon National Park!It’s a 6 km round trip that’s got a steep climb at the beginning – so you need some fitness to do this hike. Allow 3-4 hours for sightseeing.
Kings Creek Walk
This very easy walk is great if you’re in a hurry or can’t stand the idea of a steep climb up the Canyon Rim, then the 2.6km (return) Kings Creek walk is for you.
Kathleen Springs Walk
Kathleen Springs has an easy, shady 2.4km walk to a spring-fed waterhole. There’s free gas BBQs and the walk is wheelchair accessible.
The walk is located about 22 km east of the Kings Canyon carpark.
The Giles Track
The Giles Track is a relatively easy overnight walk for those looking for a bit of adventure and the best photographic opportunities of Kings Canyon and its dome formations.
The track is 22 km long and stretches from Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs (we recommend walking from Kathleen to the Canyon).
What to Bring
Kings Canyon hiking is unforgettable – no matter which walk you choose. So what gear do we recommend you take with you?
Here’s our list of must-take items for all Watarrka walks:
- Water: at least 2 litres (unless you’re just doing the Kings Creek Walk – then 1 litre should be fine)
- Wide-brimmed hat
- Hiking shoes, runners or light hiking boots (leave big, heavy hiking boots at home!)
- Snacks such as trail mix, dried fruit or muesli bars for longer walks
- A camera. You’ll never forgive yourself for not taking photos!
When to Walk?
Kings Canyon hiking is most comfortable through the cooler months of the year: May-September.
During this part of the year, you can expect clear days with the world’s most glorious purple-blue skies (you will not believe how amazing the sky is in Central Australia!), mild temperatures (18-25 degrees Celcius) and very little rain.
If you choose to hike from October-April (summer time in Australia), then you need to know that it’s often very, very hot. How hot? Easily 38-42 degrees Celsius.
People from Europe (especially Germany) love to come at this time of year. These are also the people that rangers frequently have to rescue from Kings Canyon because of heat exhaustion.
That said, you can hike the Kings Canyon Rim Walk in the summer (it doesn’t get closed like the Uluru climb), but you need to be sensible.
We recommend you do the following if you’re hiking in summer:
- Take at least 4 litres of water per person
- Go early in the morning (about 5.30-6.00am)
- Aim to be down from the Canyon Rim by 10am
- Don’t do it if you are NOT A REGULAR EXERCISER!
We hope you’ve found this page useful and urge you to follow our safety advice about Kings Canyon hiking. We promise you’ll see much more of Kings Canyon (and get the best photos) by walking than you’ll ever see just by sitting on you butt in a car or a bus!
Here’s to bumping into you sometime on one of the tracks!