Kings Canyon’s Most Spectacular Walk
Of all the possible Kings Canyon hiking you could do, the Kings Canyon Rim Walk is the most famous and most spectacular.
The Rim Walk is six kilometres in length, and suitable for relatively fit walkers who are able to take on an initial climb up about a thousand (1000) steps to the top of the Canyon.
The Kings Canyon Rim Walk can be completed in about three to four hours depending on how often you stop to admire the extraordinary scenery.
Even though I’ve done this walk hundreds of times, it’s still one of my very favourites.
What to Expect
As you begin to climb upwards you get a sense of what a very special experience you are about to have. That first look into the Canyon inspires you to keep going even though you’re not at the top yet.
The first part of the walk is an ascent of 1000 steps, with several places to stop and rest (and pinch yourself at the amazing scenery along the way)!
There is no denying that many people will find the climb very tough.
However, if you take it slow and easy, you’ll find that the rest of the walk is a pretty easy going once you’ve got to the top!
It’s not long before you go through Priscilla’s Crack made famous by the 1994 movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Once through here, you come to the first lookout and an awesome view across the north wall to the south wall of the canyon.
You may have heard of the Lost City; here at the canyon it is best described as a series of sandstone domes which somewhat resembles the structure you might have found in an ancient city.
No matter what you think or imagine you’ll find the views magical. I guarantee they will leave you spellbound.
From the Lost City you continue to wander through the domes and can choose to follow the path out to Cotterill’s Lookout, so named after one of the first tour operators to the area, or continue on the Garden of Eden via one of the most striking staircases you’ll see in the outback.
This is a really interesting side track which wends its way along the steep sandstone banks of Kings Creek to a permanent waterhole from which the overflow spills out into the floor of the canyon.
On your return from the waterhole you’ll climb up out of the Garden of Eden using almost a mirror image of the staircase used on your way down and continue on your way around the mouth of the canyon until you get to the south wall.
If you walk down past the cliff safety sign and parallel to the edge you’ll come to a spot that is great for taking a photo back along the cliff edge to the waterfall.
Once you leave the south wall you are past half way and heading back towards the car park, but wait!
There are still plenty of sights to see along the way.
You’ll be surprised at how many plants are growing out of what seems like stone, and if you read our signs you will find a wealth of information to help you understand just how this can happen.
It’s pretty well all downhill from here but you’ll still see some great scenery until at the end of a ridge line you will start the final descent towards the carpark.
What to Bring
The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is suitable for fit walkers with good footwear
Here’s our list of must-take items for all Watarrka walks:
- Water: two litres minimum/ four litres on hot days
- Wide-brimmed hat
- Hiking shoes, runners or light hiking boots (leave big, heavy hiking boots at home!)
- Camera. Do NOT forget your camera!
When to Walk?
The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is a walk that most people should only consider doing between May-September.
The walk is mostly atop the escarpment, very exposed and there is little shade.
However, if you choose to hike from October-April (summer time in Australia), remember it’s very, very hot: 38-42 degrees Celsius. That’s over 100F.
Rangers frequently have to rescue people from the Rim Walk during summer because of heat exhaustion. Be warned!!
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!
The Kings Canyon Rim Walk really is one of the great walks of the outback and something you won’t forget in a hurry.
There’s nothing like a bit of competition and so we are always stirring the park staff at Uluru and saying that Kings Canyon is far better. Once you’ve visited tell us what you think. I know I’m biased but I reckon the Canyon blows the Rock out of the water!!!
Outback Hiking – general guide