Larapinta Trail, S9: Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge
Arrernte Country

12 h to 2 days

28.2 km
oneway

↑ 977 m
↓ -1121 m

Very challenging
Starting from the Serpentine Chalet Dam trailhead (1km north of the 4WD accessible car park), Burt Plains, this walk takes you to the Ormiston Gorge Car Park via the Larapinta Trail (Section 9), visiting the Mount Giles Lookout and Waterfall Gorge along the way. This is the ninth section of the 223km long Larapinta Trail. Expect a challenging epic journey high up on the ridges that will reward you with some of the best 360-degree views around. Besides that, you’ll have heaps of campsite options as there are many unofficial campsites along the way. The only designated campsite is the Waterfall Gorge, where there is usually minimal or no water despite its name. Speaking of water, there are no water tanks or natural sources midway, so you’ll need to plan well and carry a significant amount. Besides that hiccup, this is one of the most scenic hikes you can take on in Northern Territory, day or night. Don’t forget to cool off in the lovely waterhole in Ormiston Gorge as well. Keep in mind that the Serpentine Chalet Dam trailhead is only accessible by a 4WD vehicle to a car park 1 km south of the trailhead itself. Let us begin by acknowledging the Arrernte people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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Warning
This journey requires significant bushwalking experience, specialised equipment and navigation skills.
Please ensure you and your group well prepared and equiped for this journey.

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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Full Journey Larapinta Trail
Start (-23.7271335,132.9101609)
Mode Car (Serpentine Chalet Dam trailhead is only accessible by a 4WD vehicle to a car park 1 km south of the trailhead itself.)
DirectionsFrom Telegraph Terrace, 87
  • Turn on to 6 then drive for 25 m
  • Continue onto Larapinta Drive, 6 and drive for another 850 m
  • At roundabout, take exit 2 onto Larapinta Drive, 6 and drive for another 880 m
  • At roundabout, take exit 1 onto Larapinta Drive, 6 and drive for another 44.3 km
  • Turn right onto Namatjira Drive, 2 and drive for another 58.6 km
  • Turn sharp right and drive for another 1.8 km
Finish (-23.6317088,132.7273263)
Mode (end) Car Shuttle   Car  
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the Section 8/9 trailhead (1km north of the Serpentine Chalet Dam car park), Burt Plain, head west along the dirt track and cross the creek bed. Follow the said track as it skirts an open area to the left. Stay on the designated track as you look for the directional signposts (blue arrows on white background) to continue along Larapinta Trail, S9: Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
There is water tap (about 25 m back from the start).
Larapinta Trail Information.
Find the toilet at the start.
After 2.2 km pass the "Inarlanga Pass".
After another 3 m (at the intersection of Larapinta Trail Section 9 & Arrernte Walk) continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 9.
After another 10.4 km come to the "Waterfall Gorge camp site" (7 m on your left).
After another 195 m pass the "Waterfall Gorge" (on your left).
After another 1.7 km come to the "Lookout" (on your right).
After another 30 m come to the camp site (8 m on your right).
After another 1.3 km come to the "Hermits Hideaway" (8 m on your left).
After another 2.4 km continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 9.
After another 75 m continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 9.
After another 2.5 km cross the ford.
After another 6.6 km (at the intersection of Pound Walk & Larapinta Trail Section 9) veer left, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 9.
After another 90 m cross the ford.
After another 560 m come to "Ormiston Gorge".

Mo-Su 10:00-16:00
Then to find the "Larapinta Trail Information".
About 70 m past the end is "Ormiston Gorge".
About 95 m past the end is "Snack Kiosk".
About 105 m past the end is "Ormiston Gorge".
The end.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Larapinta Trail, S9: Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge


Grading
Class 5/6
Very challenging
Length 28.2 km
Time 12 h to 2 days
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Very steep and difficult rock scrambles (5/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
Experience Required High level of bushwalking experience recommended (5/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (2/6)

Some facilities on route
Camp site: There are 3 on route, on average they are 7 km apart with the largest gap of 12.7 km.

Shelter: There are 2 on route, on average they are 9.4 km apart with the largest gap of 28.2 km.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 9.4 km apart with the largest gap of 28.2 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Shelter
-1 mLarapinta Trail Information
Toilet
4 m[toilet]
Camp site
12.7 kmWaterfall Gorge camp site
Camp site
14.6 km[camp site]
Camp site
15.9 kmHermits Hideaway
Shelter
28.2 kmLarapinta Trail Information
Toilet
28.2 kmOrmiston Gorge
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Weather & Alerts
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