Take refuge from the hot summer weather where the West MacDonnell Ranges part to make way for the Finke River and its fish and birdlife.

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Glen Helen Gorge is a great place to view the West MacDonnell Ranges, take a cool dip, and is an important refuge for local wildlife. The gorge is located 132 kilometres from Alice Springs, in the western reaches of the West MacDonnell Ranges, and is a popular overnight stop for drivers embarking on the Red Centre Way from Alice Springs.

The landscape around Glen Helen is spectacular - a towering sandstone wall is the first thing you see as you arrive. The area includes views of Mount Sonder, one of the highest points in Central Australia, which changes colours with the light.

At Glen Helen Gorge the ranges part to make way for the Finke River. The permanent Finke River waterhole is an important refuge in the hot summer months, for all nine species of fish recorded for the Finke, and migrating waterbirds. From here the Finke River continues and makes its way to the Simpson Desert.

The area's traditional owners believe that this inviting swimming spot is the home of an ancient and powerful Rainbow Serpent, and regard it as off limits.

The medium grade one-day Section 10 of the 223-kilomtre Larapinta Trail walk ends at Glenn Helen Junction.

Opening times:
Accessible at all the times
Entry cost:
Free entry
Activities:
  • Camping
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Self-Guided
Facilities:
  • Caravan / Camper Trailer / Campervan Sites / Campsites
  • Car park
  • Public Toilet
  • Restaurant - Licensed