Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park

Simpsons Gap is one of the most prominent gaps in the West MacDonnell Ranges.

At dawn or dusk you may spot a black-footed rock wallaby along the walking track or near the permanent waterhole. You cannot swim in the waterhole.

Vegetation typical of the MacDonnell Ranges is found in the area, including large stands of mulga and over 40 rare and relict plants.

Several dreaming trails and stories cross at this important spiritual site.

There are many short walks that pass the native plants of the area, including ancient ghost gums, and to views of the range.

Simpsons Gap is also located on the Larapinta Trail and from here you can walk sections one or two.

Camping is allowed at Simpsons Gap for Larapinta Trail walkers only, at the designated camping area.

Get the Simpsons Gap fact sheet and map PDF (1.1 MB).

Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park view one Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park view two Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park view three


Ormiston Gorge Ranger Station phone: 08 8956 7799

Simpsons Gap Ranger Station phone: 08 8955 0310

Park sitesAccessComments Forecast opening
Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park Open  -
Birthday Waterhole Open   -
Ellery Creek Big Hole Open   -
Dolomite Walk Open   -
Glen Helen Gorge Open  -
Glen Helen Gorge Walk Open  -
Finke River Two Mile Open   -
Hugh Gorge Open   -
Ochre Pits Open   -
Aranda Walk Open   -
Ormiston Gorge Open   -
Ormiston Gorge campground Open   -
Ormiston Gorge Kiosk Open   -
Ormiston Pound Walk: Ormiston Gorge Open with caution Be prepared to wade through cold water or return to the carpark back along the Ormiston Pound Walk in a clockwise direction. -
Ghost Gum Lookout Open   -
Ghost Gum Loop Walk  Open   -
Redbank Gorge Open with cautionHigh clearance 4WD required. -
Redbank Gorge Walk Open   -
Simpsons Gap OpenUpcoming closure - Simpons Gap and Darken Drive will be closed from 6pm Saturday 23 October to 3am Sunday 24 October 2021.-
Simpsons Gap Bicycle Path Open  -
Serpentine Gorge Open   -
Serpentine Chalet Dam Open with caution 4WD access only. -
Larapinta Trail
Larapinta Trail Open   -
Section 1 - Telegraph Station to Simpsons Gap Open   -
Section 2 - Simpsons Gap to Jay Creek Open   -
Section 3 - Jay Creek to Standley Chasm Open   -
Section 4 - Standley Chasm to Birthday Waterhole Open   -
Section 5 - Birthday Waterhole to Hugh Gorge Open   -
Section 6 - Hugh Gorge to Ellery Creek Open   -
Section 7 - Ellery Creek to Serpentine Gorge Open   -
Section 8 - Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Open   -
Section 9 - Serpentine Chalet to Ormiston Gorge Open   -
Section 10 - Ormiston Gorge to Finke River Open   -
Section 11 - Finke River to Redbank Gorge Open   -
Section 12 - Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder return Open   -

All year round, but it is best to visit in the cooler months from April to September.

The turnoff to Simpsons Gap is along Larapinta Drive, 18km west of Alice Springs.

The Gap can also be reached by cycling 17kms one way along the sealed Simpsons Gap Bike Path.

You can do all of the following activities in the park:

Camping is not permitted unless you are walking the Larapinta Trail.

Simpsons Gap has all of the following facilities:

  • information signs
  • ranger station - for emergency contact only
  • picnic area
  • public toilets
  • drinking water - must be treated before drinking
  • gas barbecues
  • disabled access
  • parking.

When visiting the park remember all of the following:

  • stay on designated roads and tracks
  • all historic, cultural items and wildlife are protected
  • fires are not permitted - use the barbecues provided
  • pets are not permitted in the park
  • swimming is not permitted in Simpsons Gap
  • a permit is required for drone use – conditions apply and it must be obtained prior to your arrival in the park.

You can have a safe and comfortable trip to Simpsons Gap by doing all of the following:

  • observe park safety signs
  • carry and drink plenty of water
  • wear a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, suitable clothing and footwear
  • avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day
  • think about your health and fitness when choosing a walk
  • use free interactive park maps on your mobile phone or tablet.

Phone: 08 8951 8250

Last updated: 19 November 2019

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