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Kings Canyon is an unmissable destination in Australia’s Northern Territory. The iconic Rim Walk conquers the towering sandstone walls, ventures through The Lost City and the Garden of Eden and provides panoramic views of the vast red desert and valley of palm trees. If you plan to experience this grand site for yourself, this guide will give you some great information to know before you go.

Hiking Kings Canyon - Rim Walk Guide






Kings Canyon is located in Watarrka National Park, the traditional land of the Luritja and Arrente people. The Traditional Owners manage the national park along with the NT Government.


There are several walking trails at Kings Canyon, but the Rim Walk is the most epic and iconic. It is a 6 km (3.7 mi) loop that takes 3-4 hours. The walk is rated Grade 4, moderate to difficult, and involves quite a few stair climbs. It is signposted and marked clearly with blue arrows.

Other trails on offer include the 2.4 km (1.5 mi) Kathleen Springs Walk, the 2.6 km (1.6 mi) Kings Creek Walk and the 4.8 km (3 mi) South Wall Return Walk.


Most of the walks in the area begin at the Kings Canyon car park. Here, you will also have access to a picnic area with toilets, water stations, barbeques and signage providing information on the trails and current warnings in the area.



It is best to start this hike as early as possible and aim to complete most of the trail before the hottest part of the day. Even in winter, the weather can be extreme and if the temperature is forecast to be above 36 degrees Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit), hikers will not be permitted to begin the hike after 9 am.

The start of the hike is the most gruelling, with an intense stair climb of around 500 steps. Once you reach the top and catch your breath, continue to Priscilla’s Crack. This spot, named for featuring as a location in the Australian movie musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert, will reward you with the first uninterrupted view across the canyon. Next, you will venture through The Lost City, an area of unique sandstone domes named for their resemblance to an ancient city landscape.

As you continue around the rim, there is an optional trail to The Garden of Eden. To reach this spot, you will descend a staircase into the valley, soon arriving in a lush, green oasis surrounding a sacred watering hole. This spot holds great significance to the Traditional Owners of the Land, and therefore, swimming is not permitted.

Climb the stairs back up and continue around to the south side of the canyon, where the views get more breathtaking with every step. From here, you will loop back around to the parking area where the trail began.



The best way to get to Kings Canyon is by car.


From Uluru, the drive is 300 km (186 mi) along Lasseter Highway to Luritja Road and takes 3 hours one way.


From Alice Springs, there are three options. The only route entirely on sealed roads is the Stuart Highway to Lasseter Highway to Luritja Road, which is around 470 km (290 mi) and takes 4.5 hours one way. Other options are to take the unsealed Ernest Giles Road, which is 4wd recommended, or the unsealed Mereenie Loop Road, which requires a permit.

If you do not have the ability to hire a car, AATKings operate coach services from Uluru and Alice Springs. Check the AATKings website for schedules and costs.


A Park Pass is required for entry into Watarrka National Park. It costs $10 per adult and $5 per child and must be purchased online before visiting.


For more information, visit the NT Government website.




Although this hike will only last a few hours, it is important to be prepared, particularly for the harsh Australian weather and lack of shelter on the trail.  



  • Appropriate exercise/hiking clothes – choose lightweight, breathable items suitable for the heat that also provide coverage from the sun.

  • Comfortable hiking boots and socks.

  • Hat and sunglasses.

  • Waterproof/windproof layers – if rain or wind is predicted.



  • Water for 4 hours – 2 litres minimum.

  • Food – bring enough for a substantial lunch and snacks.

  • Sunscreen – apply before starting and at regular intervals.

  • Bug repellent.

  • Basic first aid kit.

  • Phone.

  • Camera.

  • Rubbish bag – be sure to take all your rubbish with you.

  • Hand sanitiser.

  • Hiking poles – we did not use poles but saw many others using them.




The closest option for accommodation near the Rim Walk is the Kings Canyon Resort. The resort is only a 10-minute drive from the Kings Canyon Car Park and trailhead for the Rim Walk. They have a range of options and various price points; from unpowered or powered camping sites to glamping tent, and budget lodges to hotel rooms. They also have a restaurant, pool, laundry, barbecues and a tennis court.

Alternatively, you can stay in Uluru or Alice Springs and make Kings Canyon a day trip, but this will involve many hours of driving and a very early morning start. 

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