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Complete Mount Giles Hiking Guide: Routes, Tips & Essentials

Mount Giles is a peak located in West MacDonnell National Park, specifically in the Chewings Range. It is the 3rd highest peak in the entire park. This towering peak is known for its challenging trails and stunning vistas. Planning a hike to the top? Prepare to be captivated by the awe-inspiring views and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel once you reach the the summit.

In this guide, you’ll find detailed information on how to reach Mount Giles, prepare for the hike, navigate the trails, and fully enjoy the nature-filled landscapes along the way.

How to Get There

West MacDonnell National Park is approximately 120 kilometres west of Alice Springs and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on your stops along the way.

When is the Best Time To Visit?

April to September: Cooler months with mild temperatures, ideal for hiking. Fewer rainfalls ensure accessible trails. The cooler nights are also more comfortable for camping.

Avoid the summer months from November to March, as temperatures can soar above 40°C, and the risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration is high. The risk of flash floods in gorges and river crossings also increases during the wet season.

Tour Options

There are several tours that include viewings of Mt Giles in their itinerary, including the Larapinta Trail 5 Day Trek

 

a brown range of mountains highlighted by the light of dusk with lots of green-brown foreground and rock right near the photographer, with clear blue skies in West MacDonnell National Park near Mt. Giles
IG: @spinifextrekntrail photographing Mt. Giles from far away
Mt. Giles (a brown mountain range) in the background with cloudy skies, in the foreground there are limestone structures and lots of grass and other shrubbery
IG: @mrbenblanche looking at Mt. Giles from a closer viewpoint

Hike to Mount Giles

The hike to Mount Giles is a challenging yet rewarding adventure within West MacDonnell National Park. Here’s a detailed overview of the hike:

Distance and Duration

  • Total Distance: 16 km (one way)
  • Time Required: 2-3 days return
  • Grade: 5 (Difficult)

Route Description

The hike begins at Ormiston Gorge, taking you across the Ormiston Pound floor and following the Ormiston Creek bed towards Mount Giles.

  • Initial Leg: 13 km (one way) from the Visitor Centre to the base of Mount Giles, taking approximately 6-7 hours.
  • Ascent to Summit: 3 km (one way) from the base to the summit, requiring about 3 hours.
 

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Hiking Tips

The track is unmarked after the Pound Walk; follow the creek bed east through the Pound and commence climbing from the south-facing spur line. Walk during the cooler months (April to September) and avoid strenuous activities during the heat of the day.

Highlights
  • Ormiston Pound: The hike offers an opportunity to explore this scenic and geologically significant area.
  • Mount Giles Summit: Standing at over 1,300 metres, it is the 3rd highest peak in the NT, which means at the top you’ll encounter impressive panoramic views of the NT.
Camping

Camping is recommended in the creek bed area, with specific sites marked on the map. Camping fees apply, and sites must be booked online prior to departure.

a camp set on a brown dirt ground with yellow brush and green grass in the background with a mountain range and clear blue skies (Mt. Giles)
IG: @jesssontheroad setting up camp near Mt. Giles
Mt. Giles highlighted in dusk light with clear blue skies and lots of sand/rocks/waterbed in the foreground and trees sparsely distributed
IG: @goldynt observing Mt. Giles from a distance

Planning Your Hike

Preparation:
  • Equip yourself with sturdy hiking boots, ample water, high-energy snacks, a reliable map, and a compass.
Essential Gear:
  • Sturdy backpack, quality hiking boots, hat, sunglasses, and layered clothing.
  • Carry at least 3 litres of water per day.
  • Camera, binoculars, journal, first-aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, lightweight sleeping bag or tent.
Safety Recommendations:
  • Inform someone of your plans.
  • Check weather forecasts.
  • Stay on marked trails.
 

 

Mount Giles FAQ

Is Mount Giles Good for Beginners?

No, the hike to Mount Giles is not suitable for beginners. This is due to its challenging terrain, requiring a high level of physical fitness to complete the strenuous and often unmarked trail.

Do You Need a 4WD to Get to Mount Giles?

No, you don’t need a 4WD. The road to Ormiston Gorge is sealed and suitable for 2WD vehicles.

Is Mount Giles Free?

If you’re a visitor to the NT, you need a National Parks Pass to enter the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park. NT residents don’t need a parks pass but may be asked to show proof of residency. Campsites must be booked in advance if you plan to stay overnight at designated campgrounds.

lots of greenery and shrubs with a dirt path in the foreground and Mt. Giles in the background with a partly cloudy sky
IG: @jesssontheroad photographing Mt. Giles while trekking on a path

Come experience the beautiful scenery of Mt. Giles and explore the West MacDonnell Ranges. Have you hiked to Mount Giles? Comment with your experiences below!

Remember to pack your sense of adventure, respect for nature, and an open mind as you set out to discover the West MacDonnell Ranges. Leave only footprints behind as you traverse the trails and immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of the National Park! We would love your feedback – we encourage you to share your experiences, questions, and suggestions in the comments below. 

You can always get more inspiration for other National Parks to visit by following @northerhq or get your West MacDonnell National Park daily fix @westmacdonnellnationalpark on Instagram or at our Facebook page

*cover image by @tiarne__smith

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Norther

NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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