Larapinta Trail, S8: Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam
Arrernte Country

5 h to 2 days

13.1 km
oneway

↑ 647 m
↓ -568 m

Hard track
Starting from the end of Serpentine Gorge Road, Burt Plain, this walk takes you to the Serpentine Chalet Dam trailhead via the Larapinta Trail (Section 8), visiting Counts Point along the way. This is the eighth section of the 223km long Larapinta Trail. This part of the Larapinta is quite scenic and lets you ride the ridgeline for continuous panoramic views over the surrounding arid land. Although it gets steep and rocky, the steps at the steep parts are well-made to ease the ascent/descent. The vegetation in the area is quite varied, therefore there’s almost always a plant species that is flowering. This helps feed the native animals such as the Common Brushtail Possum. There are two campsites midway that can be used to make this an overnight walk: Counts Point and Oxide Flat. Both have tent pads yet lack other crucial amenities such as water and toilets. Near the end, you’ll have a chance to visit the ruins of the old Serpentine Chalet which operated in the late 50s as well as the dam up north. 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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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 (-23.7594664,132.9793467)
Mode Car
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 52.5 km
  • Turn right and drive for another 1.8 km
Finish (-23.7271335,132.9101609)
Mode (end) Car Shuttle   Car   (The Serpentine Chalet Dam trailhead is only accessible by a 4WD vehicle to a car park 1 km south of the trailhead itself.)
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the car park at the end of Serpentine Gorge Road, Burt Plain, head towards the singular informational signpost with a small metal roof on it along the dirt path. Pass by the said signpost to your right and head towards the rocky dirt track located behind the logs on the ground. Head over the said logs and join the dirt track, moving directly away from the car park. Pass by a directional sign (a blue arrow on white background) to your left and stay on the designated track to continue along Larapinta Trail, S8: Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
Find the Serpentine Gorge at the start.
Find the gate at the start.
Turn left, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 7.
After 20 m pass the sign (on your right).
After another 10 m pass the "Larapinta Trail Information" (on your left).
After another 20 m pass the toilet (40 m on your left).
After another 1.8 km come to the camp site (6 m on your right).
After another 5 km pass the sign.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This highly recommended side trip takes you to the Counts Point viewpoint where there is a campsite as well (tent pads only). Breathtaking views of the surrounding land await you. To start this optional side trip veer right here. On returning from this side trip turn left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
Continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 8.
After another 2.4 km continue straight, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 8.
After another 175 m veer right, to head along Larapinta Trail Section 8.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This considerable side trip takes you to the Serpentine Chalet Bush Camp, passing by the Serpentine Chalet itself (ruins) along the way. Will add around an hour of moving time to your hike (out & back). To start this optional side trip turn sharp left here. On returning from this side trip error >360 when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 3.6 km continue straight.
After another 25 m pass the toilet (on your left).
After another 35 m come to a shelter.
Then pass the water tap (10 m on your right).
After another 15 m come to "Larapinta Trail Information".
The end.

This highly recommended side trip takes you to the Counts Point viewpoint where there is a campsite as well (tent pads only). Breathtaking views of the surrounding land await you.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Larapinta Trail Section 8.
After 720 m come to the "Counts Point" (on your left).
After another 30 m come to the camp site.
After another 25 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 780 m to the main route.

This considerable side trip takes you to the Serpentine Chalet Bush Camp, passing by the Serpentine Chalet itself (ruins) along the way. Will add around an hour of moving time to your hike (out & back).
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 1 km continue straight.
After another 780 m cross the ford.
After another 170 m find the "Serpentine Chalet" (15 m on your right).
Serpentine Chalet
Serpentine Chalet

Built in 1958 by Len Tuit, this chalet was quite capable with 5 cabins, a kitchen and a living area for the staff. You can visit this place with a 2WD vehicle from Namatjira Drive, yet you'll need a 4WD vehicle to get to Serpentine Chalet Dam.
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Built in 1958 by Len Tuit, this chalet was quite capable with 5 cabins, a kitchen and a living area for the staff. You can visit this place with a 2WD vehicle from Namatjira Drive, yet you'll need a 4WD vehicle to get to Serpentine Chalet Dam.

After another 345 m cross the ford.
After another 160 m cross the ford.
After another 240 m come to "Serpentine Chalet Bush Camping".
The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 2.7 km to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Larapinta Trail, S8: Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 13.1 km
Time 5 h to 2 days
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Generally useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) (2/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
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 5 km apart with the largest gap of 9.7 km.

Shelter: There are 3 on route, on average they are 3.3 km apart with the largest gap of 13 km.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 4.4 km apart with the largest gap of 13 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Shelter
40 mLarapinta Trail Information
Toilet
60 m[toilet]
Camp site
1.9 km[camp site]
Camp site
6.8 km[camp site]
Camp site
13 kmSerpentine Chalet Bush Camping
Toilet
13 km[toilet]
Shelter
13.1 kmLarapinta Trail Information
Shelter
13.1 km[shelter]
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