Running due west from Alice Springs, the West MacDonnell Ranges contain a variety of impressing and interesting geological features and landscapes. Simpsons Gap is a dramatic cleft in the range through which a dry white sand riverbed fringed with river red gums winds. Standley Chasm with its vertical red walls that glow in the midday sun gives the impression of some sort of giant fracture in the rock. It contains permanent springs and unusual plant life and is a pleasant excursion on its own.
Ellery Creek Big Hole is a large permanent waterhole nestled in the ranges that is a favourite swimming place for locals in the summer. The water can be freezing at other times of the year however.
The Larapinta Trail winds 250 kilometres from Alice Springs through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Mount Sonder. The Trail is one of the world’s great walks and visitors not wishing to attempt the entire walk can chose sections to walk in the space of a day.
Most of the West MacDonnell Range’s key attractions are easily accessible from Alice Springs via a sealed highway as far as Glen Helen Resort.