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The current trail grading system for the Larapinta Trail is classified under three main grades: MODERATE, HARD, VERY HARD (described below). All 12 sections of the trail are graded in this way. PWCNT has adopted the AWTGS and is gradually introducing the grading system across its national parks and trails, including the Larapinta Trail. We have provided some information about the AWTGS as a guide only, but this has not been officially endorsed by PWCNT. We recommend the PWCNT Trail Grading system as the best guide to gauge difficulty.
Key Points
Point All sections require a basic knowledge of bushwalking
Point All sections traverse over rough terrain
Point Hard/Very Hard sections are suitable for experienced bushwalkers only
Point Most sections traverse across remote areas
Point All sections generally require an above average level of fitness
Point Section 4, 5 and 9 will definitely meet their definitions and grades
Grade Section Location Location
Moderate Grade 3 Section 1 Telegraph Station  Simpson Gap
Moderate Grade 3 Section 2 Simpson Gap   Jay Creek
Hard Grade 4 Section 3 Jay Creek Standley Chasm
Very Hard Grade 5 Section 4 Standley Chasm   Birthday Waterhole
Very Hard Grade 5 Section 5 Birthday Waterhole Hugh Gorge
Moderate Grade 3 Section 6 Hugh Gorge Ellery Creek
Hard Grade 3 Section 7 Ellery Creek Serpentine Gorge
Hard Grade 4 Section 8 Serpentine Gorge  Serpentine Chalet Dam
Hard Grade 5 Section 9 Serpentine Chalet Dam Ormiston Gorge
Moderate Grade 3 Section 10 Ormiston Gorge   Finke River
Hard Grade 4 Section 11 Finke River Redbank Gorge
Hard Grade 4 Section 12 Redbank Gorge Mount Sonder
PWCNT Trail Grading System- Current Official Grading System in Use
This is the current official trail grading system used by Parks and Wildlife Commission (PWCNT). The three main classifications ( MODERATE, HARD, VERY HARD) are used to define the difficulty of each section. Note: The icons and colour codes are our own addition, but the three main classifications and descriptions have been developed by PWCNT. Below are the exact definitions.
MODERATE A narrow track which may be rough in places, with some climbing and descending (suitable for people who walk regularly and are used to long distances).
HARD A rough and narrow track with some steep and/or long climbs and descents (suitable for fit people with previous bushwalking experience).
VERY HARD A rugged track or marked route with frequent steep and long climbs and descents (suitable for fit people with extensive previous bushwalking experience).
Australian Walking Track Grading System (AWTGS): National System
The Australian Walking Track Grading System was developed by the Victorian Government and endorsed by the Parks Forum as a voluntary industry standard for the national classification of walking tracks/trails across Australia. This system has been adopted by PWCNT but is yet to be applied to the Larapinta Trail officially. We have classified each section using the AWTGS as a guide only, but this has NOT been officially endorsed by PWCNT. More info on AWTGS (Vic Gov Site and PWCNT brief on the AWTGS
GRADE 1 No bushwalking experience required. Flat even surface with no steps or steep sections. Suitable for wheelchair users who have someone to assist them. Walks no greater than 5km.
GRADE 2 No bushwalking experience required. The track is a hardened or compacted surface and may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps. Walks no greater than 10km.
GRADE 3 Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections, a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.
GRADE 4 Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.
GRADE 5 Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20km.
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