Walk through this towering red-sandstone gorge carved out by floods to discover a rich array of native flowering plants, ancient cycads and diverse bird species.
Standley Chasm is at its most spectacular in the middle of the day, when the 80-metre (260-foot) red-sandstone walls reveal their brilliant colour. The land is owned and cared for by the Arrernte people who live nearby. In the Arrernte language the gorge is known as Angkerle. The name Standley comes from the first schoolteacher in the area who was the first white woman to visit the chasm. Take the walking track that runs along the gully to admire the lush ferns, cycads and gums that shelter in the moist, shady environment.
The walking track runs along a creek bed that is mostly dry. Occasional fresh springs along the creek attract wildlife and allow wildflowers to grow up the chasm’s sides. It’s an easy walk along the track but it’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes, as the creek bed is rocky. Stop for a quiet moment along the way to see the lizards, wallabies and birds that live here. You may even see a dingo.
Continue along the track for another half-hour to the next gorge. A second 45-minute return trail leads to a hilltop with great views over the Chewings Ranges. The third section of the Larapinta Trail ends at Standley Chasm and section four continues on from here to Birthday Waterhole, 18 kilometres (11 miles) away.
Return to Standley Chasm to visit the café and gift shop run by the Aboriginal people who care for this reserve and who are descended from some of the earliest inhabitants of the area. Purchase handmade craft and paintings. Bring food from Alice Springs to enjoy a barbeque lunch.
Standley Chasm is 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of Alice Springs. There is a small cost for entry to the park, which includes overnight camping.