You'll get your first glimpse of the strikingly beautiful Cerro Castillo about 80 km south of Coyhaique on the Carretera Austral. One of the best ways to explore the mountain and its surroundings is a five-day, 45 km hike that covers part of the Paths of Chile. This is one of the country's most famous hikes because it offers fantastic views of hanging glaciers, paths that run through beech forests and narrow passes that remain covered in snow even during the summer months.
As you move along the route, you will see exotic wildlife such as majestic eagles and condors and the timid huemules, Patagonia's native deer and one of Chile's national symbols. Those who are not expert trekkers or familiar with the area are advised to go with a guide because the route is poorly marked and there are no bridges or gateways.
If you plan ahead, you can make a day trip of it. Plan to reach the lake (which used to be a glacier) that lies at the foot of this imposing mountain in the morning. The four-hour climb offers a spectacular view of Cerro Castillo itself, the hanging glaciers and the Ibáñez River Valley. You will make the first half of the trek on horseback and the following two on foot over loose rock. Book your tour in advance in the town of Villa Cerro Castillo.
|San Rafael Lagoon
||Palena - Queulat|
|Pumalín - Futaleufú||Cerro Castillo National Reserve|
|Villa O'Higgins - Tortel||General Carrera Lake and Baker River|