Parque Patagonia Discovery Trek
- Traverse Parque Patagonia
- Deep wilderness experience
- Stunning mountain scenery
- Glacial-fed alpine lakes
- Waterfalls and rushing rivers
- Broad, wild river valleys
- Wildlife, glaciers & wild flowers
- Backpacking & wilderness instruction
Patagonia National Park is a wild landscape protected thanks to love of wild places, with conservation at its forefront. Outdoor and conservation allies Kris and Doug Tompkins, in partnership with Yvon Chouinard, created Conservacion Patagonica, a US-based nonprofit. Their mission: to build new national parks in compelling, ecologically critical areas of Patagonia. Patagonia National Park lies at the center of the Aysén Region, the most remote and unexplored region of Chile. The heart of the park, the Chacabuco Valley, forms a biologically-critical transition zone between the temperate rainforest to the west and the arid Argentine steppe to the east, and is home to a unique abundance of native flora and fauna.
Conservacion Patagonica had a vision for the park. In 2004, they purchased Estancia Valle Chacabuco, Chile’s third-largest sheep ranch and transformed the overgrazed valley into the heart of Aysén’s flagship national park. They intended to restore grasslands, protect the entire 650,000-acre area, develop durable and inspiring, public access infrastructure and spark a local economy based on conservation. Patagonia National Park offers an unparalleled classroom for exploring the complexity and importance of conservation in the 21st century. Through nine days in the rugged backcountry of Patagonia’s newest national park, participants will traverse over 65 miles through the varied ecosystems that make Patagonia National Park a conservation priority. From dazzling glacially-fed lakes to expansive grasslands, this expedition will immerse participants in the beauty and solitude of remote Patagonia, while challenging them physically and intellectually.
Our guests will learn about the rich and complex backstory of the park’s conservation, as well as the backcountry skills needed to travel through the park. We will delve into Patagonia’s natural and human history and gain a richer understanding of the uniqueness and importance of this landscape. This is a rare opportunity to take advantage of the true wilderness of Patagonia, while learning about conservation and the technical skills associated with backcountry travel.
(This trip is operated by Wildland International, a partner company of Wildland Trekking with shared ownership, management teams, guides, and other resources.)
Trip Dates & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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On this Patagonia hiking tour, Wildland will pick you up from the domestic Balmaceda (BBA) airport in Chile, the main airport for the remote, wild Aysén Region. (You will connect through Santiago to reach Balmaceda.) We will leave the airport at 4pm and transfer everyone to Coyhaique. (NOTE: Make sure you arrive before 3pm!) We will have dinner, an introductory briefing and overnight at our elegant accommodation on the outskirts of town, the Patagonia House (see accommodations.) Be sure to drink copious amounts of water in route, as flying and traveling will certainly dehydrate you. Self-care begins immediately.
This morning after a hearty Patagonian breakfast, we will pack our bags and depart Coyhaique. We drive roughly 2 hours to Puerto Ibanez, traveling out of the temperate rainforest and into the Patagonian steppe, where we will board a ferry and cross the brilliant-blue Lago General Carrera, South America’s second largest lake. Upon arrival on the other side of the lake, we drive another 1.5 hours to the Jeinimeni trailhead of Patagonia National Park, on the shores of the spectacular clear Lago Jeinimeni. After lunch, we will jump into classes on how to set up camp, backcountry cooking and meal preparation, and sleeping warm in chilly Patagonian evenings. We will also hike to a dramatic lookout over Lago Jeinimeni before returning to camp, cooking dinner gathering to share our goals for the trip and discuss plans for the days to come. Finally, we'll turn in for a great night's sleep beneath the stars.
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 150 feet
After sharing our first breakfast, we’ll dive into the finer points of pack-packing and pack-fitting, and then move onto boot fitting and hiking techniques to make sure we’re set up for successful hiking. Our traverse of Patagonia National Park starts winding along the shores of Lago Jeinimeni, on a track formerly used by gauchos who used this route to bring livestock to market. The lake sits in a spectacular valley between brightly colored red and green mountains, evidence of the rich geological past of this region. Toward the end of our day, we’ll reach our first substantial river crossing: glacial river crossings are one of the elements that make this trek an adventure. Our professional Instructors will show you how it’s done! We will discuss risk management and proper techniques associated with crossing rivers, before arriving at the spectacular Camp Raleigh, tucked on the shores of aptly-named Lago Verde.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1200 feet
We’ll start this morning and settle into and observe this spectacular landscape, our home for the next week. As we set off for the day, we’ll learn about the native plants of the southern beech forest we travel through, before leaving the forest and entering a dramatic glacial valley that leads to the day’s major challenge: the pass to the far shore of Lago Verde. From the top of the pass, we’ll enjoy dazzling views of Lago Verde and Valle Hermos stretching out behind us, a remarkable sight! After a well-deserved break, we’ll take our time navigating a steep descent, then make our way across Valle Hermoso, crossing several rivers, to our camp: the Refugio Valle Hermoso, tucked into the trees on the bank of the river.
- Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
- Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Time for a day hike! We leave the full backpacks behind for a day exploration of the remote Valle Ventisquero, making our way toward the hanging glaciers for which the valley is named. Great opportunity for a polar plunge, for the brave! As we hike, we’ll focus on navigation and route finding. You will learn how to use a map and compass while understanding how they relate to route finding. Back at camp, we’ll have a conversation about the history and creation of Patagonia National Park.
- Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
This morning we wake up and bid farewell to our cozy campsite, traveling west up Valle Hermoso toward its dramatic glaciers, crossing the braided river numerous times. After several miles, we cut into the pristine southern beech forest, making our way gradually up a low pass into the Aviles Valley, one of the north-south valleys that leads into the park’s main Chacabuco Valley. From here, we amble downhill to a midway point in the valley, where we set up camp beneath colorful peaks and waterfalls. We’ll relax in the grasslands and share conversations after dinner.
- Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
- Elevation Gain: 700 feet
This morning we set off down the Aviles Valley, through dramatically changing scenery. The forested upper valley gives way to rugged canyons and unusual topography. We cross a high hanging footbridge over the canyon and continue our hike into the main Chacabuco Valley. We eventually arrive at our front-country campground at Casa Piedra and complete the Jeinimeni-Aviles route. Good news! We get hot showers and fresh vegetables! Our guides will debrief the day before heading off to sleep.
- Hiking Mileage: 9 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
After a fresh breakfast, we set off from Casa Piedra with our backpacks re-filled with food supplies, ready to take on the second part of our traverse of Patagonia National Park. We soon arrive to the tropical-colored (not in temperature, though!) waters of Lago Gutierrez, and climb high above the lake for dramatic views. Our challenge continues as we make our way over a pass in the Cordón Chacabuco, which on a clear day provides views of Cerro San Valentin and Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia’s two highest peaks. We camp on the shores of Lago La Guagua, a remote lake that few have visited. Upon arrival at camp, we set up our tents, cook dinner and our guides will provide the plan for the next day.
- Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1800 feet
This morning, we’ll set off after breakfast through wild southern beach forest before encountering yet another remote alpine lake. We wind our way around several lakes, crossing through prime habitat of the endangered huemul deer, one of the species this park was created to protect. We’ll set up camp near our final lake, enjoying rich bird life.
- Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1200 feet
Our final hiking day begins as we take off from the lake shore, making our way toward the park headquarters. We continue the Siete Lagunas hike until it merges with the classic Lagunas Altas trail, the first trail established in the park with sweeping views across the Chacabuco Valley. We continue hiking until we reach our accomodation for the night, Valle Chacabuco Lodge. Upon arrival, we will have showers, visit the new park museum and enjoy a celebratory dinner at the Rincon del Gaucho park restaurant.
This morning we will wake up early and board our transportation back to Balamaceda, driving north along the Carretera Austral (“Southern Highway”), often called one of the world’s great road trips. We’ll drive along the turquoise Baker River, and then near the eastern border of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. The total drive is approximately 6 hours. We can either drop you at the airport or in town depending on your flight departure time. We hope you have learned a lot and enjoyed your adventure. Thanks for choosing Wildland Trekking.
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, availability of refugios, political or bureacratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.
- A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
- Access to our Adventure Consultant team 7 days a week
- Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 1 and ending on the day you depart
- Lodging and camping accommodations (Lodging Details)
- Meals beginning with dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the final day
- Backcountry cooking and dining equipment and utensils
- Professional, certified Wildland Patagonia hiking guides
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
- You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Transportation to Balmaceda, Chile
- Individual gear including tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, backpack and trekking poles (tents can be rented but are mandatory double occupancy)
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (strongly encouraged)
- Bar bills, drink bills, extra snacks, telephone bills , wifi bills and other personal expenses (shopping/ laundry)
- All expenses due to unavoidable events e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc. (we recommend trip insurance coverage for these variables)
- Gratuity for guide(s) and crew (industry recommendation is 10-20% of total trip cost; please tip your lead guide and they will distribute responsibly to the crew. USD is recommended.)
This Patagonia hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guides. We'll have dinners at carefully selected, wonderful restaurants in Balmaceda as well as meals prepared on the trail as a group.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Trekking poles
- Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Satellite phone
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).
Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!
We will meet you at the airport in Balmaceda, Chile at 4:00 PM on Day 1 and transport you to the first night's hotel (included), where we'll conduct an orientation meeting the first evening (your flight should arrive before 3PM). Your guide will be in contact approximately 4 weeks before your trip to coordinate your rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.
Your safety is our top priority. Our Global Destination trips are led by professional hiking guides along with additional support staff. All of our guides are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Finally, we've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) for more information.
In the interest of your safety, it's important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.
Your tour will be led by trained, experienced professionals with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The standard group size on this hiking tour is 12 guests and 2 guides, with a minimum of 2 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) and we'll answer all your questions.
Age restrictions are as follows:
- 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
- 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis
For your protection, we strongly recommend the purchase of field evacuation, repatriation, and medical trip insurance. International travel is expensive, and the modest cost of trip insurance is a sound investment in an uncertain world.
If you wish to purchase trip insurance, we recommend IMG/iTravelinsured. They are one of the world’s leading providers of travel insurance.
For information on recommended IMG/iTravelinsured policies please click here.
For even greater information, or if you simply prefer communicating with a real, live person, feel free to contact our exclusive agent Michael Bennett. Michael will help you identify the best product for your needs, and there is no cost associated with his assistance. You may contact him at:
Email: WildLandTrekking@EasyToInsureME.comIf you already have insurance or wish to purchase from anyone other than IMG/iTravelinsured, we recommend careful consultation with the provider to ensure appropriate coverage. This is because many providers have a number of policy exclusions.
US by Phone: 877-305-9083
Direct/International by Phone: 702-448-3664
If you secure an insurance policy please bring a copy of it to provide to your guides at the orientation meeting.
Chile is a long, thin country extending North-South more than half the length of South America which gives it a tremendous diversity of climates. The Patagonia region of Chile, where we operate our trips, is at the far southern tip of South America, relatively far from the equator and close to the South Pole. It is a generally cool climate with potential for year round inclement weather including rain, snow, sleet, and very strong winds.
The average temperatures and precipitation in the Patagonia region are:
|October||51° F||37° F||5 in|
|November||55° F||40° F||5.6 in|
|December||57° F||42° F||7.2 in|
|January||59° F||44° F||5.1 in|
|February||58° F||43° F||3.8 in|
|March||55° F||41° F||4.9 in|
|April||50° F||38° F||5.8 in|
This is Patagonia's newest and most exciting boutique hotel in Coyhaique, the capital of Aysen, Chile's remote region with stunning forests, rivers, lakes, glaciers and peaks. This hotel is perfectly situated for our jumping off point into Parque Patagonia, and offers us a relaxing, scenic home for the night.
Most of this trip, our accommodations will be tent camping in the backcountry at established campgrounds. The campgrounds are in intensely scenic locations that put right in the action to make the most of our Patagonia trek. Most are outfitted with rustic amenities such as bathrooms and solar-heated showers.
Valle Chacabuco Lodge
Inspired by famous and historic national park lodges from around the globe, Chacabuco's amazing woodwork and stunning photography of local cultures and landscapes offer an iconic lodging experience. The main living and dining areas and comfortable rooms are perfect for resting after our week of adventure.