Hiking & Trekking In Chile


Hiking In Cerro Castillo National Park

Chile's most spectacular hikes and treks

Marcela Torres
By Marcela Torres

Located in the heart of Aysen Patagonia, this jagged mountain peak is getting more attention from hikers and is said to be the next Torres del Paine. Located 60 miles south of Coyhaique just off the Carretera Austral, the Cerro Castillo National Park offers exciting trails and mountain biking.

There are two main routes at Cerro Castillo—a four-day hike to the mountain’s base and a day-trip to the meltwater lake of Laguna Castillo, which follows part of the bigger trek.

Both routes offer constant views of Cerro Castillo and its glaciers. There are panoramic views of the Turbio River and the Ibáñez River and you can even spot huemules, a native deer-like animal hidden in the trees along the path. Whichever option you choose, it’s worth travelling with a guide.


Cerro Castillo National Reserve

Where to hike in Cerro Castillo

Cerro Castillo laguna trek

This popular day trek starts from Villa Cerro Castillo and is well signposted. The roundtrip takes about 6-7 hours and with an altitude gain of 1,100m, this isn’t an easy hike, although it is simple to follow as orange markers show the way. Starting in farmland, the path ascends sharply through forests, offering views of rivers, mountains and lakes bordering Chile and Argentina. The viewpoint from the lagoon is spectacular, with Cerro Castillo shining in the background.

Cerro Castillo circuit trek

This famous 4-day hike takes walkers on a 53km jaunt through the Cerro Castillo National Reserve. This is a wild trek, with no shops or refuges along the way. Consequently, you’ll have to be self-sufficent, carrying all your camping equipment, cooking gear and clothing. Drinking water is plentiful, but use purification tablets to sterilise stream and lake water.

The trail starts from Las Horquetas, a turning off the Carretera Austral between Coyhaique and Cerro Castillo. Day one consists of a gentle, flat meander to the National Reserve through woodland and field until your reach the valley of Rio Turbo and a campsite.

Day two is a steep hike up to El Peñon pass, which stays snowy even in summer. There are great views over the entire reserve from here, before a rocky descent to either El Bosque camp in the forest or the slightly further La Tetera near the turquoise Cerro Castillo Lake.

Day three sees walkers travel up the Cerro Castillo pass, which offers even better views of the lake and valley below. It can get very windy on the pass, so take care with the descent. Here, you have three options: Stay at Los Porteadores camp, hike an extra hour to the more remote Neozelandes camp, or head straight back to Cerro Castillo village. Your final day is a simple hike down back to the road.

About the author

Hiking In Cerro Castillo National Park

Marcela Torres

Born in Santiago, Chile, Marcela is a journalist and local expert on outdoor travel. She’s earned a master's degree in tourism with an emphasis on ecotourism, operated a tour company, and co-authored a Spanish-language guidebook about Chile’s national parks. Her travel career has taken her all over South America, and she has also lived in Australia, Costa Rica, and the United States. Follow her coverage of tourism in Chile at tourism-people-nature.blogspot.cl

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