Jeinimeni National Reserve in Chile Chico, Patagonia might just be Patagonia’s best-kept secret. This national reserve has been around for years but only now has popped up on the radar thanks to the newly-formed Patagonia National Park that brings Lago Cochrane National Reserve, Patagonia Park and this reserve together as one giant natural wonderland.

Located 65km south of the town of Chile Chico, it is a short detour from the famous Carretera Austral in the Aysen Region of Chile.

The reserve has a micro-climate of its own. You can explore the beautiful milky turquoise lake and walk through valleys, dense forests and even see ancient paintings from the nomadic Tehuelche people who travelled between Argentina and Chile 14,000 years ago. Along the historic circuit within the park, you can walk through the trails that they once trod and traded along. There are three main highlights worth viewing along the 7.4km trail, that will take you approximately four hours to complete.


Guanaco in Chile Chico, Patagonia

Where to hike in Jeinimeni National Reserve

Jeinimeni National Reserve

The Pinned Rock

Shaped by wind erosion, Piedra Clavada is a 40m high rock that looks like it’s been pinned to the ground. The hike to Piedra Clavada begins at kilometre mark 25 on the path that leads from Chile Chico to Jeinimeni Lake National Reserve. Follow the route through the mountain pass, and right in the middle you’ll see Piedra Clavada.

Pedregoso River Hand Cave

If you reach the Piedra Clavada first, just continue to follow the trail towards the portezuelo (the path between two mountains) and head upwards. This part of the trail is not difficult, but does involve ascending to 1,145m above sea level. From the portezuelo, walk down 100m to find the hand caves.

The cave contains an exceptional display of cave paintings dating back to between 9,500-13,000 years ago. There are many outlines of hands in the cave, but also images depicting animals such as guanaco and hunting scenes.

Moon Valley

Once you reach the top of this route, you’ll be faced with incredible formations of rocks in shades of red and white, that recall a lunar landscape. The views are spectacular. Continue to follow the trail and it will lead you back to the parking lot where you first started when you visited the Piedra Clavada.

About the author

Hiking In Jeinimeni National Reserve

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

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