Key information: Cerro Castillo
- Some of the finest landscape in mid Patagonia: dramatic eroded basalt mountains, deep valleys, waterfalls and lakes in this remote and unspoilt region.
- Walkopedia rating87
- Natural interest17
- Human interest2
- Negative points0
- Total rating87
- Length: 62km, 4 days+
- Maximum Altitude: 1,400m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
Cerro Castillo (2,675m) sits 75km south of the city of Coyhaique in middle of the remote Cerro Castillo National Reserve. This is a range of high, heavily eroded and glaciated, basalt mountains separated by deeply-gouged valleys. The scenery is stunning and very varied, claimed to be some of the finest in the central Patagonian Andes: from forested upper valleys to hanging glaciers with waterfalls that cascade into the mountain lakes deep in among these impressive mountains. The most prominent, Cerro Castillo, owes its name to the striking basalt turrets and rocky ridges that give it the resemblance of an ancient castle.
As well as day walks from Villa Cerro Castillo, there is a superb trek across the massif, which gets close in under the great cliffs and spires of Cerro Castillo itself, taking in lakes, gorges and fine highlands. The trek takes 4 days minimum, including a number of small(ish) river crossings, winding through open streamside pastures, wonderful alpine forests, glacial debris and a mountain pass at 1,400m, adjacent the towering turrets of Cerro Castillo. It is recommended you walk the trail north-south, as the northern end is just a roadside, while the village of Villa Cerro Castillo awaits you at the end. This is a reasonably demanding trek in remote mountains where you will need to be completely self-sufficient. Come prepared. The route is generally unmarked, so good route-finding will be important. Camping is the only option out in the park. Many walk the route unsupported, although guides are available and will add valuable knowledge.
This region has the advantage of being (relatively) sheltered from the prevailing weather by mountains to its west, so is drier than much of Patagonia. While the summer is generally good, January to March are the best times to trek high here. Beware the tabanos horseflies in February.
Lonely Planet's Trekking in the Patagonian Andes has an excellent chapter on this walk. (Now somewhat dated.)
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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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