Trace the footsteps of mountain pioneers on this unique hiking adventure deep into the heart of Patagonia. Trek through the diverse wilderness of Jeinimeni National Reserve and Parque Patagonia, following a remote path once used by cattle smugglers. Spend five unforgettable days exploring hanging glaciers and turquoise lakes, overnighting in remote camps and huts. Then, it's on to San Lorenzo massif, the second highest summit in Patagonia, where you'll share meals and stories with a gaucho family and visit the hut of the Italian priest who first conquered the peak.
Explore the awe-inspiring landscapes of Jeinimeni National Reserve and Parque Patagonia
Trek past glacial lakes and wildlife-rich pampas with views of San Lorenzo's dramatic spires
Experience a traditional gaucho barbecue and learn about the pioneers who settled the area
Arrive at Balmaceda Airport in Northern Patagonia. Meet your trip leader and transfer to your hotel in Coyhaique. Explore the town on your own, then gather in the evening for a group dinner and trip briefing.
Depart early and travel through Cerro Castillo National Park and Ibañez Pass, known for its stunning views of the dramatic Castillo mountain range and the Rio Ibáñez. Board the Tehuelche Ferry in Puerto Ibañez for a 2-hour voyage to Chile Chico, a small mining and agricultural community on the lake's southern shore. From there, continue on to the Lunar Valley trailhead for a short hike that showcases surreal geological formations and evocative, ancient cave art. The length of the hike will vary, depending on the day's logistics. Overnight at cabins in Chile Chico.
Travel across the Patagonian plains and along the Jeinimeni River to Jeinimeni National Reserve, a 39,000 acre outdoor paradise with a rich diversity of habitats. Set off on a challenging, 18-mile hike from Jeinimeni Lake to Glacier Hut Camp. The trail crosses wide, shallow rivers with lots of glacial and river debris, along turquoise-blue Jeinimeni Lake, and over La Gloria Pass, with gorgeous views of Esmerelda Lake, Jeinimeni Lake, and many lofty peaks. Tackle a number of steep inclines before reaching Glacier Hut Camp in Valle Hermoso, your home for the night.
Embark on a technical trek of the Lago Superior circuit, stopping for a box lunch at the hanging glacier of Punta Guanaco peak. The hike is steep and ascends on eroded rock and gullies until it reaches the dramatic landscape of Baguales Glacier, named after the wild horses the original settlers found there. Enjoy the exhilarating views of glacial lakes and cascading waterfalls before returning via the same path to Glacier Hut Camp for dinner.
Rise early for a hike through the spectacular Pinturas Valley on our way to Parque Patagonia. From Glacier Hut Camp, descend to the Ventisquero Valley and hike alongside two glacial lakes. Cross streams through flat glacial watersheds and pass under hanging glaciers as condors soar over the sharp peaks above. Continue along the river and through beech forest over the low Aviles Pass and through the Pinturas Valley to our pristine camp. Dinner and camping at Rio Pinturas.
Start your morning with stellar views of Jeinimeni, the highest mountain range in the area. Traverse river beds and beech forests as you descend to the Pinturas River valley. Visit a few old huts from the time when the park was a ranch and marvel at the sheer walls of old volcanic rocks. Take in spectacular views as you cross a hanging bridge over the river. Then make a sharp descent that ends at the confluence of the Chacabuco Valley and Casa de Piedra before transferring to your elegant lodge.
Today presents two options. The first is a 13-mile hike with beautiful views of Mount San Valentin and San Lorenzo - the two highest peaks in Patagonia - with the opportunity to experience the revival of fauna in the area. A second option is a half-day hike dotted with picturesque lagoons and lakes, with ample opportunities to view wildlife. Return to the lodge for dinner.
Drive to Cochrane, stopping for a short walk to stretch the legs. After lunch along the way, continue on to Estancia San Lorenzo. From here, we take a 2-hour hike through a beech forest and past heart-shaped Corazon Lake to Estancias base camp.
Take a trail through a beech forest that opens onto a valley with views of the San Lorenzo Mountains. Explore the remains of a rustic hut built by Alberto De Agostini, an Italian priest and mountaineer who was the first to summit San Lorenzo. Weather permitting, we'll have lunch with views of an alpine lake and the pinnacles of the massif. We'll then return to Estancia San Lorenzo camp for dinner and tales of the legendary pioneers and adventurers who first explored this rugged land.
Today we'll hike deep into the Tranquilo Valley with the Cordon Cochrane mountain range amphitheater with its shimmering hanging glaciers and array of unclimbed peaks.
In the evening, we'll enjoy a typical gaucho barbeque with the locals, complete with music and stories.
After an early breakfast, depart by shuttle bus and take a bumpy road to the peaceful Green Baker Lodge on the emerald-colored Baker River. En route, we'll stop for a short hike to Mirador Confluencia. The afternoon is at your leisure; enjoy fishing, take a well-deserved soak in the hot tub, or simply relax. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the lodge.
Rise early for a morning departure to Balmaceda Airport. It's a long drive, but the spectacular views of General Carrera Lake, beech and larch trees, and the Patagonian Andes are worth it. Enjoy a packed lunch along the way.
MT Sobek first pioneered this route in 2016 and it has become a favorite of our most adventurous hikers.
Experience the wonders of Parque Patagonia - a major, public-private conservation project - on this exclusive MT Sobek itinerary.
Reap the benefits of our 40+ years of experience in Patagonia with top-notch, expert guides leading the way.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Moderate to strenuous hiking covering up to 18 miles a day on rocky trails with some river crossings.
A range of lodging, from remote tent camping to modern hotels with amenities. Includes two luxurious nights at the Lodge at Valle Chacabuco.
Expect extreme weather conditions that can change from one moment to the next.
Your guides will meet you at the Balmaceda Airport on Day 1, and transfer you to your hotel in Coyhaique.
There are multiple river crossings. Depending on weather conditions, water level may be knee to hip high.
Plan to bring a sleeping bag 0° Fahrenheit (-17° Celsius).
Trails vary from glacier moraines over loose rock with sand and decomposed granite to large boulders and some steep ridges through steppe grassland and forests.
1 to 2 liters, or a bladder system. Potable water from glaciers is accessible from the streams every few hours.
While camping at Glacier Hut and Pintura/Frontera Camps (nights 3, 4 & 5) you will not have access to your duffel. You will be provided with a 15-liter dry bag for the porters to carry your overnight essentials.
Yes! Jeinimeni National Reserve has been reclaimed and restored due to the teamwork between the Tompkins Foundation and the interest in developing this itinerary. Formerly private land was reacquired and donated back to the Chilean park system. Its trails are maintained in large part because of hikers like you visiting the park!
We offer this trip on a private basis with seasonal departure dates that offer great flexibility (pending availability). Click below to request dates and an MT Sobek Regional Specialist will be in touch to help organize your private adventure.
"As a traveller with high expectations for adventure, MT Sobek continues to satisfy my need to access the roads less travelled. The logistics, the staff, the excellent guides, the itineraries that MT Sobek offer, are unmatched in my opinion."
MT Sobek Guest, On the Smuggler's Trail in Patagonia
"A wonderful experience with epic scenery."
MT Sobek Guest, On the Smuggler's Trail in Patagonia