On the Smuggler's Trail in Patagonia

Balmaceda, Chile

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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.


Duration: 12 Days
Starts in: Balmaceda, Chile
Ends in: Balmaceda, Chile
Group Size: 6-12

Operated by:

MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.


Arrive in Patagonia

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.

Journey to Chile Chico & Hike Lunar Valley

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.

Hike Jeinimeni National Reserve

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.

Trek Lago Superior Circuit

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.

Hike Valle Hermoso & Aviles Pass

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.

Traverse Patagonian Pampas to Casa de Piedra

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.

Experience Conservation in Parque Patagonia

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.

Hike to Estancia San Lorenzo

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.

Follow Trails to Refugio Agostini

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.

Hike to Cordon Cohrane

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.

Settle into a peaceful lodge on the Baker River

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.

Depart from Chile

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.


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