Reasons to go
- Come face-to-face with rare and endangered species, protected here in the park
- The 74km drive through the park is one of the most beautiful in the world
- Keep your camera handy and snap a few of the 100 different species of birds that have been recorded here
- Stay in a cosy lodge or campground within the park to make the most of the hiking trails
What is Patagonia Park?
In 2004, Conservacion Patagonia (a foundation created by Kris and Doug Tompkins to protect areas of Patagonia) purchased the Chacabuco Valley Estancia, a 174,500km sq area of land that had been used for sheep farming. They sold the livestock, removed the fences and started to restore the grasslands and forests, building trails, a visitor centre and a lodge, and employing people who had worked in the Estancia.
Conservacion Patagonia worked with the Chilean Government to gradually join the area with the Jeinimeni National Reserve in the north and the Tamango reserve in the south, creating a huge area of protected land. In January 2018 they signed an agreement together to hand the land over to the Chilean people, creating the extensive Patagonia National Park.
Things to do
There are currently 6 trails in the park, which you are welcome to explore either with a guide or independently. If you're wanting to stretch your legs for a few hours, there are a few easy 6-7km trails, one of which takes you around some of the old Estancia cemetery from when this hub was more like a small town than a remote farm. Others take you to lookouts for scenery and birdlife. For more of a challenge, try one of the full day or multi-day treks where you've got great chances of seeing huemul deer, guanacos and condors, and can climb up to viewpoints over the entire valley.
Snaking through the park is a road which passes by the flamingo-filled waters of Lago Seco, expansive views of snow-capped Cerro Kristine, and clay-red peaks covered in glacial ice. In our opinion, this is one of the most special roads in the world, simply for the never-ending views along the way.
Pack some sandwiches and your walking boots and spend a day exploring the entire 74km.
The Chacabuco Valley, the heart of Patagonia Park, is home to a vast variety of bird species; nearly 100 species of birds have been recorded within the park. With options for walking tours or easier short walks accompanied by a vehicle there is the opportunity for everyone to catch glimpses of some of these birds including the Southern Canastero, Black-Necked Swan and the Chilean Hawk.
Although you cannot directly rent bikes from the Patagonia Park, our expert local partners offer programs where you can explore the park by bike. The trails here offer some incredible views, and you can see far more than whilst simply hiking. Ask us about how to get biking in the park.
Trips that visit Patagonia Park
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What our customers think
The scenery here is quite different. Instead of the stark, snow-covered mountains, the sandstone hills are softer and have more colour, red and green indicating iron and copper.
Mark & Katie UK July 2016
Where to stay
Right in the Chacabuco Valley, The Lodge is a cosy and comfortable base with beautiful views of Mount Tamanguito through expansive paned windows. Drink regional wine at the living room bar, nestle into overstuffed sofas, lounge by the fire, or venture to the patio by night to view an endless spread of stars.
Price for double occupancy including breakfast is $250 USD per person/night
West Winds - The gently rolling lawns here aren't just popular with campers, they're also a favourite for local guanaco herds, which spend hot days near the creek or under the shade of tall poplar trees. Located 2km from the park headquarters, the campground is car-accessible via a gravel road or a 30-minute walk on the trail from headquarters.
Stone House - Accessed via a beautiful footbridge over churning blue waters, Stone House has a perfect location right at the confluence of the Aviles and Chacabuco rivers. It is a refurbished old puesto that is surrounded by waving poplars, which block campers from the mid-valley winds. Use this campground as a jumping off point for explorations to the Aviles Valley and Jeinimeni Reserve.
Accommodation near the park
Cochrane is the closest town to Patagonia Park, and lies thirty minutes south on the Carretera Austral road. If you choose to stay outside of the park, Cochrane offers plenty of places to sleep and eat. Other nearby areas include Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Caleta Tortel and Villa O'Higgins.
How to get to Patagonia Park
Balmaceda airport is the closest to the park, and your journey from the airport to the park will take approximately 6-8 hours, hence we recommend you take the first flight of the day. Find out more about getting around Aysen.
The drive from Balmaceda/Coyhaique to the park can take anywhere between six and eight hours on the Carretera Austral. This mostly dirt highway makes for an exciting road trip, with miles between houses, and hours between gas stations. You'll encounter potholes, crazy drivers, terrifyingly sharp curves, steep cliffs, and few guardrails, but also spectacular views of bright blue rivers, snowcapped mountains, and wild terrain.
If you do not wish to self-drive, then the park can arrange for a transfer to the park from Balmaceda/Coyhaique. If you wish to make use of this service then it must be booked at least one week in advance and it is reserved on a first come, first served basis.
After arrival to Balmaceda airport you will first take a transfer bus into Coyhaique, no need to buy tickets in advance. We recommend spending one night in Coyhaique as the bus to the park leaves from Coyhaique at 9am! For this bus, it is best to make an advance ticket reservation. The ride offers breathtaking views but will take approximately 7 hours to your stop 'El Cruce Entrada Baker' where you should hitchhike or walk the 2 hours to the park office.