After our 2-day hike to Mont Tronador we really wanted to more multiday hiking. We really wanted to do the “circuit trail” in the National Park Torres del Paine, but it was impossible to make reservations for the campgrounds, which is mandatory before getting a permit to enter the trail. We tried to make reservations 3-4 months in advance, but it was to late. On our map we had marked hiking in Cerro Castillo National Reserve, named after the peak of Cerro Castillo (2,675 meters). I looked for trails in the Cerro Castillo National Reserve and found a 4-day hike. Also the description of the hike, said that the hike was a quieter alternative to hiking in Torres del Paine.Cerro Castillo is a National Reserve, which covers 180,000 hectares. The 4-day hike offers views of hanging glaciers, freezing rivers, snow covered passes and amazing crystal blue lakes.
Laguna Cerro Castillo with Mont Cerro Castillo in the background
I have a Garmin Fenix 3 watch, that I use for recording our hikes. If you want to do this hike – you can find more information and download the GPS trail and typographic map at the end of this post.
Day 1: 26 km ascent 900 meters and descent 500 meters
We stayed at a Hostel and Campground in Villa Cerro Castillo, where we met a German couple (backpackers). We made an agreement, that they would drop us of at the trailhead “Las Horquetas”, and drive Lance back to the Hostel and Campground in Villa Cerro Castillo. So we had an early start at 9 am. The distance from the Hostel and Campground was 29 km, so why not just hitchhike? The day before we had met so many hitchhikers in Villa Cerro Castillo, who have been waiting for more than 5 hours without getting a ride, so we just didn’t want to get stuck on the first day without getting to the trailhead.
A bridge and a man made bridge
But then there was no bridges, and we had to go across barefooted, in the freezing water
Entering Cerro Castillo National Reserve. The entry fee is 5,000 pesos when you enter from this side of the trail, and they even gave us a map for the trail (included in the price). In Villa Cerro Castillo there is a PRIVATE entrance, where you pay 10,000 pesos to walk across private land to reach the “Laguna Cerro Castillo” (day hike).
Our plan was to hike from “Las Horqutas” to “Segundo Camping”, but when we got to the campground at 3 pm, we were getting eaten by horse flies. We decided to continue to escape from the horse flies.
We got out of the forest, and the trail started to climb up into the mountains
Soon we were where hiking across a snow covered pass – no horse flies anymore
Following the trail…
Getting up takes a lot more effort, than skiing down in our hiking boots
Now our challenge was to find a level spot for the tent without snow. We can set up the tent on the snow, but it makes it more difficult to keep warm during the night. After the descent from the pass, we were met by the sight of a hanging glacier accompanied by 10-20 smaller waterfalls.
We found a level spot, and set up the tent – what an amazing place. We decided to camp between the two campgrounds “Segundo” and “El Bosque”, because we were too tired to walk any further.
Day 2: 17 km ascent 850 meters and descent 1100 meters
We took it really slow the next morning and enjoyed the coffee while the sun was still rising.
Ready to continue after a look at the map
Ready to see more glaciers
We descended into the forest
Today the trail was going up and down, but finally we got to Laguna Cerro Castillo
Laguna Cerro Castillo, the blue colored was amazing and water is clean enough to drink
Climbing to the next viewpoint, that overlooks Villa Cerro Castillo
Panoramic view of Villa Cerro Castillo – this is a clear day
After a very steep descent to we made it to the campground “Los Porteadores”
Day 3: 10 km ascent 600 meters and descent 300 meters
Just a really short day from “Los Porteadores” to “Camping Neozelandés”. The “Los Porteadores” campground was packed, and instead of pushing ourselves and complete the hike in 3 days (we had food for 4 days anyway) we decided to pack everything, and camp at “Neozelandés” instead of two nights at “Los Porteadores”.
From there I hiked to “Laguna Duff”. Esben’s knee was hurting, so he was relaxing in the tent
Laguna Duff with a few very small pieces of floating ice
Day 4: 15 km ascent 150 meters and descent 1000 meters
Nothing special on the way back, so we walk out of Cerro Castillo National Reserve, and had to crawl under a fence to get to the road that lead back to town. It was an amazing hike, there was other people on the trail, but we still felt alone most of the time. We highly recommend the hike .
Are you ready for this hike? Get the map and GPS track for the here: https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=uiatrbflfkuetqpz