GPT35 - RN Lago Jeinimeni
Recent Alerts and Suggestions
- Martin Lizondo / 28-Jan-2020 / Regular Hiking Southbound
The section took me 6 days. Some tips:
The first part from Chile Chico has a +20 km cross country walk. The wind is extremly strong and the route very high, with no forest protection. I recommend spending the first night behind the trees of El Ciprés (the settler Orlando Vazquez allows people to pass and is very kind) or near to the puesto at the end of the minor road at 46º 36' 5,3" S, 71º 48' 45,05" O (Miguel Pacheco is very kind too). Enough water all along the route.
The Jeinimeni section of Parque Patagonia is very easy and well marked. Entrance to foreigners costs CLP 8000 plus 6000 if spending the night. There’s a shelter with place for fire and tents after 18 km.
Valley Aviles to Casa de Piedra is also easy and beautifull, with many free camping spots. Casa de Piedra costs CLP 8000 per night.
The rest of the gps track is very different from the actual trail, called “Sendero de las Siete Lagunas”. I recommend taking this route instead of the old gps track, as it’s very well maintained. At Lago la Pepa ( 47º 7' 45,19" S, 72º 18' 41,54" O ) the trail crosses an old overgrown minor road, which coincides with the gps track and takes to Puesto Huemul (47º 11' 25,31" S, 72º 26' 6,98" O). If going to the left, you’ll reach the puesto, if going up to the right you’ll end the official “Sendero de las Siete Lagunas” near to the main park center. Other hiking options are possible from that point, but the regular route to Puesto Huemul is the shortest.
From Puesto Huemul, the trail goes down near to the lake Cochrane through Sendero “Coigües” and “Carpinteros”. Well marked and signed, this trails will take you to the start of Tamango section, very near to Cochrane.
Season Section Log
- GPT35 Summary:
Mum, Sis and I. Southbound. 11 days.*
Well. What an interesting and varied section. Also the longest walk I think we'd all done. It took us 11 days in the end with a couple of longer side trips. Interestingly, when we emerged from the park it was closed, there was martial law in effect, a curfew in place. Borders closed. Only a week to get back to Santiago to catch the last flights back to Australia... Anyway. We're heading back now. Got temperature tested as we reentered Chili Chico this morning. Waiting for the boat across the lake mañana in la mañana. No buses out of town. Enough rambling...
As always, thanks to the others before us that have taken the time to comment and provide feedback. Here's my two cents.
Firstly here are some landmarks to make it easier for others to orient themselves:
El Ciprés http://ge0.me/oGvL0ey6_7/El_Ciprés ge0://oGvL0ey6_7/El_Ciprés Casa Piedra http://ge0.me/4GvJGSxqPH/Casa_Piedra_%28Stone_House%29 ge0://4GvJGSxqPH/Casa_Piedra_%28Stone_House%29 Westwind http://ge0.me/wGvC_gnJaX/Westwind ge0://wGvC_gnJaX/Westwind
Camping in Chile Chico: El Carro is supposed to be the cheapest place to stay in town. Though if you want a hot shower it's the same as Kon-aiken next door. We stayed at neither so can't really comment, but there were a lot of people staying at Kon-aiken and next to none at El Carro which might be indicitive of value for money or just the fact they are a little closer to the centre of town. El Carro however was the only one willing to look after some things for us. We also visited a hostel, but the owner was unfortunately very rude.
El carro 4k frío 5k caliente 1k por día por mochila
Kon-aiken 5k pp / noche No baggage service
Part 1: Chili Chico to Jeinemeni In the end we decided to cache things in the bushes just outside of town. Mum and my sister got a lift to the Bahía Jara cruz whist I was caching. Unfortunately I had to walk all the way to El Ciprés where my mum and sister had been enjoying a nice conversation with Orlando Vazquez who allowed us to pass but emphasised the dangers and didn't really recommend crossing. Passing through the gate a couple of utes were exiting. Apparently there is a new mine up in the mountains and they didn't really want us to walk up. They admitted they just worked there. Turn off the main rd that assumably heads to the mine about here: -46.57775, -71.82666 Goucho Miguel Pacheco passed us on the way up herding some cattle and we talked to him at the puesto for a while. We also gave him one of the Australian coins we'd been carrying around. He seemed to believe it was everyone's right to pass. "People pass through here all the time "."Just yesterday a lad passed by "."It's the shortest route across the mountains " Anyway. We camped in the rocks just outside the park boundaries (as mentioned by??). We then camped two nights up on the windy plateau. Our side trip to Valle Lunes was amazing. I'd recommend it. But be careful with wind. Oh and did anyone mention the guanacos? Unfortunately I think the water wasn't very clean on this part. Sheep, cows, guanacos, birds... It's the first time in Chile I've wished I took my water filter along. We had some sore stomachs. Dropping down the other side we hit the mentioned fence (about here -46.72574, -71.90211). We crossed, but would recommend following it to the left until you get to a corner. I'm not sure where it starts, but there is a trail running on the outside of the fence to the puesto. We then followed a sheep trail that ran high on the left (east) of the valley. Very good but it bypassed Las Abutardas completely and seemed to be heading towards Laguna los Flamencos instead. We ended up cutting down to the road where León passed us heading into town, a little confused why we hadn't taken the 'proper trail'. We camped the night at the Río El Sucio camp. Not really recommended. We walked the road and stayed at Río Las Vacas for a bit which is at the border of the park and a nicer place to camp. (There is a good stream between the two).
Part 2: Jeinemeni to Casa Piedra It was 8k to enter the park (for foreigners) and an additional 6k for camping in Valle Hermoso. The section to the refugio (-46.84092, -72.14078) was very nice. This is the only shelter still standing. The others included in the track files were not really enterable. Heading to the refugio (where everyone seems to camp) you cross the small ankle deep creek exiting Laguna Esmeralda and then the deeper river between Lago Verde and Jeinemeni. This might have been the trickiest but when we crossed it wasn't really bad. We then had two more smaller crossings before passing through Portezuela La Gloria (1100m) to cross Estero Ventisquero and the other river running down the main valley. The next day we did the popular side trip to the glacier in this valley: -46.80924, -72.20116 We wondered if it was the same way Jan et al entered recently? From the refugio to Valle Avilés there are no compulsory river crossings if you stick to the somewhat scrubby trail to the left (south) of the valley. The first crossing we did was Río Avilés shortly followed by the tributary. So only 8 crossings (wet feet) on the RR.
We walked from the refugio to Casa Piedra in a day. It was closed so we camped on the other side of the Rd.
Part 3: Casa Piedra to Cochrane From casa piedra we took the aforementioned Sendero las Siete Lagunas. It is not it the track files but indeed very well marked with numbered markers every kilometre. I'll upload a kml with the markers I recorded as well as some of the water bodies I sketched. After the stream running into Lago Gutiérrez there wasn't much water until Lago la Pepa. You will briefly intersect with a road here: -47.14006, -72.37138. The road seems to run down to Puesto Tejuela coinciding with OH-TL-V@35-02F-#001 which I think is incorrectly labelled as TL. Part of RH-TL-I@35-99.0+30.0 too should be marked as MR. You'll intersect this road before taking it down to Lago Cochrane. We passed the occupied dwelling (Daniel Huemul?) but the man wearing a shirt emblazoned with Parque Patagonia seemed afraid to approach us (another hint the world had gone Corona crazy). He wouldn't let us take the RR so we followed the road for a bit before taking another newly made trail also not in the track files. Everything after that was very easy to follow. Everything was abandoned at the entrance and the gate locked. People avoided us on the streets and covered their face when passing us. We grabbed some needed food (we were very short after 11 days!) and got on the WiFi. Wow! How things had changed! Martial law in place and a curfew in place, we slept under a bridge with some Colombians and caught a bus back to Chili Chico in the morning. Waiting for the boat across the lake tomorrow now.
Links to files : Kilometre markers: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fuzt4xacxjjvvg4/kms.kmz?dl=0 Water bodies: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uz1ei95s1913xvb/water.bodies.kmz?dl=0 Other planning: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uk9ym56gufwk4zq/planning.kmz?dl=0
2020-Mar-18 , Tyler Wood, 7 Days Sobo Amazing section to end my season with. I got a couple short hitches on the way up past Chile Chico. Up past the last puesto are some great areas to camp along a big boulder field. Maybe 2 km more. Beautiful and surrounded by Guanacos. Plenty of water too. Up near the top of the pass was very cold, but very beautiful, and even saw a bunch of flamingoes in the lakes.
On the way down the pass I tried to find the fore-mentioned route to the puesto to take the road the rest of the way down and didn’t really have any luck...found my way anyways and camped down by Rio sucio under a willow.
Into Jenimeni I got another little hitch. Once you cross the deeper river by Laguna esmeralda just keep those water shoes on, you’ll be crossing many more times.
I also was told by a ranger that sendero siete Lagunas wasn’t habilitado, but went for it anyways. Water is Not after Laguna Gutiérrez for a while, so make sure you fill up around there. After the pass there are a few more small Streams to fill up.
The road walking to Tmango reserve seemed to take forever, but Walking/camping by Lago Cochrane was all worth it. At puesto Huemul Is when I got my first advice that the corona virus was a big deal. The woman told me there were 3 confirmed cases in Cochrane, I went there and booked my tickets straight home. Hasta le vista baby!!!
7 days / Southbound
Long and beautiful section. No major difficulties. Great diversity. Without hitchhiking, it took me 173 kilometers.
1st part / 2 days / Chile Chico to Div 217 At the beginning of the cross country, valley full of Guanacos. I camped just after the puesto, about 2 kilometers after the beginning of the cross country, before the pass, where there are still rocks to protect from the wind. As related in previous reports, after camp 279, you will stumbled upon a fence. Go on the East along the fence, cross it, and you will find a trail to the next Puesto and then the trail goes down from the puesto to the dirt road. You will avoid cross country this way.
2nd part / 2,5 days to Casa de Piedra Popular part. Groups of hikers along the way. 8000CLP entrance fee + 6000 CLP for 2 nights sleeping inside the park.
3rd part / 2,5 days / Sendero de las 7 lagunas After Casa de Piedra, I followed the GPS regular route which took me to the beginning of the Sendero of 7 lagunas. CONAF said it was not "habilitado" but it is actually well marked. The good thing is that there will be no hikers on this part, except when you approach the end, along the lago Cochrane. The trail is very different from the GPS tracks but no difficulties to find it. So, don't worry not having the GPS tracks. At S 47º08.015' W 72º18.948', there is a nice place to camp and also, the trail will merge with the optional route OH-TL-V@35-02F-#001 You can then follow this track and then go back to the Regular Route to reach Cochrane.
- 2020-Jan-27 / GPT35 New Route: Lago General Carrera (Fachinal) to Parque Patagonia (Lago Jenimeni or “Casa de Piedra”) / 5 days / Meylin Meylin Elisabeth Ubilla González and Jan Dudeck
Based on a recommendation from Tobias Hellwig W and Daniel Mahn Borkowsky we investigated a new route that I did no had on my radar until a few weeks ago. This route provides an alternative access from the southern coast of Lago General Carrera into the Parque Patagonia and is of interest for packrafters and hikers.
The route is a traditional animal trail that was used by the settlers of Fachinal to drive cattle to a large summer pasture that is now part of Parque Patagonia (sector Jenimeni). With the enforcement of keeping domestic animals out of the protected park area a 5 km trail section inside Parque Patagonia lacks maintenance but is still quite well traversable for GPT standards. Apart from this short trail section most of the route is very scenic and nice to walk but practically unknown. Only one tourism company runs guided hiking trips along this route about once per months. Apart from this occasionally use the full traverse seams not to be done anymore.
Due to lack of trail markings we spend about one extra day in searching and following the poorly maintained 5 km trail section but with our GPS record other hikers should struggle much less than we did and will be able to walk in 4 to 5 moderate hiking days from Fachinal at the southern shore of Lago General Carrera to “Casa de Piedra” in the center of Parque Patagonia in the Valle Chacabuco.
We hiked the route northbound as we considered the option to cross Lago General Carretera at its shortest narrow by packraft. Here the lake is only 3.2 km wide but we finally did not cross this rather dangerous lake due to suboptimal wind conditions.
Fachinal to Rio Aviles River Crossing:
A well maintained “cattle highway” leads from Fachinal from the road bridge of Rio Aviles along the western/southern side of Rio Aviles to the limit of Parque Patagonia. This roughly 20 km long trail section gets regularly cleaned with chain saws to facilitate access to the pastures along Rio Aviles for free-rooming cattle. Most of the trees that have fallen on the trail have been cut to keep the trail easily traversable. Some hikers might find the “pointless up and down” annoying but this trail was created by men that move on horses that did not had to ascent and descent themself. About 1 km before crossing the Rio Aviles two signs indicate the limit of Parque Patagonia (Sector Jenimeni) and ban access for unauthorized people and domestic animals (without providing any clue who might be authorized and who not ;-). From the park limit the trail descents steep to Rio Aviles but remain well maintained to ford.
This trail section requires two possibly demanding river crossings that can become impossible during snow melt in spring, after heavy rain or on the afternoon or evening of hot days (melting water from glaciers!). To keep the route traversable in such circlesumstances the tourism company has installed in both locations steel ropes (to cross these two rivers hooked up in harness to the steel rope without even touching the water).
Rio Aviles River Crossing to the Pass (1150 m above Sea Level):
After the river crossing the trail condition suddenly changes. Fallen trees don’t get cut anymore and undergrowth is not cleaned by machete. It’s mainly the remaining path on the ground that indicates the former animal trail. Advance is slow and in various locations care must be taken to not loose the trail. Here you will need to climb over fall trees and push occasionally through dense vegetation until reaching an altitude of 950 m. At this altitude the forest floor opens up (no dense undergrowth any more) and the trail disappears completely. Here walking becomes easy again. Walk the following kilometer through the open forest following roughly the GPS track until reaching the end of the forest and the small lake after the 1150 m high pass.
An advise for northbound hikers:
Finding the first signs of the trail in the open forest was a struggle as we had no information where exactly the trail starts to descent. I searched at least 3 or 4 hours in a 400 m wide and 1200 m long section of open forest till I found a first old machete mark on a tree that indicated the location of the trail. Carefully searching and following similar marks I finally found the descending trail.
Searching northbound we lost the trail again when reaching Rio Aviles at the bottom of the valley and searched half a day for the correct continuation. A well visible and noticeably used trail next to Rio Aviles leads directly to an suitable river ford but from there a well maintained trail continues 1 km in the wrong direction (upstream). Only after bushbashing 1 km along the river shore downstream we recognized with surprise a second river ford (now the correct river ford) which connects to the well maintained trail section in the correct direction. In hindsight we understood that the well maintained trail simply continues upstream along Rio Aviles and that this trail crosses twice the Rio Aviles. Due to a partially not evident trail section on the other side of we did not recognize this when hitting this trail on the bottom of the valley and took the wrong direction to the wrong river ford.
Now hikers with our GPS record and a GPS should not struggle to find and follow this trail as we did.
Pass (1150 m above Sea Level) to Valle Hermoso Refugio:
After leaving the forest at the 1150 m high pass the most scenic part of this route starts. A roughly 15 km long cross country route leads over pastures and river sediments past 3 lakes and two glaciers to the Refugio Valle Hermoso. Occasionally signs of a trail are visible but due to the open landscape a continuous trail neither exists nor is needed.
Near the Refuge Valle Hermoso this route connects with regular route that leads along Valle Aviles (diffrent river with the same name!) to “Casa de Piedra” in the center of Parque Patagonia.
Access to Trail Head at Fachinal:
There are multiple buses per week from Chile Chico to Puerto Tranquilo on the Carretera Austral that pass Fachinal.
Monday and Friday runs a subsidized bus from Chile Chico to Fachinal and back to Chile Chico (One round trip in the morning and a second one in the evening). 8:30 leaving Chile Chico 9:30 in Fachinal 11:00 returning to Chile Chico 17:30 leaving Chile Chico 18:30 in Fachinal 20:00 returning to Chile Chico
If you wish to cross Lago General Carrera to continue hiking in the Cordillera Avellano North of the lake speak to Carloz Amoros in Fachinal (mobile: +56 9 76267029 / price around 30‘000 CLP) or Pascual Diaz de Mallin Grande.
- 2020-January 23 / Oreste Marquis/ Northbound : 8 days
Going northbound. I followed the route until the second settler at the puesto Tejuela. From there, until the optional route @35-02e#001, I could not find the approximate trail in the files. I manage to find another one which is call siete Lagunas. It is really easy to follow and really beautiful! I find it near km 18 and keep walking on it until km 38. It is the end of it and is at the campground near Lago Gutiérrez. For more informations go reed Martin post in recent alerts and suggestion. I met him on the trail and he updated the wikiexplora before me. From the beginning to Casa Piedra took me 3 days. Then I hiked to the end of the reserve in an other 3 days. Lots of rivers to cross but felt pretty safe for all of them even the one higher between Lagos Jeinimeni and Verde. The cross country part the next day was my favorite of the hole trip! Awesome views, a lot of wildlife, just need to check a little bit more the gps! Last day, I headed to Chile Chico without any problem. Overall, I love it! Enjoyed it as much as GPT40.
- 2020-January / Matthieu / Northbound : 7.5 days "tranquilito"
Incredible trekk, lots of different type of views and soil, my favorite since El Chalten. Money required for passing by the reserves !! I hitchhiked 10 km on the road to Casa Piedra, and 12 km between Jeinemini qnd the beginning of the trail that goes north in the mountain to join Chile Chico.
1st part : Reserve Tamango : 6000 CLP the entry I took the old "Huemul trail" in the Tamango reserve, taking the left route at the "Camp 284" It is an old trail for 4x4, so very easy, and closed to vehicles now.
2nd part : The road to Casa Piedra : the rangers I crossed were all agreed that it was not permitted to camp aside of the road (so the information is different that in Nov). One officiql camping at the end of Tamango reserve (WestWind) and one at Casa Piedra 26 km after. 8000 CLP each. At Westwind (not verified, only inforñqtions for guardaparques): no accomodations, only baño. At Casa Piedra . real big house, hot shower, electricity, place to cook.
3rd part : Reserve Jenemeni : Entry 8000 CLP. For the camping, the ranger told me that it was permitted to camp wherever I wanted, so the information differs too from november. And at the exit, I told the ranger about my "savage" camping in the conversation, and he didnt tic at all, so no stress. The rangers are very nice ! Good trekk, easy to follow. One very good refuge in the valle Hermoso where fire is possible. a more open refuge/camping site by the east shore of Lago Verde. Many river crossing, all safe except one, before the Laguna Esmeralda. Strong current, and people choose many different way with different profundness. Better do it in the morning, being a glaciar river (I could effectively compare between late in the afternoon and the morning and it is very different).
Last part, to Chile Chico by the mountain : Amazing views, totaly different climate, more dry and with only bushes. At the beginning of the Cross country after the 4x4 road, I would advise to go a few meters west from the GPS tracks, to the east side of the river. There is effectively a fence on the west ridge, and a good trail on the east ridge that can avoid you the difficult crossing of many bushes, and that goes directly to the puesto. Two puestos, The 135 of metal being used by the locals (real bed inside), so just putted the tent outside. The second one 134 is actually a real house. Two mens were here when I arrived, working with the animals. I could put the tent near the house and take water from the sink outside. Many dogs, all nice.
- 2019 Dec / Olrik/ Northbound
Amazing part of the GPT, from Cochrane ou enter in the Tamango national reserve and pay 6000CLP for the entrance. We took several trails to get to Valle Chacabuco : Las Aguilas, Las Lengasm Los Condores, Laguna Altas. Great views. We had a snow storm at the pass though. There you end up in a paid campground. From there we walked the dirt road to Casa Piedras in Valle Chacabuco, it was beautiful with lots of guanacos. Then we took the Las Aviles sendero. We camped near the first river crossing as it was late and waited for the morning to cross. It is normally not possible to wild camp in the park but the guardaparque told us to camp there if the river crossing is not sage. The rest of the trail is easy to follow next to the river. There is a pass then you descend to Valle Hermoso and to lago Jeinimeni. It was just gorgeous and easy to follow with great weather. Be aware of the numerous river crossings. In lago Jeinimeni there is a paid campground. From there you can hitchhike, walk, or pay a transportation at the entrance of the park (15000Clp pp) but I'm not sure if this is a regular thing. We ended up hitchhiking to get to Chile Chico.
- 2019-Nov-28/ Lea Geibel, Kevin Moe/ 5.5
days/ Northbound / Regular Hiking Route (Cochrane to Chile Chico) with OH-32-2-#003/ This section might have been our favorite out of the whole Group H, where the diversity of the landscape was our favorite part (also including weather and trail conditions). The NP was entered at Tamango just outside of Cochrane. Registration is mandatory, the entrance fee is at 8000 CLP. The ranger asked us to explain our route and since the regular Hiking route did not seem familiar to them, they told us to take the optionals route going north over the pass to WestWinds campground and then do the road walk Eastwards. The pass had some snow patches on the Southern side but was easy to traverse. At the Valley Chacabuco (another entrance to the national park) we got asked for our permits and the route we plan on taking. We heard different information on if it is allowed to camp at the road or not (there were signs that told us not to do it but the ranger said it is okay). After the roadwalk, we passed another ranger station where we had to register and sign a responsibility form telling that we plan to leave at Lago Jeinimeni (and telling that we're only allowed to stay at designated campsites). The hike from there is extremely beautiful and super diverse, the trail well maintained. The rivers were at higher flow but all fords were doable. We camped next to the Refugio because we still weren't sure about the camping rules (other hikers we met said they were told that it's okay to camp everywhere along the river). Leaving the NP at Lago Jeinimeni was straightforward, but it's mandatory to check out at the rangers office. The cross-country section after the road walk was a bit slow on the way up due to many bushes and hilly terrain. We found a nice trail next to the fence leading up to the puesto when going up the ridge on the Eastern side. From the puesto we took a short steep uphill after which the terrain became more open and easier to travel on. It was very windy and snowy in the mountains, which made it difficult to walk at times and it felt like the temperatures were rather low. The lagoons on the way up are filled with exciting birds (flamingos!) and guanacos are running around on the whole plain. Once reaching the plateau we headed down in a pretty straight line which was easier than the uphill until we reached the road
|GPT35: RN Lago Jenimeni||Hiking||Packrafting|
|Group||H: Aysen Sur||Total||149.8 km||48 h||155.6 km||43 h|
|Region||Chile & (Argentina): Aysén (XI)||Trails (TL)||70.4 km||47.0%||32.0 km||20.6%|
|Start||Chile Chico (Puerto)||Minor Roads (MR)||35.2 km||23.5%||44.7 km||28.7%|
|Finish||Cochrane||Primary Roads (PR)||11.2 km||7.5%||12.3 km||7.9%|
|Status||Published & Verified||Cross-Country (CC)||33.0 km||22.0%||27.4 km||17.6%|
|Traversable||Nov - Apr (Maybe: Oct, May)||Bush-Bashing (BB)||-||-||-||-|
|Packraft||Very Useful||Ferry (FY)||-||-||-||-|
|Connects to||GPT34H, GPT34P, GPT36H, GPT36P||Investigation (I)||(30.1 km)||(20.1%)||-||-|
|Options||485 km (5 Options & Variants)||Exploration (EXP)||-||-||-||-|
|Hiking||Packrafting||Total on Water||39.1 km||25.2%|
|Attraction||4 (of 5)||5 (of 5)||River (RI)||22.4 km||14.4%|
|Difficulty||4 (of 5)||5 (of 5)||Lake (LK)||16.7 km||10.7%|
|Direction||Both ↓↑||Both ↓↑||Fjord (FJ)||-||-|
|Character||Forest, River Packrafting, Lake Packrafting|
|Challenges||Demanding River Fords, Exposure to Elements, Demanding Navigation, Resupply Distance|
Satellite Image Map
Section Planning Status
Recommended Travel Period
Benefits of Hiking and Packrafting
Recommended Travel Direction
Section Length and Travel Duration
Suitable Section Combinations
Cochrane is a decently sized town with three mid-range supermarkets. The largest one, which is a grocery and department store, is located adjacent to the town square. There are many lodging and restaurant options. Be sure to withdraw an ample amount of money here because most of the businesses in the next town, Villa O’Higgins, only take cash and there is no ATM.
Services: ATM and Money Exchange
Accommodation: Hostals and Hotels
Transport: Ground Transport
Transport: Shipping Services
Resupply on the Trail
Location, Names, Available Items and Services
Access to Route and Return
Access to Start
Return from Finish
Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues
Regular Hiking Route
Regular Packrafting Route
- Route description by Kara Davis after Season 2017/18:
Follow 265-CH, a high-speed dirt road, out of Chile Chico. Turn off onto a 4WD track which heads towards a small horse farm. The 4WD track continues up the plateau past the farm. There is very little coverage on the plateau but plenty of flat ground for camping. About 8 km after turning off of 265-CH onto the 4WD track, the route begins the long cross-country journey across an open plateau of tall grass. Occasionally, there is a small trail to follow, but it is probably more efficient to travel cross country in a straight line. See if you can spot any guanacos hiding in the hill or flamingos floating on the small ponds during this section. Try and find the 4WD track which is possible to follow for the last 2 km before the route joins X-753 on the south side of the plateau.
X-753 is a lightly trafficked dirt road surrounded by exposed but very flat land. More trees appear as the route gets closer to Lago Jeinemeni.
Shortly after encountering the sign welcoming you to the Reserva Nacional Lago Jeinimeni, there is a ranger station. The rangers require all hikers to register and pay the park entrance fee (3.000 CLP). For the upcoming trail section (which is a popular and well-marked track), the rangers require you to spend your first night at the Refugio Valle Hermoso, which is approximately 15 km from the beginning of the track. There is a 5.000 CLP fee to camp there which is to be paid at the ranger’s station with the entrance fee. There is also a campsite at the beginning of the track on the shore of Lago Jeinimeni.
The Regular Hiking Route follows a 4WD track along the east and south shores of Lago Jeinimeni. The 4WD track eventually transitions to a single track trail near the outlet of Lago Jeinimeni.
Alternate: After encountering a split in the track marked clearly with wooden signs, take the track towards Valle Hermoso. The rangers informed us the trail that the Regular Packrafting Route follows on the south side of Laguna Esmeralda to Lago Verde was not good.
The route from Laguna Esmeralda to the first pass located just north of Lago Verde is along a rocky river bed and marked with short wooden poles.There are a handful of river crossings which can be dangerous at high flows. An orange pole marks the turn off from the river bed onto the trail leading up to the pass. Ford the river to the pole, and begin the steep, but short climb.
After rounding the northern edge of Lago Verde, the route follows another rocky river valley also marked with wooden poles. Occasionally the route winds into the brush. The Refugio Valle Hermoso is located in the trees south of the river bed and is marked with a wooden sign. No campfires are permitted, but there is a small building with a fireplace, a picnic table, and a latrine.
The route continues for several km along the rocky riverbed with poles and cairns marking the way. Be prepared for several river crossings. About 2 km from the Refugio Valle Hermoso, the route leaves the riverbed and begins climbing up to the second pass. A surprisingly nice trail descends alongside the Avilés River and terminates at Casa Piedra, a stone house at the put-in for the the Río Chacabuco. If wind makes packrafting difficult, it is possible to road walk to Valle Chacabuco along X-83. There is a campsite (8.000 CLP) at Valle Chacabuco as well as a restaurant.
We did not complete the section from Valle Chacabuco to Cochrane and have no knowledge of route conditions.