4 Hiking Trails to Discover Chile in the Spring

Francisca JaraFrancisca Jara

Francisca Jara


If you’re looking for options to move your body while connecting with nature, we invite you to discover Chile from north to south with these four trails you don’t want to miss.

A walk through the desert, another through the woods, a trail with views of the lakes and volcanoes, and even a glacier, are the hiking routes we recommend below. With varying degrees of difficulty and duration, this is an invitation to connect with nature at four must-see destinations across our country.

Sierra Nevada in Conguillío

Foto: @seba_b

The trail to the Sierra Nevada lookout point is one of the must-visit attractions when exploring Conguillío National Park in the Araucanía Region. The route offers spectacular views of Lake Conguillío and the impressive volcanoes Llaima and Sierra Nevada, all while passing through native forests at the foot of the mountains. The hike starts at Playa Linda along Lake Conguillío, and then the trail gradually ascends with views to the east and west of the lake. On the eastern path towards the summit, you can see a number of plant species, including ancient Araucaria Araucana trees and Nothofagus trees (such as Coigües, Lengas, Raulíes, and Ñires), as well as glaciers. Once at the top, you can admire one of the most panoramic views of the Llaima volcano, and you might even spot condors soaring high above.

The hike lasts approximately six hours, covering around 12 kilometers, and it can be done with local tour operators (such as https://melipewunko.cl/tour/trekking-sierra-nevada/) who are extremely familiar with the area.

Huerquehue Lakes Trail

Foto: @sebastian.bravo.v

Another wonderful trekking experience to immerse yourself in the nature of southern Chile, also in the Araucanía Region but this time in the Huerquehue National Park, is known as the Circuit of the Lakes. As its name suggests, this trail consists of a hike that passes by lakes, lagoons, and waterfalls, as well as forests filled with Araucaria, Coigüe, Líquen, and Mañío trees. From the cascades, you can see the Nido de Águila Waterfall, Trufulco, and a number of its lagoons including the Laguna Verde, Clara, Huerquehue, and others. Its difficulty level is moderate since the hike to the Lake Tinquilco and Villarrica Volcano lookout points takes around two hours uphill and requires good physical fitness. The hike is around 12 kilometers, and it can be done with local tour operators.

Centenario Llanos de Challe Trail

Foto: @y_lecaros

A much shorter hike, though no less spectacular, can be found in the north of Chile. Specifically, in Llanos de Challe National Park, located in Huasco in the 3rd Region of Atacama in northern Chile, the self-guided Centenario route allows you to appreciate its distinctive flora, which consists of 220 different species, including 206 native species and two endangered ones (the Garra de León and Napina). Additionally, it is home to one of the largest populations of guanacos (Lama guanicoe), the largest mammal in Chile. Of the three available routes, the Centenario trail is a 2.5-kilometer circular walk with four lookout points. It is open year-round. 

More information at https://www.conaf.cl/parques/parque-nacional-llanos-de-challe/

Trekking to Universidad Glacier (Alto Colchagua)

Foto: @jd.anyway

The trek to the Universidad Glacier in Alto Colchagua is a mountain excursion for those with time and good physical fitness as it is a two-day journey. On the upper side of the Tinguiririca River (where the terraces that give rise to the Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon and Gran Reserva Malbec wines are located), you’ll find the Universidad Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the country and a great spot for views of the Palomo Volcano. This journey invites you to explore the heights of the Colchagua Valley, through a route that combines rocks, ice (you’ll need to cross a 12-kilometer-long glacier), sun, and wind. For safety reasons, this hike should definitely be done with the assistance of guides and tour operators (such as www.glaciaresdecolchagua.cl/).