Chile has long been a coveted location for hikers all over the world. Now, those hikers have a new reason to visit this South American country. A new hiking trail has just opened up in the country—one that stretches across nearly 1/3 of the country. The trail winds through millions of acres, preserves and national parks, providing ample opportunity to take in nature and beautiful landscapes.
The 1,740-mile long hiking route has been named “The Route of the Parks of Patagonia,” and it will take visitors from Chile’s Lake District, where it starts at Puerto Montt, to Cape Horn on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. If you decide to tackle the trail in its entirety, you’ll also get to hike through 17 different national parks and visit 60 different towns along the way. All of that stretches across nearly 12 million hectares of protected land and three different regions throughout the country.
The purpose of the route was two-fold. First, the country wanted to provide an attraction that would bring in visitors from all over the world, specifically those with an interest in the outdoors and hiking. Second, the trail serves as one of the largest conservation projects on the planet, making Chile a leader when it comes to eco-tourism.
A good portion of the protected lands was donated to the Chilean government by Tompkins Conservation. That donation helped Chile create 5 new national parks, which also added another 2.2 million hectares of land to the new hiking trail. With that additional land, thru-hikers would be able to experience 24 different ecosystems. Animal lovers will especially enjoy the new trail system. Those 24 ecosystems are home to nearly 50 different kinds of mammals and 140 species of birds.
You don’t have to be an animal lover to enjoy the trails, though. If you love gorgeous scenery you’ll be just as happy. The trail runs through popular spots, such as the Torres del Paine National Park and lesser known locations as well. Throughout all of these spots, hikers can see beautiful mountains, icebergs and glaciers.
If you’re interested in visiting the trail yourself, visit the website at http://www.rutadelosparques.org/ to get details on each of the parks and the available amenities.