Of all the protected areas in the Chilean South, the Patagonia National Park might be the most charismatic. Created as a private charity project, it’s kept a pristine touch, almost a primeval flair. The infrastructure is scarce, but with a bit of prep, you’ll love exploring this mythical land. This post is here to help! We’re telling you all you need to know to go hiking in the Patagonia National Park, Chile: day hikes and multi-day treks, campsites, cost, how to get there and more.

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Hiking in Patagonia National Park:
Tamango  |  Jeinimeni  |  Chacabuco Valley
Multi-day hikes

How to get there  |  When to visit Patagonia National Park
Entrance price  |  Accommodation  |  Gear


What is and where is the Patagonia National Park

Parque Patagonia is the youngest national park in Chilean Patagonia, in the southern part of the Carretera Austral. It was established in 2018 by uniting two neighbouring natural reserves: Tamango (which included the Chacabuco Valley sector) and Jeinimeni. Locals still refer to these areas separately.

The result is a huge national park spreading over 3000 km2, offering various beautiful day-hikes and multi-day hiking trails of different lengths and of different difficulties. The two national reserves are separated by the X-83 road, that is adjacent to the Carretera Austral.

Patagonia National Park was created by Kris and Douglas Tompkins, founder of The North Face outdoors clothing brand. They envisioned a national park that would be less commercial, and more focused on pure nature. The Park was donated to the Chilean State in 2018 and subsequently opened to the public. Read more about this story.

The landscape is a transition between the Patagonian steppe grasslands and Chilean beech forest, with extensive wetland areas as well. The Chacabuco Valley is dotted with turquoise lakes and rivers feeding from glaciers. If you’re lucky, you can meet guanacos, relatives of the llamas and alpacas, or the endangered huemul deer, Chile’s national animal.

Patagonia National Park Tamango sector
Wonderful Tamango sector in Patagonia National Park

Tamango Natural Reserve

Tamango is a beautiful, easily accessible piece of nature, at a walking distance from Cochrane town. It offers several easy hiking routes, plus a couple of more difficult ones. Its well-maintained paths among trees and shrubs encompass rivers, lakes, and towering mountain tops.

You can trek through a ñirre forest a Patagonia native tree along the refreshing river Cochrane; or choose a more challenging route around the Tamanguito mountain.

Carpinteros trail Tamango Patagonia National Park
Carpinteros trail in Tamango sector

Jeinimeni National Reserve

This part is located near the Argentinian border, north from Tamango and south of Chile Chico town. It got its name from its turquoise lake, Jeinimeni. It’s slightly less visited, as it’s more difficult to access – you’ll need a car, either a taxi or a rental car. However, there is more wilderness here, and hikers can experience backcountry trails with wild camping (which is usually forbidden in Patagonia).

Some of the most beautiful views in the Patagonia National Park are here, with lookouts to mountain lakes, rivers, and snow-capped mountains hugging Lake Jeinimeni.

Chacabuco Valley

This stunning valley is situated in between the Tamango and Jeinimeni sectors, on both sides of the X-83 road. It’s only accessible with a car and offers several day-hikes and one multi-day hike connecting to Tamango.

The most popular trek in Patagonia National Park, the Laguna Atlas trail, crosses this sector. Apart from campsites, there’s also a lodge and a restaurant.

River Cochrane Tamango
Patagonia National Park landscape

Hiking in Patagonia National Park

As we said, the Park is divided into 3 sectors: Tamango (Cochrane Lake), Jeinimeni and Chacabuco Valley. There are plenty of day-hike possibilities in all three sectors.

Since the town of Cochrane is likely to be your base, we recommend focusing on the Tamango sector for your day hikes. If you have a car, indulge in multi-day hikes in the other sectors too.

Tip! Before setting off, remember to check on CONAF’s website (unfortunately only in Spanish) whether your chosen trail and campsite are open. CONAF is the governmental authority managing all national parks in Chile.

Hiking trails map for the Tamango sector, Patagonia National Park, Chile
Hiking trails map hung at the visitors centre in Patagonia National Park, Tamango sector.

Day hikes in the Patagonia National Park

Tamango

In Tamango, there are 10 hiking trails ranging from 1.3 km / 0.8 mi (45 mins) to 6.8 km / 4.2 mi (3 hours one-way). Naturally, these can also be combined.

Below are the trails indicated at Tamango visitors centre in 2022. All distances and times are one-way.

#1Las Aguilas trail2.2km / 1.3 mi, 1hr 15mins, medium
#2Los Carpinteros trail4.6km / 2.8 mi, 2hrs, easy
#3Los Coigües trail3.9km / 2.4 mi, 2hrs, medium
#4Los Ciruelillos trail1.3km / 0.8 mi, 45mins, medium
#5Los Huemules trail6.8km / 4.2 mi, 2hrs, medium
#6Las Lengas trail4.8km / 3 mi, 3hrs, difficult
#7Los Valles trail4.6km / 2.8 mi, 2hrs, medium
#8Los Pumas trail4.2km / 2.6 mi, 3hrs, difficult
#9Los Condores trail3km / 1.8 mi, 2hrs, medium
#10Los Ñirres trail2.8km / 1.7 mi, 1hr, easy

We hiked Los Carpinteros (#2 in the table), which is a leisurely trail along the Cochrane river. At one part it leads through a forest of ñirre, before reaching a lookout upon the beautiful Lake Cochrane.

Tamango Patagonia National Park Chile
View on the Cochrane lake from the lookout at the end of Los Carpinteros trail in Tamango

Jeinimeni

Jeinimeni offers various day-hikes around Lake Jeinimeni or in the Piedra Clavada area.

#1Jeinimeni Lake lookout (Mirador Lago Jeinimeni)1.9km / 1.1 mi, 45mins, easy
#2Lagunas Atlas circuit20.4 km / 12.6 mi, 7hrs, difficult
#3Douglas Tompkins lookout13.5km / 8.3 mi, 4hrs, medium
#4Aviles trail17km / 10.5 mi, 5hrs, difficult
#5Piedra Clavada – Cueva de las Manos – Valle Lunar6.8km / 4.2 mi, 3hrs, medium
#6Laguna Esmeralda trail5km / 3.1 mi, 1hr, easy

Keep dreaming: Discover our favourite National Parks in South America

Chacabuco valley

The Chacabuco valley hikes start at Casa de Piedra (north) or at Camping Los West Winds (south).

#1Lagunas Atlas circuit20.4 km / 12.6 mi, 7hrs, difficult
#2Laguna de los Cisnes trail17km / 10.5 mi, 5hrs, medium
#3La Vega trail5km / 3.1 mi, 1hr, easy
#4Cañadón Chacabuco trail15km / 9.3 mi, 5hrs, medium
#5Los Gatos trail14.6km / 9 mi, 5hrs, difficult
#6Circuito Lago Chico13.5km / 8.3 mi, 4hrs, medium

Patagonia National Park landscape Cochrane river

Multi-day treks in the Patagonia National Park

Each sector offers a single multi-day trek. For more info on each one, I recommend checking on AllTrails or Wikiloc. Furthermore, Mochilão Sabatico has detailed blog posts (in Portuguese) on the Travesia Jeinimeni and the Cerro Tamango – 7 Lagunas multi-day hikes.

Tamango

There’s a 2-day hiking trail in Tamango, which combines the Las Aguilas, Las Lengas, Los Valles, Los Pumas, and Los Huemules trails (#1 and #5–8 in the table).

It’s advised to do it clockwise, starting from Las Aguilas. It circles around the mountain and goes along the shore of the Cochrane lake. There’s no official campsite, but wild camping is allowed in the park.

Jeinimeni

The only one here is Travesia Jeinimeni – Valle del Aviles: 64km / 39.7 mi, 5 days, difficult.

Chacabuco valley

The multi-day hike in this sector is the Cerro Tamango – 7 Lagunas trail: 92km/ 57.1 mi, 6 days, medium.

Read more: the best multi-day hikes in Patagonia

Patagonia National Park Tamango Reserve


Useful info about the park

How to get to Patagonia National Park

The Patagonia National Park lies 330 km / 205 mi south of Coyhaique, just off the Carretera Austral. The closest towns are Cochrane in the south, and Chile Chico in the north.

Cochrane is on the Carretera Austral. To get there, you can either travel north by bus/car from the direction of O’Higgins; or travel south by bus/car from Coyhaique / Balmaceda Airport.

Chile Chico is right at the border with Argentina, on Ruta 265, a side road from the Carretera Austral. You can reach it by bus/car traveling from the Carretera Austral or from Argentina.

Getting to Tamango park entrance

Tamango is easily accessible from Cochrane on foot (50 mins walk) or by rental car or taxi. There’s not much traffic on this side road, so hitchhiking might prove difficult.

Getting to Jeinimeni park entrances

Jeinimeni is further north from Cochrane, just south of Chile Chico, near the Argentinian border. The entrance is on the X-753 side road, so unfortunately it’s not accessible by walk or public transportation.

To reach Jeinimeni, you need your own/rental car, or to pay a taxi. There are 2 entrances from the X-753: Piedra Clavada (in the north), and Jeinimeni Lake (in the south).

Getting to Chacabuco Valley park entrances

Chacabuco Valley is between Tamango and Jeinimeni. The two entrances are at Casa de Piedra, and at Camping Los West Winds, both on the X-83 (a side road from the Carretera Austral). This sector is only accessible by car as well.

Patagonia landscape

Entrance ticket

As for every other national park in Chile, you’ll need to buy an entrance ticket. For adult foreigners, count 8400 CLP (9 USD) as of September 2022, whatever the duration of your stay.

Tip! If you plan to enter again on the next day, you can try and ask for a discount. It’s not official, but a friend managed to negotiate it (in Spanish) upon entering on the first day. He got a stamp he could show on the day after.

You can check the latest price, trail and camping info on the CONAF website (in Spanish). Buy your ticket in advance, or at the entrance.

Keep planning: Discover more National Parks in Chile

Patagonia national park views


Accommodation

Camping

Within the park, the most popular accommodation is your own tent, either on official campgrounds or the occasional wild camping. Camping costs between 3000 CLP (3.20 USD) and 6000 CLP (6.40 USD) per person per night as of Sept. 2022.

In Tamango, the campsite is near the park entrance. In Jeinimeni and Chacabuco Valley, there are several campsites near the entrances – plan according to your route. Remember to always leave no trace and take all your rubbish back out.

Outside the park boundaries, there are also campsites in the towns of Cochrane and Chile Chico.

Hotels

Within the park, there’s only one lodge and restaurant, in Chacabuco Valley.

Apart from that, hotel and hostel accommodation is only available outside of the park. There’s plenty in both Cochrane (south) and Chile Chico (north).

Hiking Patagonia national park

Gear

Good hiking boots, a rain jacket, and a hat and sunscreen are all must-haves. Many trails lack in shade. Hiking poles would be a great help to climb hills and cross rivers.

Some paths are well-marked, some are a bit confusing, so I recommend downloading the trail on an offline map. My (free) go-to app is maps.me.

If you decide on a multi-day hike, you’ll need your own tent and all the necessary food. Because besides a restaurant in the Chacabuco Valley, there’s no shop nor restaurant within the park.

More tips: How to pack like a minimalist

Clear Patagonia National Park signposts for easy hiking

When to go hiking in the Patagonia National Park

The park is open all year round. But during the winter season, temperatures drop and snow often limits the number of open trails.

The best time to visit the Patagonia National Park is considered to be between January and April, when the temperatures are more suitable for camping, there’s no snow, and all trails / campgrounds are open. Note that January–February is the Andean summer aka the high season, when the park is the busiest.

I personally prefer to travel in the shoulder season (March–April) to enjoy more solitude in the nature. However, bear in mind that with the end of the high season, services start closing: you might find less options in accommodation and public transportation.

Keep reading: Traveling along the Carretera Austral, Patagonia’s legendary road.


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Who am I?

Anna is a world citizen, an avid traveller, a passionate environmentalist and a digital nomad. Writing about her year backpacking through South America, she tries to encourage everyone to discover this beautiful continent as a traveller or a digital nomad and pass on her love for responsible travel.

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