Pay tribute to the huemul with this two-day hike & festival

Pay tribute to the huemul with this two-day hike & festival
Baker - O'Higgins Area

Each year, during the last weekend of January, a festival is held to celebrate the huemul (hippocamelus bisulcus) and the critical habitat of Valley Chacabuco and the Tamango and Tamanguito mountains. The main event is a two-day group trek called the "Route of the Huemul". The hike attracts local, national and international participants who love ecotourism and nature.

  • Data sheet

    Activity Type: Festival and two-day group-hike.

    Start: Patagonia Park in the Chacabuco Valley. 

    End: Tamango National Reserve, Conaf Visitor Reception Center.

    Distance: 26 km (Day 1: 15 Km / Day 2: 11 Km)

    Duration: 2 days (1 night camping)

    Seasonality: The Route of the Huemul Festival takes place during the last weekend of January and this trek can also be hiked independently between November and April.

    Considerations: For this two-day, overnight hike, you’ll need camping equipment, layered clothing with warm and waterproof protective layers, trekking boots and poles, first-aid supplies, a GPS and/or detailed map (sections of this hike are outside of established trails), food and water, etc. Don’t forget your camera!

    Reservations: You must register in the Conservación Patagónica’s Patagonia Park Visitor Center and again in the offices of CONAF, in the Tamango National Reserve, where you will pay an entrance fee. To participate in the “Route of the Huemul” group hike, you must reserve your place in advance by writing to turismo@cochranepatagonia.cl.

Tamango National Reserve is a beautiful protected area of 6,925 hectares, nestled between three mountains, Cerros Tamango (1,722 m), Tamanguito (1,485 m), and Húngaro (1,214 m). Conservación Patagónica’s Patagonia Park, in the Chacabuco Valley, lies on one side of these mountains.  Both of these protected areas are committed to the conservation of huemules through the provision of safe, open habitat, and together, their joined territory represents one of the largest habitation ranges remaining in Patagonia. 

The Route of the Huemul Festival was created to celebrate and promote understanding of this endangered animal. The event takes place during the last weekend in January and includes a variety of activities; film premiers, lectures, cultural events, great local food and music. The main event of the festival is a two-day, 26 Km trek that travels between Patagonia Park and the Tamango National Reserve.  

You can hike the Route of the Huemul independently during the rest of the year; many of the area’s specialized guides are experts in the route. The trek initiates from Conservación Patagónica’s Patagonia Park Visitor Center, bordering the slopes of the Cerro Tamanguito, to begin its gradual climb up to the Atlas area. You’ll want your camera handy because there is little doubt that you will find herds of guanacos roaming these hills. Next you’ll follow the trail to the Escondida Lagoon where you find yourself immersed in the heart of huemul habitat.  If you hope to observe them, hike quietly and keep a close watch because they are shy and very well camouflaged among the shrubs and trees. If you’re lucky enough to encounter a huemul, maintain a respectful distance and demeanor; do not interrupt their daily life and habits and limit your interactions to photos, taken at a distance, so that you do not cause stress or shock. 

The route continues toward Cochrane Lake; on clear days you’ll have great panoramic views of Cerro San Lorenzo and can even spot Argentina! The trail makes a long descent to the Paleta Beach in the Tamango National Reserve where you can camp for the night.  

The second day of hiking follows gentle slopes that parallel the Cochrane River, on the way to the Conaf Visitor Reception Center. From this place you can walk toward Cochrane by a gravel road or coordinate the return by taxi or other transportation. If you don’t accommodate the date of the festival, don’t worry! You can also make the trip independently between November and April, when there is no snow in these hills.

Read more

Photographs

Photographs that complement this story

Videos

If a picture 's worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million , is not it? Here you will find some of the best for this sector.

Routes

To go this route , you'll need a good map. Find the details and steps here in georeferenced and downloadable version Smartphone, Tablet and GPS .

Related Articles

Get your camera ready! You?re in the land of the huemules

The Tamango National Reserve is one of the icons of the Aysén Region. Great hiking trails, an excellent river for kayak or fishing, a crystal clear lake, and important habitat for a beautiful native deer in danger of extinction, await you in this protected area just minutes from Cochrane.

Read more