Join the elite few who have cycled the Carretera Austral

Join the elite few who have cycled the Carretera Austral
Baker - O'Higgins Area

Chile's Carretera Austral is an international icon for distance cycling. Biking the entire route takes months of training, precise planning, and expensive gear; however, we've got a plan that allows everyone to sample a bit of the experience.

  • Data sheet

    To rent bikes, contact Hans Silva, Villa O’Higgins Expeditions – Carretera Austral, Km 1240; (067) 2431831 - 2431832; contacto@villaohiggins.comwww.villaohiggins.com, or the Robinson Crusoe - Deep Patagonia Lodge, located on the other side of the Carretera Austral (02) 23341503 -23341504 / (067) 2431909; info@robinsoncrusoe.comwww.robinsoncrusoe.com.

By this point in your travels along the Carretera Austral, you’ve likely passed almost as many cyclists as sheep. With fully loaded bikes that carry all their supplies, these hard-core road warriors travel the world over, on multi-month, or in some cases, multi-year journeys. 

Chile’s Carretera Austral is the Holy Grail for distance cyclists. 

Most begin their journey through this part of Patagonia some 1,240 kilometers north of Villa O’Higgins, in the city of Puerto Montt and follow the Carretera Austral south for its entirety, stopping only for obligatory crossings in ferries. As these bikers descend, the world surrounding them becomes wilder and more remote, and the road degrades from pavement to gravel. They press on, in their quest for the ultimate prize; reaching the docks of Puerto Bahamondes where they can pose for a picture under the sign indicating “The end of the Carretera Austral” before boarding El Quetru, to take them across Lago O’Higgins for passage into Argentina.

Biking the entire route takes months of training, precise planning, and expensive gear; however, everyone can get a feel for the experience. Bike day rentals are available in Villa O’Higgins, from the Robinson Crusoe Lodge, and we have three great routes that will help you make your own memories of biking the Carretera Austral. Your challenge is to enjoy the beautiful sights, sounds, and aromas, as you chart your course toward the end of this world-
famous ride. 

Circuit 1: Villa O’Higgins to Puerto Bahamondes.

  • Distance: 14 km, out and back.
  • Duration: 1 - 3 hours.
  • Seasonality:  Year round.
  • The Route: Head south along the Carretera Austral, passing the Los Corrales sector and the shores of the Mosco River.  You’ll cross over the Grosse Bridge, and then follow the shore of the river, which soon empties into O’Higgins Lake.  You’ll pass several shipyards during the ride, some of which are historical milestones for the settlement of the lake and surrounding areas.  Your ending point is the Bahamondes dock, where you will find boats offering transport and tourism services for the lake.  Remember to look for the sign that marks the end of the Carretera Austral!!! Like other bikers around the world who have reached this point on two-wheels, you need your picture to commemorate this special ride! 

Route 2: Villa O’Higgins to Cisnes Lake.

  • Distance: 32 km, out and back.
  • Duration: 2 - 4 hours.
  • Seasonality:  Year round.
  • The Circuit: Head north along the Carretera Austral, passing through beautiful native forests and over the Mayer River, via the Van Schouwen Bridge. Continue along the road to the shores of Cisnes Lake. Here you can explore the southeast shore of the lake, turning around at the bridge that crosses the river, which is the drainage of the lake. This route is great for combining bird watching or fishing activities.  There are many places where you can leave your bike and approach to the lake or advance into the forest.

Circuit 3:  Villa O’Higgins to the community chapel built by Padre Ronchi and the Mayer River.

  • Distance: 52 km, out and back.
  • Duration: 5 - 6 hours.
  • Seasonality:  Year round.
  • The Route: Ride north from town on the Carretera Austral for 7.5 km to the crossroad for Entrada Mayer, just before the Van Schouwen Bridge. Turn right to follow this side road. The route passes forests, wetlands and many lagoons alongside the road. You will have good chances to spot Huemules and a variety of Patagonian birds, including the ringed kingfisher and the Magellanic or black woodpecker. This route ends at the charming little chapel, set back in a small meadow on the right side of the road, built by the local community and Fr. Antonio Ronchi, about 18 km from the crossing.  

 

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