The jagged ice covered peaks of Cerro Castillo are one of the most awe-inspiring sites in the Region of Aysén. This great horseback ride gets you up close to the base of the towers where the panoramic views of the Ibáñez River Valley are unsurpassed; from here you’ll walk toward its hanging glaciers and amazing turquoise lagoon.
Villa Cerro Castillo
You’ll saddle up in the gaucho town of Villa Cerro Castillo, situated 110 km south of Coyhaique, at the base of the Reserve. We recommend that you stop in town to have a bite at one of the local restaurants or explore the shops; it’s an interesting place to chat with locals and hear their stories about the mountain and its many adventures.
• Reservations: In town there are various operators, each with distinctive circuits and standards:
o Al Galope la Araucaria (Felidor Sandoval) - Villa Cerro Castillo: Los pioneros 962; (09) 76611709; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
o Baqueanos de la Patagonia (Loreto y Claudio Sandoval) - Villa Cerro Castillo: Camino sector Arroyo el Bosque; (09) 65136226 - 78988550; firstname.lastname@example.org.
o Cabalgata Aventura (Albanio Sandoval) – Sector Alto Puerto Ibáñez: Km 100, Camino Puerto Ibáñez; (09) 87459266 - 98787565; email@example.com.
o Cabalgata El Gauchito (Juan Villagran) - Villa Cerro Castillo: Fundo la Porfía; firstname.lastname@example.org.
o Senderos Patagonia (guía regional Cristian Vidal y Mary Brys) – Cerro Castillo: Carretera Austral s/n; (09) 62244725 - 82386972; email@example.com.
The El Bosque Stream
The classic route is offered daily by most operators and includes a six-hour combination of horseback riding and hiking to the Cerro Castillo Glacier Lagoon at the base of the spirals and towers. The adventure leaves from the Villa along an old tropero (cattle-herder) route and gradually climbs the mountain’s slopes winding through a private farm. The trails are narrow, so you should always be alert to the terrain, your horse, and your guide’s instructions. The higher you ride, the more panoramic (and incredible) your view of the Ibáñez River Valley. After about an hour of riding you’ll encounter the El Bosque Stream, which you will follow until you reach the National Reserve’s boundary. Here you’ll will leave your horses and continue on foot.
Cerro Castillo Glacier Lagoon
It’s a one hour trek that follows a series of switchbacks climbing up the rock scree of the Reserve to a height of 1,500 meters. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable views in all directions; at your back you can see the entire Ibáñez River valley, all the way to Lago General Carrera and on a clear day, to Argentina. In front, you can see every detail of the mountain, its basalt spires touching the sky and its glacier toppling down from the peaks. From here, the trail flattens out for the final stretch, ending at an overlook of the vividly turquoise Cerro Castillo Glacier Lagoon, formed by glacial melt and colored by sediments carried down from the tips of the spires.
Here, you’ll stop for photos, a rest, and a light snack, before finishing walking back down to your waiting horses and completing the circuit back to Villa Cerro Castillo. We suggest working with guides who offer a traditional Patagonia-style asado al palo at the end of the ride. Many have beautiful camping areas or quinchos where you can relax and chow down while sharing stories, photos, and experiences with your guides and the rest of the group.
Cerro Castillo National Reserve
Cerro Castillo National Reserve is one of Aysen’s icons; renowned for great hiking, stunning scenery, amazing forests, turquoise waters, hanging glaciers and above all, tremendous towers that call out to the best mountaineers worldwide.