Although most of Chile’s wine-growing regions are located in the temperate zones of the central part of the country, winemakers seek out the wilderness of the south. Patagonia prides itself on the diversity of its environment and has been called the adventure capital of Chile, a dream for outdoor enthusiasts. Its many hiking trails encompass the famous mountains, glaciers, forests and grasslands and stretch from the Lake District in the north to Cape Horn on the south side.

Here, some of the country’s most intrepid winemakers share their favorite spots in the wilderness to explore.

The Best Hikes in Patagonia According to Chile’s Wine Professionals Torres del Paine National Park / Stocksy United

Christian Vallejo

The head winemaker

Vallejo’s favorite Patagonian trails are in Torres del Paine National Park and are very popular with locals and hikers alike. For him, the W Trek circuit is a four-day adventure that winds around the Payne Massif and visits places in the park like Gray Glacier. For a longer hike, he likes the O-Trek circuit, which circles the massif and eventually connects the two ends of the W Trail. The key, Vallejo says, is rewarding after both trips. He recommends eating in nearby Puerto Natales.

The Best Hikes in Patagonia According to Chile’s Wine Professionals Torres del Paine/Getty

Emma Florence Burnazo

Partner

“There is more to Torres del Paine than the ‘W’ and ‘O’ hikes,” Burnazo says. “I chose the Paso de Agostini because I think it’s less known,” she says, “and because of the very different landscapes set against the backdrop of Torres del Paine. With the Paine Mountains in the background, the trail winds through the park’s grasslands, passes several beautiful lakes and offers the opportunity to see native wildlife such as guanacos, which are closely related to llamas.

The Best Hikes in Patagonia According to Chile’s Wine Professionals Torres del Paine/Getty

Maria Luz-Marin

Founder/CEO

Lesser-known adventures through Torres del Paine are also popular with Marina. She enjoys a day hike in the French Valley in the heart of the Paine Massif. “After a two-hour hike through forests and lakes, you reach Camp Italiano, the gateway to the incredible French Valley,” she says, “and begin to see the spectacular hanging glaciers of the Paine Grande, the highest mountain in the park. After another climb through the forests of Linga and Coihue, the hike ends at French Valley Lookout, “where you have a stunning panoramic view.”

The Best Hikes in Patagonia According to Chile’s Wine Professionals Navarino Island / Getty

Ricardo Baettig.

The head winemaker

A born adventurer, Baettig recommends the rugged territory of the Dienti di Navarino on the island of Navarino in Tierra del Fuego. This epic round trip, widely considered the southernmost trek in the world, requires “a little more experience in navigation with GPS or a good guide,” he says. The effort is rewarded with a route of steep mountain peaks, windy forests, lakes, swamps and views of the Beagle Channel at the top of the world. “It impresses with its remoteness, its cold and harsh climate, and its rugged beauty.”

The Best Hikes in Patagonia According to Chile’s Wine Professionals Congillo/Getty National Park

Grant Phelps.

Owner/Winner

Phelps, a New Zealand native, prefers to escape the hustle and bustle of southern Patagonia. He turns to the regions of Iron or Lake County in the north, known for their forests, snow-capped peaks, lakes and rivers. “The park I really like there is Congillio,” he says. “Hiking in the Sierra Nevada, like crossing the volcano Llame, is a bad omen. ” Congillio National Park is probably best known for its forests like Dr. Seuss, Araucaria spindly or monkey puzzle trees.

Aurelio Montes del Campo

The head winemaker

Montes, another fan of northern Patagonia, enjoys the peaceful slopes of Alerce Costero National Park, near Valdivia. The trails here are paved with ancient and imposing Fitzroy trees. “It’s a much easier path, perfect for hiking with children,” he says. “At the end of the trail, you come to a larch tree that is over 2,000 years old, which is just breathtaking.” He also recommends Futange Park, a private nature preserve on Lake Rancor. Its long hiking trails lead through Valdivia’s temperate rainforest.

Published on February 8, 2021

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