Trek with Outside’s Travel Editor in Patagonia

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I can’t remember the last time I explored one destination for more than a few days, let alone weeks. Now that it’s 2022, I reserve my free time for fewer, longer excursions. I can’t imagine a better way to get that feeling of travel immersion again than with this 11-day trek through northern Patagonia, joined by Outside+ members and Outside readers. I am most excited about the region’s newest park, Patagonia National Park, which I first heard about this one great 2018 feature by Outside contributing writer Stephanie Pearson. The Patagonia trek is one of them collection of exclusive trips made in collaboration with travel company Modern Adventure, and so on each inaugural journey you will be accompanied by a member of our editorial staff. From November 11 to 23, I’ll be with you to experience a part of Patagonia that few have ever done, including the iconic jagged peaks of Cerro Castillo, the cerulean waters of the Baker River, and a series of beautiful lesser-known national parks . Come to me! —Erin Riley

Chile: Northern Patagonia

Guest Outside editor: Erin Riley, senior travel editor

Inaugural Travel Dates (with Erin): November 11-23, 2022 | Price: $6,600 | Outdoor+ price: $6,400

Additional travel dates (without Erin): February 4–16, 2023 | Price: $6,200 | Outdoor+ Price: $6,000

On the list of time-honoured destinations, Patagonia, with its glacial peaks that have been reduced to fantastic spiers, tops the list. “I consider Chilean Patagonia a trip on my dream list and can’t wait to share trekking days with the group on this all-time classic,” said Erin Riley, who oversees Outsidetravel cover. Deciding which corner of the 400,000-square-mile region to see can be a challenge, so Modern Adventure has solved that for you.

You’ll start in Aysén, in northern Patagonia, where towering peaks, raging rivers and national parks sprawl over one of the least populated areas in the country. This 11-day itinerary samples the dramatic landscapes of two of Chile’s lesser-known parks, with a day of rafting on the Baker River to round it out. You’ll hike between five and 10 miles a day, sleeping in guest houses, panoramic domes, and backcountry base camps. The adventure begins near the town of Coyhaique, about a thousand miles south of Santiago, with a 10.5-mile trek to the 554-square-mile Cerro Castillo National Park. You’ll then cross the 4,265-meter-high Piñón Pass and ascend through forests to camp under Cerro Castillo’s colossal 7,605-meter basalt walls. Grab your pack for a quick jaunt to New Zealander Camp, a base for climbing expeditions, before heading down for a hot meal and cozy room at Villa Cerro Castillo.

Be on the lookout for old gaucho camps as you make your way to General Carrera Lake, which at 1,923 feet is the 11th deepest in the world. After crossing it by ferry, enter the new ten million-acre Patagonia National Park created by Kristine and Doug Tompkins. (Doug co-founded the North Face in the 1960s and toured Patagonia with his friend Yvon Chouinard.) At the end of the trip, feast in the town of Chile Chico and feast on a delicious barbecue. Oh, and that dark spot you saw in the grass on day six? That was a real cougar. —Tim Neville

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