cycle / hiking the Carretera Austral, Chile

future trip planning by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

During my two months in Patagonia 2018 I did a fair bit of research on a future cycle hiking trip.

  • what bike? (Surly Long Haul Trucker with 40mm tires is popular)
  • buy, rent or bring with me from Canada?
  • exact route? (north to south via Chiloe sounds best to me)

I’d camp and hike en route.

The Carretera is far more popular now than when I did it in 2004 by bus / hitchhiking.

The Carretera Austral runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins through (sparsely populated) rural Patagonia. …

This area is characterized by thick forestsfjordsglaciers, canals and steep mountains. …

Among the world’s finest road trips, the Carretera Austral – or “Southern Highway” – is a 1240km route through Chile that’s mostly unpaved. Winding through millennia-old forests, it visits dusty Andean hamlets and turquoise rivers spawned from landlocked glaciers. …

Cyclists should have the skills and materials to repair their own gear, and should plan on taking a solid month for the entire endeavor. According to Italian cyclist Tomas Balzk, the hardest part was not pedaling the terrain, but ingesting enough calories. …

Lonely Planet

Cyclists-on-the-Carretera-Austral

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