Cerro Vigia Circuit, Caleta Tortel, Chile

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Tourists visiting weird, wonderful and remote Caleta Tortel all climb up to the viewpoint above town. And back down the same way.

It’s great. But the best hike is to do the entire circuit. I used the Maps.me app for navigation. Google Maps offline doesn’t have it.

Parts of the route are muddy. Be warned.

Weather was surprisingly good. But since this is Patagonia, I carried my rain gear.

You walk a LOT of boardwalk, some of it slippery when wet.

The trail trail is well signed.

There’s a steep sidetrip down to the Baker River too, if you are keen.

The town signage indicates it could take 2 hours for the circuit. I’d estimate a minimum of 3 hours. It might take four.

Click PLAY or watch highlights of my loop on YouTube.

Recommended.

Ventisquero Colgante hike, Chile

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

  • 6.6km return to observation platform
  • rough and muddy trail

Queulat National Park is a very popular destination for tourists. Here’s how the park’s centerpiece, the Queulat Hanging Glacier, looks in perfect weather.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls in summer, ChileVentisquero Colgante Falls in summer , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

There’s a visitor centre explaining the various short hikes.

You start on a long suspension bridge.

I was there on a rainy day. Most days are rainy.

This is dense Valdivian temperate rain forest. Parts of the park receive up to 4,000 mm (157 in) of precipitation annually.

There is some boardwalk, but expect to get muddy. (I wore neoprene booties rather than socks.)

Here’s the viewpoint as I saw it.

On descending I’d definitely recommend adding a short spur trail to Laguna Tempanos.

It’s a different perspective from the lake.

Everyone is happy to visit Quelat. A weird and wonderful microclimate.

I wore neoprene booties instead of socks. Inside my feet were warm, wet and smelly.

Queulat National Park is is 23-kilometers away from pretty Puyuhuapi town, the normal jumping off point for travelers.

related – Ventisquero Colgante: The Hanging Glacier of Queulat

Pumalín, Chile – Caleta Gonzalo Cascada trail

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Hike to a spectacular waterfall.

Duration: 3 hours round trip.
Distance: 5,6 km round trip.
Return: Same route.
Difficulty: Low-Medium.

Parque Pumalín

This hike is very challenging. Calling it Low-Medium is insanity. 🙄

There are many sections where you need to use your hands. Scrambles.

The river crossing could be dangerous / impossible at high water. I slipped in with both feet while boulder hopping.

You can quickly see why this temperate rain forest was so inaccessible before superb trail builders got here.

There was a ton of work done to put in this trail. Plenty of boardwalk, most made from local wood onsite.

Check this natural park bench.

The crux of the hike are these two ladders.

Made it. This is what I expected at Pumalín.

For me it was 3 hours round trip. Finishing at 8pm I had only about 2 hours of daylight left to get set-up at the nearby campground and to cook up a BIG dinner.

Cascada was my first hike in this sector of Parque Pumalín.

hiking Lake Chaiguata, Chiloe, Chile

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I cycled in to the Lake Chaiguata as part of my Patagonia bikepacking trip. Cycling is a great way to get to trailheads in this remote part of the world.

Parque Tantauco is fantastic. And fantastically well organized and funded.

The campsites are as good as I’ve seen anywhere. They put down wood chips to keep them dry.

There are a number of day hikes of various lengths, all well signed.

This is a wet, wet landscape. Thus they’ve built a LOT of boardwalk. And I love boardwalk.

Though the topography is fairly flat, trails are built to take you to overlooks.

It’s an interesting place.

This is the start of the best hike in Chiloe, the 4-8 day Sendero Transversal hut-to-hut.

best hike Chiloe Island, Chile

Sendero Transversal is by far the best hike in remote Chiloe.

I cycled in to the Lake Chaiguata trailhead staying only 1 night and did some day hiking. 

It’s a unique and impressive Park. Very well organized.

Tantauco Park (Spanish: Parque Tantauco) is a 1,180 km2 (456 sq mi) private natural reserve on the south end of Chiloé Island in Chile.

The park was created by Chilean business magnate and President of Chile Sebastián Piñera in 2005 …

The park is open to the public with two campgrounds and a 150 km (93 mi) network of hiking trails. …

Tantauco Park is an attractive ecotourist destination due to the remarkable biodiversity of its nearly untouched Valdivian temperate rainforest and the rather easy public access. Precipitations in the area average about 2,500 mm (98 in) annually. …

Details on the Sendero Transversal.

  • 4 – 8 days
  • hike only 1 direction (counterclockwise)
  • download the map
  • start Lake Chaiguata, finish Inío
  • hut to hut
  • maximum 8 hikers / day
  • exit by floatplane or boat
  • peat bogs, Tepu forests, Cypress trees
  • plenty of boardwalk
  • trails well maintained, but you’ll be getting wet
  • only about 7000 people / year visit this Park
  • there are a couple of other multi-night options

Click PLAY or watch on trip on YouTube.

related:

Home page – parquetantauco.cl (Spanish)

WikiTravel – Parque Tantauco

Wikipedia – Tantauco Park

Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

The Vintgar Gorge  or Bled Gorge is a 1.6-kilometer (0.99 mi) gorge in northwestern Slovenia four kilometers northwest of Bled. …

The sheer canyon walls are 50 to 100 meters (160 to 330 ft) high …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. The boardwalks make it easy.

You can do a half day hiking circuit from Bled. But I was riding with a tourist agent from Belgium who was doing research on the area. She had a rent-a-car.

In October near end of day, it wasn’t particularly crowded. Nor was Bled During July and August you may have trouble finding a place to park. And all accommodation can get booked out.

The water is so clear you can watch fish waiting on food to drift down.

We caught a terrific sunset after finishing our hike.

related – trip report – Ultimate Guide to Visiting Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia

Norway’s Lofoten Islands – hike Fløya & Devil’s Gate

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

My last hike in Norway was terrific.

The evening before my 6:30am ferry departing Lofoten Islands I did the famous hike out of Svolvær, the fast ferry port.

From the wharf it’s about a half hour walk to the trailhead.

I hid my pack where I wanted to tent and started up the steep scramble. For a change the most difficult part is right at the bottom.

There’s chain and rope assistance at some points.

The muddiest sections have new boardwalk. That helped.

As much as possible I stayed on stone.

Pretty views all the way up.

From below I saw people scrambling the ridge.

I ended up climbing to the top of Fløya first. An amazing vista down over the town of Svolvær and Vestfjorden.

Down below is the famous climbing spire called the Goat. (Svolvaergeita)

To get to Djevelporten (Devil’s Gate) I had to descend quite far and climb back up again.

Late in the evening I had it to myself.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

In no rush I descended back to my tent stopping often to enjoy my final hiking vistas of gorgeous Lofoten.

Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 0

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar

Years ago I tried and failed to do this hike. Roads and rivers were impassable in June of that season.

Since then it’s been near the top of my bucket list.

Click PLAY or watch on YouTube to see why.

I bought my fuel at Iceland Camping Equipment in Reykjavík. It’s VERY expensive.

Later I learned that every hostel and campsite has plenty of free fuel canisters left behind by foreign hikers who will soon fly out.

I enjoyed my last restaurant meal – traditional Icelandic meat soup.

There are a number of ways to get to Landmannalaugar. Reykavik Expeditions and TREX are the two biggest bus services.

I went early to catch the 4pm bus. … Last bus leaves at 1pm. Never believe anything you read on the internet.

click for bigger map
click for bigger map

Next morning I was surprised to see young people from Alaska loading bikes. I’d not heard of people cycling Laugevagur. Turns out it’s a bad idea.

Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar is about 4 hours … if you don’t get stuck.

It would be FUN to drive your own rental monster truck.

Landmannalaugar is a sprawling mess of a campsite.

While the rest of the world was suffering a heat wave, Iceland has had the worst summer weather in recorded history (100 years).

Forecast was not good. We worried whether or not we’d be able to attempt the hike.

I put my Hubba up on a platform in case of flood during the night.

At the information office you can buy a crappy day hiking map for about $3.

Most recommended is the Suournamur loop (about 9km). I first took a detour up the Ljiotipollur ‘Ugly Puddle’ trail and found myself this lookout for lunch. Ljiotipollur is an explosion crater lake.

If you find any trail crowded in Iceland, you only need walk a few minutes on any side trail to feel like you have the island to yourself.

Suournamur trail is gorgeous. It climbs up above the campsite.

I left a Summit Stone atop one of the cairns.

Not much can live up here.

I really liked this ridge walk section.

I got my feet wet on the river crossing after coming down. Situation normal hiking Iceland.

The highlight of Landmannalaugar for many are the natural hot springs.

FIRST you need to get there down a long boardwalk without freezing.

Having had hernia surgery just a week prior, I wasn’t suppose to soak the wound … but couldn’t resist.

When weather is bad, everyone crowds into the warm, bright cook tent.

After having dinner with a lovely couple from Austria, I hit the tent early hoping for good weather next morning. Forecast was for a BIG STORM. ☹️

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Overland Track, Tasmania

Mac posted an excellent overview on how to tramp one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Overland

 PROS
  • Beautifully maintained track
  • Plenty of water available on the trail
  • Great side trips (Cradle Mountain, Hartnett Falls, the Acropolis)
  • Can stay as many days as you choose out on the track
  • Climb Mount Ossa, the highest peak in Tasmania (side trip)

CONS

  • Expensive – A$230
  • Bookings required October 1 to May 31
  • Crowded during the high season
  • Can only be hiked one direction
  • Leeches 

Based on Mac’s information, we’ve updated our Overland Track information page.

Mac actually liked Tasmania’s Western Arthur Traverse better than the Overland.