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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walking Vina del Mar to Valparaíso, Chile

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

People from the BIG CITY of Santiago love to escape to Valparaíso on the coast.

Valpo is popular with tourists who enjoy the city’s labyrinth of cobbled alleys and colorful buildings.

It has a a mild Mediterranean climate.

In 1996, the World Monuments Fund declared Valparaíso’s unusual system of funicular lifts (steeply inclined carriages) one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures.

Valparaíso is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I decided to walk to Valpo along the coast from Viña del Mar, an upscale suburb to the north famed for great beaches.

Having walked the beaches the previous evening, I started near the castle.

There were plenty of runners and cyclists, but not many walkers.

Birds are always a highlight in Chile. Pelicans have always been some of my favourites.

Originally a port and fishing centre, much of the coast has not been improved for pedestrians.

Some has.

Fishermen use mobile phones now.

There’s a lot of traffic on the coastal road. At one point you are pushed inland by train tracks.

Parts of this 3 hour walk I did enjoy.

Other sections I found annoying. Graffiti EVERYWHERE was starting to bother me.

A real highlight near Valpo is watching sea lions close up on this abandoned concrete structure. It’s amazing they can get up there. It’s entertaining to watch them negotiate who gets the prime real estate. And who gets pushed off back into the sea.

The best part was arriving in Valparaíso and joining a free (for tips) walking tour. The daughter of one of the gentlemen in our group had tons of fun sliding down a cement ramp.

All in all I wished I’d — instead — spent my time hiking out at Parque Nacional La Campana.

Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve

Buenos Aires Ecological ReserveReserva Ecológica de Buenos Aires, also known as Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, is a 865-acre (3.50 km2) tract of low land on the Río de la Plata riverbank located on the east side of the district of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires CBDArgentina.

I walked the big loop enjoying most observing the wetlands birds and creatures. My highlight was spotting a Coipo (Myocastor coypus).

If you want to escape the traffic noise of the big city, this is the place to go.

Jogging or cycling that loop would be preferable to walking, in my opinion. It’s ideal for both.

Double Triple Crown – Craig Fowler

Craig Fowler hiked AT, PCT, and Continental Divide and pedaled Tour Divide, the Colorado Trail Race, and the Arizona Trail Race.

Meet The First Person To Complete The Double Triple Crown

 

Hike

  • Appalachian Trail – 2168 mi – 2001
  • Pacific Crest Trail – 2655 mi – 2007
  • Continental Divide Trail – 2751 mi – 2015
  • 7574 Total Miles Completed

Bike

  • Tour Divide – 2732 mi – June 2017
  • Colorado Trail – 539 mi- July 2017
  • Arizona Trail – 757 mi – Oct 2017
  • 4028 Total Miles Completed

Project Total

  • Human powered adventure
  • 11,602 Total Miles 

oneofsevenproject.com

NOT the best of The Bruce – Hamilton waterfalls

trip report by best hike editor Rick McCharles

I parked at Felker Falls trailhead based on a recommendation posted on the official Bruce Trail website.

Felker’s to Albion Falls promised 4 waterfalls over 10.3 km return.

Though Felker’s Falls was little more than a dribble, the hike started well.

Some lovely autumn colours.

But soon I found myself in residential housing.

Then crossing under a freeway.

Hamilton — a city of over a half million — has a lovely trail system. I’d cycle it extensively if I lived here.

It’s home to more than 100 waterfalls and cascades, most of which are on or near the Bruce Trail. 

Albion Falls was the best I saw.

The most spectacular is Webster’s Falls. But it wasn’t on my itinerary.

I’d not recommend you make a special trip to Hamilton to hike the waterfalls. Many other sections of the Bruce are more appealing.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

related:

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

Maah Daah Hey trail system, North Dakota

I’d not heard of Maah Daah until recently. It was designated a National Recreation Trail in December 2016.

The Trail winds through the Little Missouri National Grasslands in North Dakota‘s Badlands. 

This North Dakota Bike Trail Is Stunning. Just Hope You Survive It.

The Maah Daah Hey Trail is the longest and arguably most grueling single-track mountain biking route in the United States.

These trails can be hiked.

more photos

The Maah Daah Hey trail system is comprised of nine trail units of varying size and difficulty. From north to south, they are the Long X (5.8 miles), Summit (3.8 miles), Overlook (0.3 miles), Maah Daah Hey (144 miles), Bennett (3.2 miles), Cottonwood (6.9 miles), Ice Cave (1.5 miles), Buffalo Gap (18.9 miles) and Wolf (8.8 miles). …

There are eleven developed campgrounds on the Maah Daah Hey Trail System: CCCBennettBuffalo GapBurning Coal VeinCoal CreekCottonwoodElkhornMagpieSully CreekSummit, and Wannagan. …

There are twelve trailheads connecting access roads to our beautiful trail system: CCCBear CreekBennettBully PulpitBurning Coal VeinCoal CreekIce CavePlumely DrawSully CreekThird CreekTom’s Wash, and Wannagan.

Mountain bikes account for roughly 70% of the use with horse use in the 25% range with the remaining 5% as hikers or back packers. …

About

best hike – Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

For hikers Göreme is probably the best base for Cappadocia. You can literally go off hiking in any direction.  It’s got a good variety of restaurants and accommodation too.

On arrival in Göreme someone will hand you a FREE hiking map.

Most wander around with this thingfrequently getting lost. We could find no decent map nor guidebook in 2017.

For 6 days I hiked and cycled many of these trails, often lost, before finally deciding on what I felt was the best hike.

Ask the people at your accommodation in Göreme how to get to the Rose Valley Panoramic viewpoint. They’ll likely recommend a taxi and tell you the price. It’s about a 15 minute drive uphill from town.

There is a small entry fee for Panoramic viewpoint. The taxi may drop you outside the gates.

Here begins the Rose Valley trail. 5km to Caveusin. Most feel Rose is the best hike of all. And I’d agree.

Note that most of the trail signage is in Turkish.

There are many twisting and turning trail options. All are good but the very bottom of the valley might be muddy.

Rose is popular with cyclists, too.

Gorgeous, surreal scenery.

End of the trail is the village of Çavuşin.

If you haven’t yet seen enough Church caves — you might want to visit the World Heritage site Caveusin Kilisesi.

From Çavuşin you need to get to the Love Valley trailhead. Ask in town. It’s about 1km up the highway towards Goreme. (There are shortcuts.)

If walking the highway here’s the turn-off. These pink signs are the best of the admittedly poor and confusing trail signage in the area.

From there you can’t miss it.

Love Valley is the second best trail in my opinion.

Why they call it Love Valley I can’t imagine. 🙂

You can see here how those columns erode away from the valley wall.

It’s about 4km uphill to the end of the Love trail. If not lost you’ll finish at this tourist trap.

Bus tours stop and parade their unwilling passengers through the souvenirs.

Cross the highway and make your way up to the top of impressive Uchisar Castle. There’s a small entry fee.

Exiting on your way down ask for the Pigeon Valley trailhead. Look for these pigeons. It’s not difficult to find.

Some have reported seeing no pigeons in Pigeon Valley. We saw plenty.

Historically farmers built roosts for pigeons in the valley wall in order to later collect their guano.

It’s downhill to Göreme. A nice but often crowded walk.

Looking back to the Castle.

You might spend 4-6 hours including stops on this best hike.

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

click for larger version

___

A shorter alternative would be to loop Pigeon to Love Valley. It’s a 2km walk up the highway back to Göreme, however.

We really need someone to put together a decent map of trails out of Goreme. Hundreds of thousands visit every year and almost all do some hiking.

related – Hike Bike Travel – 21 Photos That Will Make You Want To Hike In Turkey’s Rose Valley