Best Hike Takes Us to the Villarrica Traverse in Chile

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While I was spending my time snowshoeing and dogsledding in Canada a few weeks back, my friend Rick McCharles, who runs, was returning home from a month of trekking in Chile. While there, he discovered what he calls the absolute best route in the country while hiking along the Villarrica Traverse, an 81 km (50 mile) walk that he deems as quite challenging.

The hike takes visitors through remote wilderness that is dominated by volcanic peaks throughout the region. Not the least of these volcanoes is the active Villarrica itself, which looms 2860 meters (9380 ft) overhead. The walk itself takes place mostly above treeline, which helps to provide beautiful views throughout the trek, which takes roughly 5-6 days to complete.

As usual, Rick does a great job of providing information to readers about the hike, giving us tips about where to start, when to go, and what to expect along the way. He even writes daily summaries of the traverse, each of which offers really great information for those who would like to make the trek themselves. Not only do these summaries give you insight from someone who is a very experienced backpacker, and has walked some of the most iconic routes in the world, but the photos that are included are wonderful and helpful too.

If you’d like to hike the Villarrica Traverse yourself, read Rick’s summary of the hike here, and then read his daily dispatches, which begin with Day 0 where we learn how to get Pucón, the start of the hike itself.

Looks like a great trek. Would love to do this myself at some point.

Kraig Becker