Hiking for everyone near Santiago
When thinking of a stay in Santiago de Chile, immersion in a dazzling metropolis, culture, delicacies and the surrounding wineries are the first things that come to mind – and for good reasons! Then maybe you think of adventurous tours in the Andes, such as rafting or mountaineering. But even for hikers who are not used to extreme heights, there is a real gem nearby:
Only about 100 km north of Santiago lies the La Campana National Park, named after the mountain La Campana (1,910 m). This park is one of the few protected, still original zones of the central region of Chile. It is the habitat for many animal and plant species, which were explored by Darwin here. In 1984, the park was declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
In La Campana National Park there are two major hiking trails: the “cozy” one in the north eastern Ocoa sector and the “sporty” one, ascending to the summit from the west side of the park (Olmue sector).
A special highlight in the Ocoa sector are the palm forests of the endemic species Jubaea chilensis. In spring, the palms bloom yellow and in summer they grow green fruits, which turn radiant yellow when they mature. A hike in this area will take you to a lookout with stunning panoramic views of the entire valley and its palm trees. For this trip you should plan 3-4 hours plus travel time.
You can reach the Ocoa sector from Santiago taking Ruta 5 north. Past the little town of Llayllay the park is signposted.
The sporty version requires a little more time (depending on fitness about 7-9 hours for ascent and descent) and considerably physical effort. First, you ascend about half the distance on sandy paths through typical local forest. Then it gets tricky, because the trail gets partly lost between thick boulders. There is no other way up than climbing them. Darwin climbed along there, too, as a plaque just before the summit tells us. The effort is woth it, since on the summit you will be rewarded with a spectacular view: On a clear day you can see as far as the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Andean range with the mighty Aconcagua in the east. Birds circle under you and a green valley spreads out before your feet- simply magical!
Access to the summit trail is via Olmué on the west side of the park. From Santiago, take the Ruta 5 north and then take the Til Til branch on the F-10-G til Olmue. From Valparaíso it is even only 50 km to the east (Olmue) on Ruta 60.
The park can be visited all year round. Due to the climatic conditions, the best time for hiking in the La Campana National Park is the Chilean spring (October – early December).
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