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Zigzag through a wonderland of volcanoes, lakes, glaciers and national parks. Crammed with ancient forests of monkey-puzzle tree and southern beech, this region runs along the spine of the Andes on the border between Chile and Argentina. It's home to several indigenous groups, the original trail-builders. Explore the pristine forests, taste local specialties and meet the locals. Spend a few days on the southern Pacific Coastline riding the trails and foothills and soaking up the sunshine. Finish off at the gorgeous Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve in the Region de los Rios.
Note: If you're in the Seattle area and interested in trying a 1-day or 1/2-day mountain bike tour, come with us! Click here for more info.
Meet at Temuco Airport or Temuco's Frontera Hotel. Head to Kütralkura Geopark for lunch, bike fitting and an afternoon ride.
Meet at Temuco Airport or the Frontera Hotel in Temuco. Hop in the van for the transfer to the feet of the Chilean Andes. Check in at the Swiss- style Suizandina Lodge for lunch and a short rest. This afternoon: bike fitting, orientation and then a warm-up ride around Malalcahuello Village and the foothills of Kütralkura, Chile's first Geopark. Tonight, savor a welcome feast with your guides and fellow riders. Stay tonight and tomorrow at Suizandina.
Route: Piedra Cortada - Centinela - Malalcahuello - Manzanar
Distance: ~13 km (1-2 hours)
Ride the territory of the indigenous Pewenche, the People of the Pines: Volcanoes, the Christmas Crater and monkey-puzzle trees.
This morning, ride from Malalcahuello toward the Nalcas-Malalcahuello National Park. This land is the territory of the indigenous Pewenche, the People of the Pines. Ride its famous mountain trail today, through ancient forests of araucaria 'monkey puzzle' trees. Head up the trail to overlooks with incredible views of the Christmas Crater and Lonquimay and Llaima Volcanoes.
Route: Malalcahuello - Cordillera Las Raices - Lonquimay
Distance: ~50 km (5 hours)
Gravel and singletrack lead to amazing views in the Pewenche Reserve. Head downhill to lunch with the local families before transferring to Conguillío National Park.
Hop in the van for a 30-minute jaunt to the village of Sierra Nevada. Back on the bikes, cross the calm green forest lands of the Araucanía Andina region. Ride La Fusta, a beautiful road through majestic, ancient Araucaria trees (some live to be 1,500 years old!) Pedal the gravel track beside gorgeous Lake Galletue, then transfer onto singletrack to head uphill through the green lands of Quinquen, an indigenous Pewenche Reserve whose name means "shelter." If you are strong enough, climb all the way to the top. Then enjoy the descent back to Galletue Lake for lunch with the Pewenche families: typically lamb barbecue and pine nuts from the Auracaria trees. Back in the van, head to Conguillío National Park to spend tonight at the eco-friendly La Baita Lodge in the heart of the Andes. And maybe get a massage at the hotel's onsite spa.
Route: La Fusta - Quinquen Pewenche Reserve - Conguillío National Park
Distance: ~40 km dirt/gravel & singletrack (5 to 6 hours)
Ride from south to north across Conguillío National Park: Forest, volcano, lakes and lava flows.
Ride from your doorway at La Baita into Conguillío National Park. Crammed with impressive araucaria tree forests, this wild protected region boasts the second most active volcano in Chile, the Llaima Volcano (3,200 m). Begin pedaling at the park’s main entrance next to the beautiful Truful Truful Waterfall. Ascend through a vast volcanic valley with striking views of the Llaima Volcano. Climb upward into forests of Nothofagus (Southern Beech) and araucarias to an altitude of 1,650 meters above sea level. Rip down the descent to spectacular Lake Conguillío. The landscape of Conguillío National Park is dominated by the Sierra Nevada Range, the Conguillío, Arcoiris and Verde lakes, and lava flows from Llaima Volcano that form a huge moon-like valley. Ride across the whole park from south to north - all the way back to La Baita for tonight's well-earned dinner.
Route: Conguillio National Park
Distance: ~55 km gravel/dirt & singletrack (5 to 6 hours)
Head to Pucon, Adventure Central for the Lake and Volcano District. Ride the singletrack up to Villarrica Ski Resort, then back down to the valley.
Have an early breakfast. Then transfer south to Pucón, adventure capital of Chile's Lake and Volcano District. Back on bike, ride from Pucón to Villarrica volcano, the most active volcano in Chile, located at the northern end of the region. A dirt road to the river drops into a 1.5km singletrack descent, then a gradual climb up to Villarrica Ski Resort. From the top, soak up amazing views of the Andes, the surrounding lakes and the dominant volcanoes of the area. Watch for smoke coming from the Villarrica volcano. Then head down again - on the best descent in the area! Weave through forests of coigue (beech) trees and colihue (bamboo) before arriving back on the valley floor and cruising back into Pucón. Check into the Geronimo Inn with its views of the volcano. Enjoy an evening at your leisure. Dinner's on your own tonight. Time to explore the town! Ask your guide for local insight about bars, dining and good shopping.
Route: Pucon and Villarica Volcano
Distance: ~25 km (4 hours)
Ride Villarrica National Park, up gravel road and singletrack to Chinay and the Pichi Llancahue Glacier Trail.
Shuttle to Palguín Alto to start this morning's ride. Gravel road leads through Villarrica National Park with views of waterfalls formed by basaltic rock and majestic snowcapped Quetrupillan and Rucapillan Volcanoes. Watch as the vegetation changes from raulí (Nothofagus alpina or alpine beech) and hualle (Nothofagus obliqua or southern beech) forests to monkey-puzzle araucarias as we ascend to Chinay, the high point of the day at 1,250 meters above sea level. After about 3 hours of steady climbing, arrive at the Pichi Llancahue Glacier Trail. Time for a snack break! This afternoon, bike the trail to a glacier smothered by the volcanic ashes of Villarrica volcano. Gaze in awe at the stunning views of four volcanoes. Return to Pucon and another leisurely evening at the Geronimo.
Route: Villarrica National Park - Pichillancahue Glacier - Transvolcanic Trail
Distance: ~45 km (5 to 6 hours)
Bike the trails and hills of the southern Pacific Coast this morning in Parque Oncol. Lunch with the indigenous Pilunkura, then explore the medicinal forests of the Mapuche. Tonight: local brews and local pub fare.
Head to the city of Valdivia by the Pacific Ocean this morning - then onward to the entrance of Parque Oncol. Climb on your bike and head up one of the tallest hills of the coastal range. It's about 7km to the peak. Then it's a fun 8km descent all the way to Pilolcura Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy lunch with the local community of indigenous Lafquenche people, the Pilunkura. Big smiles and delicious local food! After lunch, hike with them along the coastal forest trails, considered a reservoir of Mapuche medicinal herbs. Check into the Diego de Almagro Hotel to clean up, then head to the most famous micro-brewery in Chile - Kunstmann Brewery - for local beers and local pub fare.
Route: Pacific Coast - Valdivian Jungle - Parque Oncol - Pilolcura
Distance: ~15 km (3 hours)
Ride through the 3,000-year-old larch forests of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve.
Explore the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, a conservation project developed by the U.S.'s Nature Conservancy. Ferry across the delta from Niebla to Corral, then drive a section of the Coastal Route to the river Chaihuin. Meet your local guides, then bike an amazing, ancient forest of 3,000-year-old larch trees. Back in Valdivia, dinner's on your own tonight. Ask your guides for insight about where to shop or dine. Stay a second night here at the Diego de Almagro Hotel.
Route: Reserva Costera Valdiviana - the Nature Conservancy Land Trust
Distance: ~40 km (6 hours)
Today: the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve and the route of the TransAndes Challenge.
Back in the van this morning, transfer 3 hours to the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve. Today, ride a section of a multi-day mountain bike race called TransAndes Challenge. Begin riding this amazing trail from the recreational area of the reserve. Ride the trail through native forest towards Pampa of Pilmaiquen. From there, follow an old logging road that was a major escape route for the rebels fighting Pinochet's dictatorship in 1973. Abandoned for almost 30 years, this road is now accessible only by bike or 4x4. It's been renamed the Enchanted Valley, and its trails are quite demanding even for an avid biker. From the road, follow a trail that parallels the shore of Pirihueico Lake all the way to a guanaco conservation area (watch for these elegant animals with their cinnamon coats and grey ears.) Head to the village for an afternoon at the Lawenko Spa and dinner at the Nothofagus Hotel and Spa. Stay here tonight.
Distance: ~30 km (4 hours)
Last day: climb the trails up to phenomenal views of Mocho and Choshuenco Volcanoes, then head down for a farewell dinner.
Another amazing day today. Ride from the recreational area of the reserve across the native forest to the Mocho-Choshuenco National Reserve. Pedal until the road tops out at 1,800 m altitude (5,905 ft) then hop onto the singletrack towards Mocho Volcano (2,422 meters). After about 4 hours of climbing, take a break on a high plateau next to Mocho and soak up the awe-inspiring views of the Choshuenco Volcano right next door. It's the perfect lunch stop. Afterward, head down to the valley that links both volcanoes. This breathtaking landscape overlooks a string of massive volcanoes lining the border between Argentina and Chile. Back at the hotel, relax at the Lawenko Spa and get ready for tonight's farewell dinner.
Route: Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve - Mocho Volcano
Distance: ~35 km (6 hours)
Breakfast, farewell, and off to the airport.
Sadly, it’s time to say good-bye to the beautiful Lake & Volcano District of Chile. After breakfast, we'll shuttle you back to Temuco Airport to catch your flight to Santiago and then home.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.