Bikepacking Chile: The Lakes District & Reserva Huilo Huilo

  • Distance

    126 Mi.

    (203 KM)
  • Days

    4

  • % Unpaved

    75%

  • % Singletrack

    25%

  • Difficulty (1-10)

    5

  • % Rideable (time)

    99%

  • Total Ascent

    9,636'

    (2,937 M)
  • High Point

    2,700'

    (823 M)
Twelve years ago, the main bridge on this back road from Lago Ranco to Neltume fell down. As the rainforest engulfs the old road, gauchos have maintained a singletrack through this remote corner of the Chilean Lakes District.
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The Chilean Lakes District is often overlooked by travellers who are lured to the more famous Ruta de los Siete Lagos across the border in Argentina. But, the Chilean side forgoes Argentina’s tourist-packed highways, offering a dirt cyclist’s paradise. This route travels quiet dirt roads and trails past clear lakes, pristine trout-filled rivers, towering volcanoes, hotsprings, and lush rainforests.

UPDATE: The front gate to the Huilo Huilo Ecological Reserve at Neltume might not let cyclists through without a guide. We have heard mixed reports. For this reason, we recommend doing some research in advance. The same goes for those tackling this route from south to north. Southbound cyclists might try entering the reserve via a gated entrance near Puerto Fuy.
  • Highlights

    camera

  • Must Know

    alert

  • Camping

    home

  • Food/H2O

    drop

  • The ride is on horse trails and volcanic pumice two-tracks through the Reserva Huilo Huilo.
  • Swimming in pristine lakes and rivers in summer months.
  • Consuming sweet and savoury pastries, craft beer, fine chilean wines, and other local specialities in every village.
  • Catching trout in the Rio Pillanlenfu.
  • Taking a day off to explore the mountain bike trails around Neltume.
  • The route described here requires two challenging crossings of a knee- to waist-high river. According to locals, it might be possible to skip the crossing at the northern end of the single track on a foot bridge.
  • The front gate to the Huilo Huilo Ecological Reserve at Neltume might not let cyclists through without a guide. We have heard mixed reports.  For this reason, we recommend doing some research in advance. The same goes for those tackling this route from south to north. Southbound cyclists might try entering the reserve via a gated entrance near Puerto Fuy.
  • Besides military topo maps, the best maps for cycling in Chile are the series of 1:400,000 waterproof maps available at many Copec petrol stations. Map #6 covers this area.
  • Reliable GPS road and topographic maps fare available from proyectomapear.com.ar for free.
  • There are multiple established campgrounds in most towns in this part of Chile, including all towns and villages on this route.
  • Wild camping is possible in Reserva Huilo Huilo.
  • Rooms or cabins can be rented in Lago Ranco, Llifén, Neltume, and Coñaripe.
  • Food is available in Lago Ranco, Llifén, Neltume, and Coñaripe.
  • Resupply opportunities are one or two days apart.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on BIKEPACKING.com, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. BIKEPACKING.com LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.