In early February 2018 we hitchhiked from Villa Cerro Castillo to the trailhead of the Cerro Castillo trek in Las Horquetas. A signpost at national reserve park entrance reminded us of the 5000 pesos per person entrance fee. In the small house right after the fence, a ranger was waiting for us.
Day 1 – Trailhead to Camping Rio Turbio
After filling and signing the form “statement of responsibility trails of Cerro Castillo national reserve” we were advised by the ranger about the up to date details of the trek. The first day was quite long, 16.07 km but very easy. We walked on well-marked dirt roads, bypassing cows, crossing ankle deep streams and walking mostly through woods until camping Rio Turbio. Meanwhile, it started to rain and got much colder.
Day 2 – Camping Rio Turbio to Camping La Tetera
During the first 4,5km of the total 12,3km on the second-day trekking, we ascended towards the El Penon pass, walked through woods and bypassed smaller waterfalls.
El Penon Pass
El Penon pass turned out to be the highlight of the day. To our surprise we found ourselves walking on snow for half an hour while passing the highest point (1676m). Another treat was the stunning panoramic view down the valley from both sides of the pass.
After a 4 km descend from El Penon we got to the lowest point. From there it was another 3,3 km hike up to Camping La Tetera. Nearer was Camping El Bosque but we liked to get further up in order to reach Laguna Cerro Castillo earlier on the next day.
Day 3 – Camping La Tetera to Campamento Neozelandes
Overnight the temperature fell below zero. We had put on all of our clothes in order to stay warm and get the sleep we needed. On the next morning, our tent was still frozen from the outside. In order to pack it, I had to scratch the ice off first.
Our trusty Trangia alcohol cooker showed some new skills on that cold morning. While boiling water it simultaneously warmed/toasted our breakfast bread from below, genial!
Laguna & Cerro Castillo
Day three started with a short ascend towards Laguna Castillo. A magnificent place where we spend at least one hour to make photographs and take in the tranquil scenery.
Just a bit higher up the hill, a wide panoramic view presented us the whole valley below Cerro Castillo. We could see deep down until Puerto Ibanez and the General Carrera Lake.
Descend to Campamento Porteadores
A long and steep descend on rocks followed the stunning views. We had watch carefully not to miss the trail in between the big same colored rock field. Eventually, we got down to the tree line where we continued descending more smoothly to Campamento Porteadores.
From Campamento Porteadores it was a short hike up to our day goal, Campamento Neozelandes. We pitched the tent, walked up to the nearby river for water and lastly went sleeping under the trees.
Day 4 – Campamento Neozelandes to Villa Cerro Castillo
We slept longer than usual because the last day was going to be much smoother compared to the days before. After morning breakfast and coffee we walked all the way back to Campamento Porteadores. From there the trail continued descending right into a private, barb wired cow/horse ranch area. From there it was a straight even 6 km long walk to Villa Cerro Castillo.