Cerro Castillo 4 Day Trekking

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.

Cerro Castillo National Reserve Entrance Fee Ranger Station

Trailhead Ranger Station

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.

Cerro Castillo Trek Cow


Cerro Castillo River

Along the river

Cerro Castillo River Crossing

Ankle deep and cold river crossings

Cerro Castillo Trekking through Rio Turbio Valley

Entering Rio Turbio Valley

Cerro Castillo Trekking Rio Turbio Valley

Rio Turbio Valley

Cerro Castillo Trekking Camping Rio Turbio

Camping in the woods

Cerro Castillo Trekking Rio Turbio Night Sky

Night Sky over Rio Turbio

Day 2 – Camping Rio Turbio to Camping La Tetera

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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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Rio Turbio Valley Mountains

Rio Turbio Valley Mountains, Photo: J.Ruszkiewicz

Cerro Castillo Trekking Wooden Bridge

Small wooden helpers along the way

Cerro Castillo Trekking Waterfall

Wannabe waterfall

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking El Penon Pass

Valley view from El Penon Pass, Photo: J. Ruszkiewicz

Cerro Castillo Trekking El Penon Pass Snow

Passing El Pennon on snow

Cerro Castillo Trekking Selfie

Rulers over Cerro Castillo

Cerro Castillo Trekking El Penon Pass

The other side of El Penon 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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking to Camping La Tetera

On the way up to Camping La Tetera

Cerro Castillo Trekking Waterfall

Cerro Castillo Waterfall

Cerro Castillo Trekking Stars Night Sky Longexposure

Night Sky over Cerro Castillo, 300s long exposure

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Ice on Tent

Our frozen tent “Cerro Ice Castillo”

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!

Cerro Castillo Trekking Trangia toasting bread

Boling water and toasting bread with Trangia, Photo: J. Ruszkiewicz

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Tent Laguna Castillo

Wind exposed camping spot above Laguna Castillo (not recommended)

Cerro Castillo Trekking Laguna Castillo

Turquoise Laguna Castillo

Laguna Castillo and Cerro Castillo

Laguna and Cerro Castillo

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Valley View General Carrer Lake

Valley views down to the General Carrer Lake

Cerro Castillo Trekking Distant Mountain Range Panorama

Feeling small in the world, Photo: J. Ruszkiewicz

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Descent

Get down, on the rocks

Cerro Castillo Trekking Happy Views

Happy Trekking

Cerro Castillo Trekking Descent to Campamento Porteadores

Descending to Campamento Porteadores

Cerro Castillo Trekking Nap

Need a nap, Photo: J. Ruszkiewicz

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Trail Campamento Neozelandes

The trail to Campamento Neozelandes

Cerro Castillo Trekking Trail Campamento Neozelandes

Nice river nearby, Photo: J. Ruszkiewicz

Cerro Castillo Trekking Campamento Neozelandes Night

Camping under trees and stars

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.

Cerro Castillo Trekking Morning Coffee

Jo is into Mountain Morning Coffee

Cerro Castillo Trekking Highpoint

A long way down/up

Cerro Castillo Trekking Road back to Villa Cerro Castillo

Looking back from below

Cerro Castillo Trekking Bienvenido Sign

Just great and highly recommended!


  • Louis S.

    Thank you for the great post! My wife and I are planning to do the trek the last week of December this year and would love to get your advice. What were the most challenging parts and any advice on navigating those parts? If you knew what you know now about the trek, what would you have done / packed differently? We are not very experienced with having to trek with all the camping gear so any suggestions are much appreciated! Thank you!

    • Hallo Matt. The path was ocassionally marked with metal signs and paint. A GPS route on your phone is a good thing to have, try maps.me and/or wikiloc. We found the descend on day 3 from the laguna castillo to be most exhausting, it is stony and not as well marked. Check the mountain weather forecast for sub zero temp, especially for camp La Tetera, we froze pretty well that night. If you find a spot pitch your tent inside the little forrest and protect it from the possibly cold wind. Try to pack light, 10kg. Our camp gear was tent, materace, sleeping bag, alkohol cooker, pans, food for 4 days. We didn’t bring hiking poles. Let me know if that helps.

  • Louis S.

    Michael, thank you for all the info! Did you see other trekkers on the trails and at the campsites or were you pretty much on your own the whole time? Were there rangers stationed at the campsites? What did you do for water for the 4 days?
    Thank you for your time !

    • We met a guy right from the start, later there were many more on the campsites. There are other paths leading to Cerro Castillo so probably you won’t be alone. We have seen two ranger stations but seen only one ranger to whom we paid the park entrance fee. We drank from clear water streams, never had any problems.

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