Day 5: Lago Chico

Today we went on a hike called Lago Chico. It had been recommended to us since we arrived because it isn’t too challenging, and has constant great views. We started with our morning routine and met Mica when it was time to head out.

The drive took about an hour and 15 minutes. This hike is currently pretty exclusive because the park is technically closed. Only Explora staff and guests are allowed to enter. The weather was perfect and we started walking along the path on the east side of Lago Chico with views of Mt. Oportus.

Sendero Lago Chico by Cerro Oportus

Looking west over Lago Cochrane

Lago Chico

The landscape on this side of the lake was covered in short spiky bushes that made the ground look bumpy. As we walked along the length of Lago Chico, we were treated with views of Lake Cochrane, a large lake that spans from Cochrane in Chile to Argentina (though they call it Lago Pueyrredón).

Amid the fun green spikey plants

Shoreline of Lago Chico (some glaciers on that mountain in the distance)

Lago Chico with Cerro Oportus

Clear waters

As we approached the halfway mark of the hike, we stopped for lunch in a spot that overlooked Cochrane Lake. Mica pointed out the peninsula that marks the border separating Chile and Argentina, as well as a second small lake at the very end with a teal hue. We enjoyed the view for a while as we ate.

Lunchtime view into Argentina (southeast)

Hello Roberto!

Continuing on, we looped to the west side of Lago Chico. The landscape on this side was noticeably different than the east side with lots of tall grass that eventually led into a forest area. There were also more inclines on this side.

Back toward Cerro Oportus

Probably know this one by now

When we reached the end of the loop, we were surprised with a shelter that overlooked Lake Cochrane and the Andes mountains. It was even clear enough for us to see the glaciers on top of mountains in the distance. We had our celebratory drinks and snacks before heading back to the hotel. In total, the hike was 7.3 miles with 1,370 feet of elevation gain.

Hiding from the wind at the Thompkins lookout

Last view of Lake Cochrane

On our way, our driver spotted a humule, an endangered Andean deer. There are only 150 or so in Patagonia National Park. After watching for a while, we noticed a second humule, which appeared to be about 6 months old. Mica also found more exciting mushrooms both along the hike and on our drive back.

No joke, the guides here take fungi VERY seriously

Must be cool!

We got back with enough time to plan our exploration for tomorrow (kayaking!) and relax for a little while before going to the spa to soak in the hot tub. Tomorrow will be slightly different with a full day that starts with kayaking in the morning and a hike to get back.

Jacuzzi time

2 Comments on “Day 5: Lago Chico”

  1. Wow! Looks like great weather although we can’t see the wind in the photos! The views are stunning and the photos are wonderful. Lucky you, you got to see those hummele (sp?). And your suite looks awfully nice to come back to. Since the fungi are so treasured(and I assume they don’t encourage picking them in the park – lol!), does the lodge menu include those that are edible? Can’t wait to see your hike tomorrow!

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