In January and February, many events take place in Chilean Patagonia, from festivals celebrating traditional customs to sporting activities.
One of such is The Huemul Route, an annual celebration of the conservation of the southern Andean deer, a native Chilean mammal in danger of extinction.
The Huemul Route is organized by the municipal district of Cochrane every year at the end of January. It consists of a 30-kilometer hike through part of Patagonia National Park and Tamango National Reserve.
The circuit takes two days, and each participant needs to carry everything for one-night camping. It’s an outdoor recreational activity in which adults and children, accompanied by an adult, can participate. Learn more about what the experience is like with
The event aims at raising awareness and promoting the care and protection of the huemul, an animal represented on Chile’s coat of arms, which inhabits the region. There’s a significant population of this Chilean deer on the shores of Lake Cochrane, so there’s a high possibility of seeing them during the hike.
There are also many cultural activities that enrich this celebration like films, talks, music, dance, and traditional food.
In general, participants divide into different groups that are led by guides who know the area.
What to take on the Huemul Route?
- Light clothing for walking. We advise taking a windbreaker and parka with you too, as temperatures drop sharply in the evening
- Trekking shoes, as the organization, won’t allow you to hike in trainers.
- A camping backpack to take all the things needed to stay overnight, such as a tent, sleeping bag, gas stove, and food. It’s also recommendable to bring a change of clothing, comfortable shoes, toiletries, cutlery, and plates.
- Other useful things are a flashlight, nylon flies to cover the tent, insect repellent, and a water bottle. However, given that participants carry their own stuff, it’s essential that you travel light.
There’s now a winter version of this event in July. However, it takes greater physical effort, and everyone needs to carry on the necessary equipment, including sticks, snowshoes, and gaiters. It’s also only for over 18-year-olds.
So, if you want to enjoy this activity with children or prefer a more leisurely hike, we recommend you do this circuit in summer.
If you’re looking for a non-competitive, family sport, the Huemul Route is an excellent option. In addition to experiencing beautiful landscapes, you will also learn about the conservation of this rare mammal and enjoy outdoor life.