Concrete jungle? Despite being a big city, Santiago is a great city to experience nature with a nice weather and close to the mountains. This is just a summary of natural parks and hiking trails to trek for you to research more in the specifics because there’s so much information that they are worth an article for each place.
Paths right next to the city
One of the things impress people about Santiago is that you can see big (and during winter also snowy) mountains reigning over the city. Currently Santiago is situated right next to a mountain range. It’s where the Andes begin from the east. We call it “precordillera“. It’s official name is Sierra de Ramón. Now, can you go visit it? Of course, there are several pathways in that area you can go to:
- Aguas de Ramón Natural Park
- Parque Mahuida
- Quebrada de Macul
- Bosque Panul
- Mount Manquehue
- Mount Pochoco
Aguas de Ramón
It’s a park located in Las Condes and managed by Asociación Parque Cordillera. The access is located at Alvaro Casanova 2583 at the end of Onofre Jarpa street. The entrance is CLP $3.000 or $2.000 for students and kids.
This park is located in La Reina at the end of Fernando Castillo Velasco Av. and it’s closer to public transportation. There’s a farm with animals and some outdoor sports. Inside the park, you can have a picnic (although the use of fire is not allowed starting January 2020) or start a hike to reach Cerro (mount) La Cruz. Check their fees here but usually it’s CLP$500 for pedestrians, CLP$1.000 for cyclists and CLP$3.500 for cars.
Quebrada de Macul
Located in Peñalolén (south of La Reina) it’s at the end of Diagonal Las Torres (near UAI university) it’s free and pets are not allowed (most of these parks don’t allow them). This place is managed by the local municipality.
Further south in La Florida there is Bosque Panul (or Panul forest). It’s a Sclerophyll forest that’s open but this one is not really a mountain park, but a beautiful place in the mountains that’s been at risk of being wiped out due to real estate interests. There are animals and unique trees. You won’t feel like you are in a 6 million people city. The network of ecodefenders of the forest made a beautiful website about Bosque Panul.
This is a quite popular area for trekkers but its most well known access was closed and thus it’s not as easy but the easiest access is located in Lo Barnechea commune at the end of El Golf de Manquehue (Monte Schoenstatt) Source.
What if you want something more interesting, try these mountain hikes. Most of them are hikes which start from the already mentioned trails:
- Cerro Pochoco (cerro means mount or hill)
- Cerro Provincia
- Cerro La Cruz (it’s the longer hiking trail starting in Parque Mahuida)
- Cerro Alto Las Vizcachas
Pochoco is a well known mountain hike in Santiago which is a low difficulty one. Getting there is pretty straightforward. You get to San Enrique Square and take a colectivo taxi to Cerro Pochoco. The area is free to access.
Provincia is a farther hike since it’s already in Farellones road. It’s the only one so far that’s not really accessible using public transportation and its access (Puente Ñilhue Natural Park) is managed by Asociación Parque Cordillera. At the time I wrote this article this park was closed. If you wanna take the route to Cerro Provincia you have to get there before 9 AM! I suggest that you check their Facebook just to be sure about openings.
Parque San Carlos de Apoquindo (Cerro Alto de Las Vizcachas)
It’s accessible from San Carlos de Apoquindo Park and Aguas de Ramón but usually people would use the first route (at the end of Camino Las Flores after the stadium). A recommended trail to see the snow in the winter or to bike around. You can camp in the park. The camping and entrance is CLP $3.000 Source.
Going further away
There are other areas that aren’t so close to the city that you could also visit like:
- Glaciar El Morado (San José de Maipo)
- El Roble (Tiltil)
- La Campana National Park (Olmué / Hijuelas)
- Parque Andino Juncal (San Esteban, Los Andes)
I’ll talk about them later because I wanna make an article about Cajón del Maipo and La Campana (it’s a huge park).
There’s a lot of information about these routes but almost all of it in Spanish. When I found a source in English those were usually tour operators. Good sources for this article were: