Trail Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2000'
Terrain Rating: Moderate
Hike In: 12:02PM
Hike Out: 3:38PM
Trailhead: Enter the town of Baños Morales and look for signs to El Morado National Park. From Santiago, it is about 2.5 hours.
Route: Only one trail!
El Morado National Park is about 2.5 hours outside of Santiago. There is a $4 entrance fee to get in, and the park is only open from 8:30AM-6:30PM. This hike is known for the San Francisco Glacier, but we did not go all the way to the glacier because it's summer in Chile and the glacier does not look that impressive. There is a nice view of the Andes Mountains however, so it's well worth the hike to the Lagoon.
Do I need to hire a tour guide? NO.
You definitely do not need a tour guide if you have gone hiking before. My friend & I do not speak Spanish, and we found the trailhead without issues. All you need is a GPS, a rental car, and you're all set! There is really nothing in this terrain that warrants a guide.
The hike starts off at an official hut, where you pay the park entrance fee. The trail is very well marked, as there is only one trail there and back. The terrain itself can be characterized by small rocks and sand. It was a quick 3.5 miles to the lagoon, where we stopped for some snacks, before we turned around and headed back to the car. Overall, it was a nice hike if you are looking for a getaway from the city of Santiago.
- 1L of water
- Lots of energy bars
- Shorts, non-cotton tshirt
- Salomon hiking boots and socks
- Windbreaker (definitely bring a windbreaker. Even though it was 80 degrees and sunny in Santiago, it was quite windy in the Andes)
- Emergency gear
*You might be wondering why I'm not writing about my trip to the W Trek. Long story short, American Airlines is a horrible airline and I will not be flying with them again. Note: if you are flying through Miami, do not check your luggage. AA in Miami has a horrible reputation for losing luggage. And, they won't give you any compensation when they leave you stranded for 48 hours at an airport without housing!