Cerro Castillo National Park is located in the Aysén Region of southern Chile, along the Carretera Austral. Named after the magnificent Cerro Castillo peak, its unique landscape contains hanging glaciers that form lagoons with bright turquoise waters.
Cerro Castillo is located in the Aysén Region of southern Chile. Its magnificent rocky peak rises 2,675 m (8,776 ft) asl. This imposing castle of rock and ice is among the highest in the Patagonian Andes.
Situated approximately 75 km (46 mi) south of the city of Coyhaique, the majestic mountain dominates the landscape with its small glaciers, snowdrifts and blue lagoons.
Cerro Castillo National Park
Cerro Castillo National Park is located south of Coyhaique, along the Carretera Austral. Established in 1970 as a National Reserve, in 2017 a decree was signed changing its category to National Park. Its total area is 138,164 ha (341,410 acres).
The National Park is named after the magnificent Cerro Castillo peak. Its unique landscape contains hanging glaciers that form lagoons with bright turquoise waters. Notable lagoons include Laguna Cerro Castillo and Laguna Chiguay.
It is made up of three independent sectors:
- Lake Elizalde
- Lake Paloma
- Cerro Castillo
The northern portion of the park is part of the Aisén River basin and the southern portion is included in the Ibáñez River basin.
Cerro Castillo National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800-km (1,700-mi) "Route of Parks of Patagonia" that stretches from Puerto Montt in the north to Cape Horn in the south. Spanning 17 national parks, the Route of Parks encompasses one-third of Chile and protects over 11.8 million hectares (28 million acres).
Cerro Castillo National Park stems from an agreement signed between the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation in March 2017. It establishes the creation of five new national parks:
Kawésqar National Park (an extension of the Alacalufes National Reserve)
Cerro Castillo National Park
and the extension of three others:
Chile's Route of Parks map - Thompson Conservation
The area surrounding the mountain contains a trekking circuit that has been named one of the most beautiful in all of Chile. The 53.5 km (33.2 mi) Las Horquetas Trail System includes circuits of low, medium and high difficulty, durations of between 1.5 hours and 7 hours, and lengths of 2.5 to 15.5 km (1.5 to 9.5 mi).
Deciduous forests make up much of the National Park. However, five different vegetation types can be found here:
- Andean Antiboreal Desert
- Temperate Mediterranean Steppe
- Andean Temperate Deciduous Forest
- Andean Temperate Evergreen Forest
- Vegas and Wetlands
The Lenga and Ñirre forests are home to Huemules or South Andean Deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) an endangered species of deer native to the mountains of Argentina and Chile.
Also protected within the National Park are the Puma (Felis concolor) the Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) the Patagonian Chingue (Conepatus humboldti) and the CulpeoFfox or zorro colorado (Pseudalopex culpaeus), among others.
Notable birds that inhabit the area are the Austral Parakeet, the Andean Condor, Thorn-Tailed Rayadito, the Magellanic Woodpecker, the Chucao and the Magellanic Tapaculo.