Chile opens spectacular 1,700-mile trail, connecting 17 national parks

Chile has opened a massive new hiking trail that spans a third of the country and connects 17 national parks. The new hiking route through the region of Patagonia, starts from Puerto Montt all the way to Cape Horn. The route comprises three already existing hiking trails and links them into one contiguous route.

The land was donated to the Chilean government by Tompkins Conservation, an organization founded by American billionaire and North Face and Esprit founder Douglas Tompkins and his wife. After the tragic death of Tompkins, his widow donated 408,000 hectares of land to the Chilean government with the purpose of creating five new parks.

Tompkins Conservation donated 408 thousand hectares for the creation of 5 new national parks (Pumalin Douglas Tompkins, Melimoyu, Cerro Castillo, Patagonia and Kawesqar and the expansion of 3 others (Hornopiren, Corcovado, Magdalena Island). To achieve this, the state of Chile incorporated in turn 995 thousand hectares of fiscal lands, in addition to reclassifying 2.2 million hectares of reserves to National Parks.

These new National Parks, added to the existing ones, give rise to the Route of the Parks of Patagonia: 11.5 million hectares protected in 17 national parks, equivalent to almost 3 times the size of Switzerland and more than twice the size of Costa Delicious.

The new trail encompasses three existing hiking routes – the Southern Way, the Patagonian channels, and the End of the World Route – according to its website.

The trail includes 24 different ecosystems where visitors can see 140 different bird species, many of which are endangered, alongside 46 different mammal species. All details about the different trails and accommodation facilities can be checked through the official website.