Hiking at El Morado

Just a couple hours outside of Santiago near the border with Argentina is one of the most beautiful areas of Chile, Cajón del Maipo. It’s a mountainous area with some volcanoes and lots of colorful natural beauty.

Volcano evacuation route at El Volcán

Volcano evacuation route

Mike was in town for a few days with a friend, Kim, and they convinced me to come on a hike with them. Their target was El Morado and the San Francisco Glacier. It would be a six hour, twelve mile hike. To coordinate this trek, Mike hired Pedro from http://www.fueguinos.cl/.

I stayed the night at their hotel and Pedro picked us up at 6:45am. We made a quick stop for some water and snacks, and then it was a good two hour ride to the village of El Volcán where we had breakfast and coffee. The coffee was definitely necessary because I was only on three hours of sleep.

After breakfast, we made a 20 minute drive to the beginning of the El Morado trail. Pedro started us on the trail at 10am.

Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Cajón del Maipo

The beginning of the trail was the most difficult uphill part, and it really wasn’t very difficult. After the “difficult” part, it was pretty much flat the whole way. Along the way, Pedro showed us where to get the best photos, and told us stories and gave information about the mountains. He also did a great job of taking photos of our group for the day.

One of my favorite photo spots of the day at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

One of my favorite photo spots of the day

Me on the trail at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Me on the trail

El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

El Morado

El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

El Morado

During the hike, we saw wild horses grazing, natural springs, and changing colors on the mountains as the sun passed over.

Wild horses at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Wild horses

Mike drinking from a natural spring at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Mike drinking from a natural spring

The changing colors of the mountain near the end of the day at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

The changing colors of the mountain near the end of the day

When we reached a small lake, we stopped for lunch that Pedro had packed for us – a sandwich, juice box, banana, salad, and chocolate. It was a good amount of food and I couldn’t finish it all. We then sat and had a rest before continuing on the trail to the glacier.

Our scenic lunch spot at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Our scenic lunch spot

He joined us for lunch at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

He joined us for lunch

About 45 minutes later, we reached the San Francisco Glacier. Because of the danger of falling rocks and crevasses, we were only allowed to continue to the edge of the glacier. The water flowing from the glacier was fast and furious, and when I dipped my hand into it, it was ice cold. We took a few pictures and returned to the trail to head back.

San Francisco Glacier at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

San Francisco Glacier

Mike at the edge of the glacier at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Mike at the edge of the glacier

A memorial for an American killed on the glacier at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

A memorial for an American killed on the glacier

We made it back to the beginning of the trail at around 4pm and congratulated each other on surviving. Pedro then drove us to San José de Maipo for celebratory empanadas and beer before taking us back to Santiago. We were dropped off at the hotel at around 7:30pm.

Mike celebrating at the end of the hike at El Morado, Cajón del Maipo, Chile

Mike celebrating at the end of the hike

It was a really enjoyable day, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Pedro’s help and expertise in guiding. We could tell he really loved guiding people and the natural beauty of Cajón del Maipo. He friendly and enthusiastic and always had a smile on his face. He also did a great job with picking us up, packing our lunches, and coordinating the entire day. I would highly recommend hiring Pedro as a guide if you have a desire to go on a spectacular hike in Chile. Contact him and enquire about pricing.

Pedro – ¡Muchas gracias por un día maravilloso!

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