The Unexplored Cochamó Valley
The Cochamó Valley is a unspoilt u-shaped valley in the Andes located in the Los Lagos region of Chile. The valley is strikingly similar to the Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, with its granite domes and ancient forests. Like Yosemite, the Cochamó Valley is a rock climbing haven, with granite walls rising up to 1,000 meters into the sky. That being said though it is also a vast unexplored paradise for experienced and adventurous hikers as the trails are not marked, the route is challenging and the landscape is simply breath-taking.
The hiking trails through this unspoilt area carry up through northern Patagonia and hikers are rewarded with incredible granite rock walls at La Junta, stunning waterfalls throughout but especially Arcos, ancient Alerce forests and the magical Lake Vidal Gormaz. The trail, now over 100 years old, still remains wild with the thin winding trails washed away with each rainy season. Originally the trail was used to ship cattle from Argentina through Paso El León to the town of Cochamó. Even the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, while hiding out in Argentina drove their own cattle down to Cochamó to be sold.
The valley is a dense temperate rainforest with trees over 1,000 years old and undergrowth that has not felt human footsteps. Here you can also find wild boar, pudú (a very small and rare deer) and even rarer puma inhabiting the upper slopes. The valley itself has passed down through 3 generations of landowners and mainly used for free range cattle and trout fishing. The main activities in this valley are mountain hiking for the experienced and rock climbing for those that wants to push their limits. The best way to explore this extraordinary valley is my organised tour on horseback or guided hiking with a local expert.
Residents of this beautiful valley are fighting hard to keep this an unspoilt place. Large-scale logging exploitation and hydro-electric companies continue to threaten the balance, but local residents banded together every time to ban plans to expand into this region. Today the Cochamó River is protected by the government for tourism and we hope for many years to come.
Nature is Imagination