Part 1 of our March 2018 return to Patagonia to explore and hike the Aysén region between Coyhaique and Cochrane in Chile. This part covers the rugged drive along the Carretera Austral (Route 7) from Balmaceda to Cochrane, and multiple days of hiking in the picturesque Valle Chacabuco and newly formed Patagonia National Park.
In March 2018, we returned to Patagonia to explore and hike the Aysén region between Coyhaique and Cochrane in Chile. We spent a week in Bariloche last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, but wanted to explore more on the Chilean side this time around. Our trip included the rugged drive along the Carretera Austral (Route 7) and hiking in the Cerro Castillo and Patagonia National Parks.
After visiting Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands on previous long fall weekends, Bryce Canyon called to us as the next destination. I had fond memories of visiting Bryce as a child, and Kyle had never been. Despite both of us having colds, we enjoyed three days of hiking in Bryce and a stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument on the way back to the airport.
We recently returned from a fantastic ten-day hike of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Switzerland, and Italy. We’ll eventually add detailed posts about the actual hike, but we want to share some notes on planning the trip and logistics with our trip fresh in our minds.
For the final part of our trip to the Picos de Europa, we spent three days day hiking near Camarmeña and Poncebos. This included hikes to Cares Gorge, Bulnes and Jou de los Cabrones, and Ondón.
On our trip to the Picos de Europa, rain turned our planned day hike around the Lagos de Covadonga into a short walk. We augmented it with stops in historic Covadonga and at a queseria in Arenas de Cabrales.
The Central Massif of the Picos de Europa contains a mix of steep-sided canyons and ravines, green pastures, limestone peaks, and rocky, barren landscapes. To start our hiking in the Picos de Europa, we went for a three-day, two-night tour of the Central Massif. From Fuente Dé, we hiked to Refugio de Urriellu below the spectacular Naranjo de Bulnes, then to Refugio Collado Jermoso, and finally back to Fuente Dé. Despite encountering thunderstorms, rain, and snow, we loved the spectacular scenery.
Bilbao made for a great stopover on the way to the Picos de Europa. We could recover from jet lag while wandering the riverside, exploring the Guggenheim Bilbao, and eating excellent food. Rental car pick up at the train station made it easy to head out toward the Picos the next day.
In June and July 2017, we spent a week hiking in Spain’s spectacular Picos de Europa. The jagged limestone peaks, verdant green pastures, delicious food, and a pleasant stop in Bilbao made for a fantastic trip.
Read below for our notes on planning a trip, getting around, and where to stay, or jump right into our description of the trip:
- Bilbao and the drive to Espinama
- A three-day, two-night hike on the Central Massif
- A rainy stop in Covadonga and Arenas de Cabrales
- Hikes from Camarmeña, including the Cares Gorge, back up to the Central Massif, and a bit of the Western Massif
Friends are visiting Seattle from late June to early July. They recently asked:
I was wondering if there were a few places that you could recommend for some epic hiking. Your flickr account is filled with gorgeous photos of spots that are easy to get to from Seattle, so deciding based on photos seems daunting. We’re thinking of doing three days of hiking (and we’d stay in a cabin overnight) in one or two locations. We’ll have a rental car also. We’re just looking for gorgeous scenery, and up to a moderate level of hiking difficulty. Are there 4 or 5 favorite hikes that fit this that you’d recommend?
This is a challenging time for planning a hiking trip. Some years, the northwest will have warmed up months earlier and the snow will be gone. Other years, many of our favorite trails may still be covered in snow. So, unless you are prepared to deal with snow, you need a base with some different options. There are a few that should fit that bill. Read on for some suggestions of where to stay and corresponding hikes, in both the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.