Surrounded by beautiful looming mountains, the city of Santiago, Chile is home to world renown trekking, skiing, and mountain biking. Among the numerous valleys, rivers, and glaciers of the Andes lies El Morado, a mountain reserve located in the Cordillera close to the town of San Jose de Maipo. This day trek from Santiago takes […]
Surrounded by beautiful looming mountains, the city of Santiago, Chile is home to world renown trekking, skiing, and mountain biking. Among the numerous valleys, rivers, and glaciers of the Andes lies El Morado, a mountain reserve located in the Cordillera close to the town of San Jose de Maipo.
This day trek from Santiago takes you to the awe-inspiring San Francisco Glacier surrounded by a 360º view of the snow-capped Andean peaks. The reserve is maintained by the Chilean National Forest Corporation, or CONAF, in order to ensure safe, secure and easy accessibility to protected wild areas.
Below you will find information about what you’ll expect when booking a tour to El Morado as well as how to plan a trip there yourself.
If you choose Keteka for your Andes Day Trek from Santiago, you’ll start your day with an 8AM hotel-pick-up. The trip takes two hours, leaving plenty of time to have a nap in the car or take in the surrounding scenery. On the way there, your guide will stop in San Jose de Maipo for you and your group to enjoy a glorious Chilean breakfast.
Upon arrival to the trailhead, you’ll begin your trek to El Morado Glacier. The hike takes approximately 3 hours. The trail climbs steadily along a river valley with beautiful green scenery. Along the way your guide will teach you more about the fauna and flora of the area as well as some of the stories this area holds. You’ll pass by the small lake Laguna Morales and then arrive at the base of the glacier. There, taking in views of the glacier, you’ll have time to relax and enjoy some snacks.
After returning to the van, the drive back will take another 2 hours back to Santiago. On the way back, you’ll notice many small houses and farms selling cheese, honey, nuts, and eggs on the side of the road – all home-grown. If you want to buy any local food products to take back with you be sure to ask your guide to make a quick stop.
Take a look at our El Morado Glacier Trek with Andean Hot Springs and relax after your hike in the thermal waters of the Baños Colinas hot springs.
If you are more of an independent traveler you may be opting to plan your own trek to El Morado without a guide. You’ll first need to make your way to the park entrance near Baños Morales. The trailhead is located 93 km from the city send via route G-25 that runs through Cajon del Maipo.
We recommend renting a 4×4 car for the trip, as you’ll be able to also visit one of the small towns in Cajon de Maipo as well as the hot springs. In the summer months, it is also possible to the reach the park through public transit via Bus #72 located at the Metrobus Terminal Bellavista de la Florida. The bus leaves at 7:00 am so you’ll need to leave early.
Once you arrive at the park, pay the $5 USD entry fee, register yourself with the park rangers, and start your hike! The trail is well-marked and easy to follow to the lookout point for El Morado Glacier. During the winter months, if there is a lot of snowfall before your hike, you’ll need to find and rent some snowshoes for the trek.
Afterwards, relax and enjoy some local food in the small town of San Jose de Maipo. The town is the largest in Cajon del Maipo and has quite a number of good restaurants.
Summer Season (October to April): 08:30 to 13:00 (exit the park until 18:00)
Winter Season (May to September): 8:30 to 12:30 (exit the park until 17:00)
San Jose de Maipo is located inside a 120 km wide volcanic arc. The arc comprises of basins and volcanoes that extend between Argentina and Chile. Inside the arc lies three compound volcanoes: Tupungato, Marmolejo, and Maipo. At the glacier, you will see the process of glaciation within the Andes. In fact, El Morado is so well preserved it has been known to carry fossil fauna that dates back to +150 million years.
Overall, when in Santiago, it is an absolute must to discover the natural beauty of the Andes mountain range. Enjoy panorama of snow-capped peaks and glacier in El Morado Reserve and enjoy this Andes day trek from Santiago, Chile.