Welcome to Río Cochamó Valley
With its impressive granite domes rising above the verdant canopy and colossal alerce trees dominating the rainforest, some tout the spectacular Río Cochamó Valley as the Chilean Yosemite. Near here, the glacial waters of the Lakes District give way to the salt waters of the 80km Estero de Reloncaví, a fjord that forms the gateway to Northern Patagonia. The region's popularity, however, has exploded in recent years – originally with rock climbers, as there are more than 300 climbs and six full-day hikes, but more recently with campers. This evolution that has turned the valley into a bit of a student-driven party scene in high season (so much so that the carabineros recently employed a drug-sniffing dog at the trailhead). The area is indeed a beautiful spot worthy of multiple days; and controls have been implemented to curb the growth and negative environmental impact. But Yosemite comparisons, perhaps inevitably, rang a little too true here.