These trips depart from the village of Futaleufu from our working ranch or lodge. You will be spending time on the trail and staying in guest bedrooms at our working rustic ranches. A camping option allows you to bring your own sleeping bag, tent and pad and camp at the ranch yet enjoy the comfort of eating dinner and supper inside. We will return to the village at the end of the trip.
Our Patagonia Ranch Ride is a spectacular horseback riding circuit through the lakes, rivers, and old growth forests of the Futaleufu River valley. This horseback ride circumnavigates the core of the untouched Futaleufu Valley, exposing you to Patagonian nature in all of its wild splendor. In addition we stay at real working ranches run by pioneer families that are sprinkled along the rivers and lakes of the valley. The accommodations are rustic country but clean, sanitary and cozy. Our Chilean hosts are selected and trained by Expediciones Chile.
Eating your hearty meals around the wood stove you will gain insight to a way of life that is similar to the frontier days of the American west. This cultural and natural experience can not be matched anywhere. This vacation is the Real Deal. The valley contains lots of exciting history from the days the pioneers settled it and many are still alive. As the trip progress's you realize you are getting to understand this remote section of Patagonia and its people. This is a very unique horseback riding vacation.
Day 1: Arrival and introductions
Arrive in Santiago to start your vacation and connect to Puerto Montt. In Puerto Montt you board your 40-minute flight to Chaitén, a flight back in time. We will meet you at the airport where we start our drive across the Andes. You will see: volcanoes, fjord-like lakes, hanging glaciers and the turquoise rapids of the Futaleufu river. We arrive in Futaleufu and are taken directly to our working ranch. You will be met with wine and cheese by the Baeza family around the fire place.
Day 2: Orientation to the horses
We sleep in late and after breakfast we walk to the barn for an introduction to your horse. We make sure all your tack fits well and ride off for a half day ride to Piedra de Aguila and the rock outcropping overlook. We return to the ranch for a dinner in the family native log dining room.
Day 3: Rio Escalas Valley
We will horseback ride along the Infierno gorge a black rock canyon of the Futaleufu river as we view the agitated turquoise water 500 feet below. The trail enters the open Las Escalas valley. Riding along the river we then cross it on a wood and cable swinging bridge to our accommodations at a isolated family ranch. We eat dinner as the sun sets on the peaks above while the sound of the river rolling by relaxes us.
Day 4: Rio Azul Valley
After breakfast we cross back over the river on the swinging bridge and head downstream to view the most furious rapid on the river, the Throne Room. This Class 5+ rapid is a whitewater powerstorm blasting through a narrowing in the canayon walls.
After viewing this maelstrom from a cliff above we have a lunch on a gravel beach on the side of huge calm pool below. This is a fishing opportunity. After lunch the first 500 yards we get get off of our horses to walk them over a very difficult portion of the trail cut into the side of the gorge while the river picks up speed 100 feet below. We then arrive at our ranch at the confluence of the two rivers underneath the tres monjas peak. This is perhaps the climax of beauty in the valley and it is where we will stay.
Day 5: Lago Lonconao
We ride up the glacier ringed Rio Azul valley to a heavily forested trail behind Lonconao lake. This lake offers great fishing, views and lunch spot. We stay at a ranch hidden on the far side of the lake.
Day 6: Rio Espolon & Futaleufu Pueblo
After breakfast we depart towards another mountain lake Lago Espolon. Here the Espolon drains it and plunges over a huge and violent cascade. After viewing this at the over look we ride down the side of the Espolon river where white sand beaches wait for us to swim in the transparent waters of the Espolon. We return to our ranch in Futaleufu
Day 7: Day off
Day off: This is a day to enjoy the culture of the village, shopping, culture, hiking, fishing or visiting the beach on the Rio Espolon. Our last night we will have a special fiesta at our Ranch at the edge of town.
Day 8: Farewell breakfast & departure
Wake up for an early breakfast and drive back to Chaitén. As you catch a final view of the Río Futaleufu; surrounded by hanging glaciers, take a moment to reflect upon all of the amazing sights and experiences of last week. After all these years we are still stunned that views like these exist. Fly to Puerto Montt, Santiago and onward towards home.
Included: Round trip airfare between Puerto Montt and Chaiten all transport to and from Futaleufu from Chaiten. All meals, lodging, guides, horses, tack, & equestrian gear while riding with us.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Chile Outdoor: Land Rambler Horse Riding