Savor the Beauty of Patagonia With the Newly Unveiled 1,700-mile Route of the Parks Trail

The Moeraki Boulders, originally formed in sea floor sediments about 60 million years ago, are large spherical “stones” scattered on Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coast. They are actually concretions that have been exposed through shoreline erosion from coastal cliffs that back the beach. Each boulder weighs several tons and is up to 6 feet high.
Despite its stunningly beautiful structures that are still standing, it would take a lot of cash to rebuild this Italian town 40 miles south of Genoa. It would also require tinkering with Mother Earth. The real reason only about 600 people live here is that everyone else fled during the 1950s—due to the serious threat of landslides and coastal erosion.

a view of a snow covered mountain: chile-mountain-ranges© Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
chile-mountain-ranges

Want to hit the road less traveled? How about the Route of the Parks—a brand-new trail coursing through Chile’s Patagonia mountain range?

The 1,700-mile long route extends from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn and connects 17 national parks throughout Chile, according to the BBC.

In 2017, Douglas Tompkins, the late co-founder of The North Face, and his wife Kristine donated the land to the government of Chile via Tompkins Conservation—their organization, which creates national parks, helps endangered wildlife, and reinstates local ecology through activism efforts.

“We want Chile to be internationally recognised for having the most spectacular scenic route in the world, and thus become a benchmark for economic development based on conservation,” Carolina Morgado, the executive director at Tompkins Conservation, told BBC.

a man standing in front of a mountain: View of Cuernos del Paine Mountains from Salto Grande trail with hikers in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

At the time, the new land donation created five new national parks and expanded other national parks in Chile. Now, their efforts have helped “expand Chile’s national park lands by nearly 40 percent and provides protection for pumas, condors, flamingos and endangered deer species native to the region,” according to The New York Times.

The website for the new trail has a detailed map of where the exact route will go, including areas of interest along the trail.

Heading to Chile? Here are some essentials guides, must-have gear, and can’t-miss attractions:

How to Get to Chile’s Most Beautiful Natural Attraction

Getting Lost in Chile’s Brand New National Park

The Ultimate Camping and Hiking Gear Guide

The Essentials: 5 Must-Have Items for Hikers

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