Patagonia, the dream of every adventurous spirit:
Alberto Maria de Agostini, Eric Schipton, Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, even the modern ones like Reinhold Messner and Alex Honnold know that sooner rather than later, they will have to set foot in the Terra Australis area.
Indigenous people like the Selknam, Aonikenk or the Kawéskar inhabited these lands. Gauchos and Baqueanos, explorers and investors came to these lands, then adventurers and climbers and cyclists.
Gravel del Fuego makes a journey that starts in Puerto Natales (Natalis), goes north to visit Villa Cerro Castillo, Magallanes, to enter through Laguna Amarga to Torres del Paine National Park. It goes through a gravel road giving a complete crossing of the Paine Mountain Range, with sightings of the best quality of the Torres del Paine (North, Central and South), Cerro Almirante Nieto (2440 masl), Cuernos del Paine and the maximum king with its eternal glacier plateau; Cerro Paine Grande with its summit of 3050 masl. Then you return to Natales through the western exit of the park, through the Villa Serrano sector. This road will pass by the entrance of the Milodon Cave, a distinctive animal of the area. Then you go straight south to turn east along steppe or pampas roads that will test your mettle as you skirt the national border between Chile and Argentina. You will then pass through the entrance to one of the least visited national parks in the country, Pali Aike, with a collection of volcanoes and “Maares” that were active 15,000 years ago. You will visit the town of San Gregorio, a historical landmark of the southern sheep ranching thanks to the pioneer José Menéndez. A special moment will be when you cross the Strait of Magellan through its narrowest part: Punta Delgada, you will cross the barge that will finally take you to the mythical Tierra del Fuego. A crossing to Porvenir, to get into the little known Cordon Baquedano, a little known tourist area of gold mining until today. You will arrive at the private King Penguin Park, which has one of the most coveted and beautiful birds in the world. You will visit the magnanimous sport fishing lake Lago Blanco, and finally roll through the giant esplanade of Pampa Guanaco, to reach the millenary forest of Tierra del Fuego, definitive sign of the birth of the mountains that approach the Cordillera Darwin, which is today the least explored mountain range of what is left in the world.
It will be autumn throughout southern Patagonia, and the reddish-colored lenga trees of the Isla Grande will be giving you a blanket of unimagined landscapes, in one of the most sought-after but least visited areas by tourists coming to Chile. Then, before seeing the impressive Deseado Lake, you will make your first switchback climb that will leave you with exhausted breath, but with a happy heart for what awaits you in the high views. A descent and the longest and most beautiful switchback you have ever done to descend extensively towards Lago Fagnano, 25 kilometers further, you will cross the source of the Azopardo River and profile towards the longed-for “End of the Trail”, the glorious goal of Gravel del Fuego.