"The Greater Patagonian trail is not an official trail that was planned and set up by a government agency. It’s better: it’s a compilation of the most beautiful and diverse hiking and horse trails, minor roads and cross country sections through the Patagonian Andes selected by a passionate hiker." - Jan Dudeck
That passionate hiker, Jan Dudeck, has come back year after year since 2013 with his partner, Meylin, to form what is now known as the Greater Patagonian Trail. The trail is constantly growing and to date, it is now around 3,000 km long and goes all the way from Santiago to Glacier Viedma in Argentina. The hope is to make the trail go to the southern tip of South America making it one of the longest and most wild treks in the world.
The best part about the trail is that it wasn't created by any organization with financial incentives or other motives. This is simply one hiker looking to create a trail for other hikers. It's made up of horse trails, dirt roads, footpaths and other ways of traversing through the Patagonian Andes. The last consideration for the trail is a road with any type of traffic meaning this trail is about as remote as it gets! It's currently made up of roughly 33 sections with the most documented being Sections 1-18. Each section lasts around 2-10 days and 35km - 150km. The trail passes through temperate forests, mountain passes, snow-capped volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, pristine lakes and everything in between. It is one of the most diverse and unique trails not only in South America, but quite possibly the whole world.
The trail is called the "Greater Patagonian" trail because a good portion of the trail is not actually within the official boundaries of Patagonia. The first sections hug the borderline of Argentina and Chile and are about 100 km or less from the technical boundaries of Patagonia. The beginning sections are the ones that are most ignored though and which set the stage for the trail.
Another very interesting and unique aspect of the trail is that it can also be done in a combination of pack-raft and hiking. There are many pack-raft options along the trail, especially farther south, that can be combined with hiking to access even more remote areas and explore the beauty of the landscape via boat. This adds another element to the adventure and is something that is lacking in most other long distance treks.
Also, the great thing about this trek is that anyone can do it! It does not require technical capabilities or anything "special", just physical and mental determination. Since the trail is so remote though, it does require a fair amount of logistical planning and making sure you know exactly what your getting into. These might not be most people's idea of a "trail"!
For our journey, since it is nearly impossible to do all sections in one summer season, we have decided to skip some sections in order to capture as much of this area as we possibly can. We will also be strictly hiking until Section 12 and then will start pack-rafting in order to mix things up a bit and really experience everything the trail has to offer. Our hope is to document the trail and this region to the best of our abilities and really show what Patagonia and the surrounding areas are all about.
We would like to give a HUGE thanks to Jan Dudeck for his help in planning our adventure and overall for creating this trail. All the above information was taken from his wiki site below:
This site really dives into details of the trail and gives everything you need to know if you're considering taking on this adventure. Without his help and this site, this documentary wouldn't be possible.
Lastly, we would like to stress the "Leave No Trace" policy as it's the most important thing while hiking. If you are considering doing this trek or any other trek for that matter, PLEASE make sure you are aware of local rules/regulations and stick to the "Leave No Trace" mentality. We cannot afford to lose these wild places and it is our responsibility to make sure they stay as untouched and beautiful as they are today.
Thanks so much for following our journey into Patagonia and we hope your excited as we are to see what the rest of the trail has in store for us!