The Route of the Parks of Patagonia is a brand new trail to add to the bucket list of adventurous hikers and naturalists everywhere.

The 2800-kilometre trek linking seventeen of the country's most beautiful national parks.

It stretches from Puerto Montt in the northern Lake District down to the Tierra del Fuego and Chile's gateway to Antarctica.

That's the equivalent of hiking New Zealand's west coast Heaphy Track twenty times.

Advertisement
Guanco: The new route follows land donated by Tompkin Conservation. Photo / Alex Lupu, Getty Images
Guanco: The new route follows land donated by Tompkin Conservation. Photo / Alex Lupu, Getty Images

It might not be the largest trail in the world ( that honour goes to the 24,000 kilometre Trans Canada Trail) however it's possibly the most scenic.

The route encompasses millions of hectares of protected landscapes, crossing glacial lakes and the backbone of the Andes.

Integrating some of Chile's most famous routes such as the Carretera Austral, it was made possible by the expansion of the country's national parks.

In 2017, Tompkins Conservation Chile donated large swathes of land to the Chilean state. This lead to 2.2million hectare expansion of land set aside for conservation. It was enough to create five new national parks – the Cerro Castillo, Alacalufe, Pumalin, Melimoyu and Patagonia national parks.

It's a route that leads through grasslands, mountains and glaciers and gives hikers the chance to spot some of the unique wildlife such as the Andean Condor, Guanco Llamas and flightless Rhea.

Rewilding: A Rhea crosses the Torres Del Paine. Photo / Adrian Wojcik, Getty Images
Rewilding: A Rhea crosses the Torres Del Paine. Photo / Adrian Wojcik, Getty Images

This expansion of state protected land couldn't come at a more critical time.

As Patagonia sees a boom in tourism and agriculture, the Tompkins conservation plan showed huge foresight in protecting the landscape.

It was founded in the 2004 to start the process of 'rewilding' a landscape that had undergone extensive grazing by sheep and cattle ranches.

Since the 222,000-acre property was turned over to the state, it has become part of Chile's national parks and now this world-class route.

Between 10 and 25 per cent rise in tourists year on year, Chile is emerging as a future tourism destination.

Flight of the Condor: Los Glaciares National Park. Photo / Manuel Romaris, Getty Images
Flight of the Condor: Los Glaciares National Park. Photo / Manuel Romaris, Getty Images

The new parks and this hiking trail are part of making sure there is still some of this majestic Patagonian landscape is protected for future generations.

For more details and further information on amenities, route maps and transportation the Route of the Parks website has been collecting a set of resources for trekkers www.rutadelosparques.org