San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Hike Cerro Toco

2.5 Miles Total - 1312.3 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Lauren Schusterman

Hike up a volcano towering above 18,000 ft with stunning views into Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

While there is not a huge elevation gain with this hike, the elevation should not be taken lightly. While not absolutely necessary, it is best if you do several hikes at slightly lower elevations before tackling Cerro Toco. There is nothing technically difficult about this hike, but again, the elevation is challenging and can be dangerous which is something to keep in mind.  

The "parking lot" is at around 17,000 ft. From the parking lot the trail begins with a gradual uphill slope over mixed dirt and scree surfaces. After this section there is a steeper section leading up to a ridge from which you can see into Bolivia. From this point this is a very short flat section before you begin the steeper hike up to the summit. Throughout the hike there is usually one distinct trail however in some sections there may be several small paths but they should all go in the same direction. 

From the summit you'll have 360 degree views of the desert with the stunning Laguna Blanca in Bolivia, and towering Licancabur (19,400 ft volcano) on the Bolivia-Chile border. 

On the way down, some of the steeper sections can be pretty slippery, and so it may be easiest to go down by stepping sideways or by "skiing" through the scree.  The ascent will take around 1.5-3 hours depending on your pace and the descent will take around .5-2 hours. 

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