5 day Trekking tour to the summit of the Descabezado Grande volcano on 3830m

Level of difficulty: Difficult, day hikes of 6 – 9 hours / Summit day 10 -13 hours
Ascent is possible from December to April


Day 1:
Departure at 7:00AM at your Hotel / Hostal or the Plaza de Armas. After 1.5 hours we will arrive at Vilches Alto where our Arriero (muleteer) waits with the horses for our backpacks. After we store our backpacks we will start hiking and will arrive around 4 hours later at the Valle de Venado viewpoint (1800m alt.) where we will have the first glimpse of our target, the beheaded volcano Descabezado Grande.
After a short rest we hike down 700m to the inside of the Valle de Venado,  then on to the Conaf Refugio where we will pitch our tents.

Day 2:
Today’s target are the hot springs at the base of the volcano (1900m alt.).
It will take around 6 hours for the shortest stage of the whole tour where we have to cross the river two times and we will have plenty of time to relax in the hot springs. It is the perfect way to prepare for the summit day. (Don’t forget your towel)
The volcano is now only 6.5km linear distance away.

Day 3: (Summit day)
At 4:30AM in the darkness we will start hiking, due to it being a 9 – 10 hr ascent. Strong flashlights, possibly headlamps, are absolutely essential. After a fantastic sunrise and with every vertical meter the view will become more stunning.
After 75% of the ascent we can look inside the neighboring active stratovolcano crater Quizapú on the Cerro Azul volcano, who’s eruption in 1932 sent up an ash cloud that reached South Africa. It was one of the biggest eruptions in the last century.
After 9 –10 hours we will reach the edge of the Descabezado Grande crater (3830m alt.) and enjoy the fantastic panoramic views.
We need less than half of the time for the way back to the camp-ground where we will stay another night and recover from the stress of the day.

Day 4:
Today we hike back on the same way where we came from, passing the Refugio and into the Valle de Venado.
At the point where we reached the 700 vertical meters ascent, we will remain in the valley and after 30 minutes will arrive at the beautiful located “Velo de la Novia” waterfall where we will pitch our tents for the last night.

Day 5:
Directly at the beginning of the day we are in for the hike of 700 vertical meters. After the summit hike this will appear as if it is just a small hill walk.
With a last view we will say good bye to the volcano and will hiking around 3.5 hours down to Vilches Alto, and back to Talca.

The tour includes:

  • Transfers
  • Guide
  • Arriero (Sherpa) with horses for the backpacks
  • Entrance fees
  • Trekking sticks
  • Camping mat
  • Tent
  • Cooker, dishes and gas
  • Food
  • A call home via satellite phone from the summit 🙂

Briefing of the tour is on the evening before.

Not including:

  • Sleeping bag (can be rent)

You have to bring obligatory:

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Rain-, wind proofed and warm clothes (even in summer)
  • Sandals for the river crossing
  • Flashlight, possibly headlamp
  • Gloves
  • Fleece hat or similar
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Good Physical condition
  • Don’t forget the towel for the hot springs

Technical data


2 persons:                    $590.000 CHP / person
3 persons:                    $560.000 CHP / person
4 or more persons:       $540.000 CHP / person