New ways to explore the amazing landscapes in our country keep appearing. We told you before about the E-Bike and Overland, now we will tell you about the boom in gravel bikes and where you can enjoy them in Chile.
Adventure cycling enthusiasts have always faced the difficulty of unpaved roads, where unevenness and elements that can affect traditional bikes appear. Due to the wish to circulate on gravel or dirt paths with agility, gravel bikes emerged.
Gravel Bike: adventure cycling without limits
Although similar to route bikes in their curved handlebars, gravel bikes are more resistant, and both their frame and wheels are adapted for their use outside asphalt.
On average, gravel bikes use 700×35 to 700×40 mm wheels. Due to them being designed to use on adventures, they have different threads to put baggage on such as bags, bottle cages, or carrying racks.
They also often have disc brakes and MTB pedals. The most advanced models are single disc, although you can also find models with two discs, ideal for those that are starting on this new way of pedaling.
Gravel bike at Conguillio National Park
A perfect destination to do gravel bike in Chile is Conguillio National Park, in the Araucanía Region, whose natural surroundings and gravel roads will make you feel the adrenaline and appreciate the beauty of the south.
There are diverse ways to get to the park. The most usual path is via Curacautín, where you must travel 10 km on asphalt and another 32 km on gravel to enter. Meanwhile, the southern entrance considers 9 km from Melipeuco to the Truful Truful daycare, where there are 20 km to Conguillio Lake.
If your starting point is at the Araucanía Airport in Freire, you must travel 30 km north to Temuco and then travel other 57 km towards the Andes Mountain range to arrive at Cherquenco village in Vilcún. A 50-km gravel path will lead you to the park from there.
Photo: Sernatur audiovisual bank.
Sierra Nevada Trail
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Conguillio National Park has different trails you can travel on your gravel bike. We recommend the Sierra Nevada, of medium difficulty and an 11.7 km long roundtrip.
The path is full of majestic monkey-puzzle trees and there you will appreciate the endemic fauna in the area, made up of animals such as the monito del monte, Darwin’s frog, black woodpecker, chucao, and cougar.
The trail starts at Conguillio Lake, crosses a native forest and finishes at a viewpoint to Llaima and Sierra Nevada volcanoes, where you can take photos and store away a magic memory in the middle of the amazing nature from.
The park also has kayak and boat services, food sale, cabin rental, camping, and picnic areas.
Gravel bike Tours
There are tour operators that go on gravel bike tours through the Conguillio National Park. Most of them operate during summertime (from October to April) and include both the bikes as well as the protective equipment. Remember to prefer services registered with Sernatur.
You can even find gravel bike tours all over the area, which will take you to amazing places such as Pucón, Villarrica, Caburgua Lake, and Kutralkura Geopark.