Daily Cycling Kilometers Carretera Austral

by | Jul 6, 2024 | Blog, Daily Cycling Kilometers Carretera Austral | 0 comments

The distance a cyclist might cover each day on the Carretera Austral can vary widely based on several factors, including the cyclist’s fitness level, weather conditions, the weight of their gear, and the specific sections of the route they are tackling.

On average, many cyclists aim to cover between 50 to 100 kilometers (31 to 62 miles) per day. However, some may cover more or less depending on the factors mentioned above. The total length of the Carretera Austral is approximately 1,240 kilometers (770 miles), so the duration of the trip can also vary significantly.

Here are a few considerations:

Terrain and Road Conditions: The road is a mix of paved and gravel sections, with varying levels of difficulty.

Weather: Rain, wind, and other weather conditions can impact daily distances.

Stops and Sights: Many cyclists take time to explore the beautiful natural attractions along the way like kayaking, trekking, fishing and many more.

Personal Pace: Some cyclists prefer a leisurely pace with frequent stops, while others might push for longer distances each day.


Bicycle fanatic or not, the route has a number of very steep peaks and there are still many kilometers with unpaved road.

Moreover, remember what we have been telling you: it is so nice that it is a shame to race past it.

A famous saying in Patagonia says “Quien se apura en la Patagonia, pierde su tiempo” (Whoever goes too fast in Patagonia, wastes his time).

Cycle touring fits seamlessly with the received wisdom of exploring Patagonia slowly, it will lead you to magical moments immersed in nature and camping in quiet idyllic isolation.

Cycle like  Wile E. Coyote who never gives up, no matter how many times you feel your legs will fail and have no energy left, dont cycle too fast, take your time to rest and admire, and remember you dont have to catch the Road Runner.

             Terrain in Carretera Austral:

Paved Roads: First sectionof Carretera Austral is almost paved and offer smoother riding.

Gravel Roads: Second half of Carretera Austral is mostly unpaved, consisting of gravel or dirt, which can be more challenging, particularly in wet conditions.

Mountain Passes and Valleys.

The route winds through the Andes, featuring numerous mountain passes and deep valleys. This means significant elevation changes and stunning panoramic views.
Expect steep climbs and descents as you cycle.

The road cuts through lush temperate rainforests, and you’ll often be riding alongside rivers and fjords, adding to the scenic beauty but also potentially creating muddy and slippery conditions.

Remote and Rugged:

Many sections are isolated, with limited access to services and supplies, requiring careful planning and self-sufficiency.

General Tips for Tackling Ascents

Gear Ratios: Ensure your bike has appropriate gearing for steep climbs. A lower gear ratio will make it easier to handle the gradients.

Pacing: Take a steady, manageable pace to avoid burnout, especially on longer ascents.

Hydration and Nutrition: Stay well-hydrated and carry enough food to keep your energy levels up during the climbs.

Weather: Weather can change rapidly, so be prepared for rain, wind, and temperature drops, especially at higher elevations.

Physical Preparation: Be in good physical condition and consider training on similar gradients before tackling these climbs.

Cycling the Carretera Austral is a physically demanding but incredibly rewarding experience, offering some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in Patagonia.

              Cuestas (Steep Hills/Slopes)

The term “cuestas” refers to steep hills or slopes in Chile, which are prominent features along the Carretera Austral.

Here are some of the notable peak ascents along the route:

1. Cuesta Queulat
Location: Near Puyuhuapi in the Queulat National Park.
Highlights: The climb is steep and offers incredible views of the Queulat Hanging Glacier (Ventisquero Colgante) and the lush temperate rainforest. The ascent can be tough due to the gradient and often wet, slippery conditions.

2. Cuesta Moraga
Location: Near Villa Cerro Castillo.
Highlights: This ascent features sharp switchbacks and provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and the picturesque Ibáñez River Valley. The climb is demanding but rewarding, with the dramatic scenery of Cerro Castillo.

3. Cuesta del Diablo

Location: Near Chaitén.
Highlights: Known for its steep gradients, this climb offers views of the rugged and dramatic landscapes around Chaitén. The road here can be rough, adding to the challenge.

4. Cuesta El Maitén
Location: Between Cochrane and Villa O’Higgins.
Highlights: This cuesta is particularly challenging due to its steep gradients and rough surfaces. The ascent is strenuous, but the views of the Patagonian wilderness and the sense of remoteness make it worthwhile.

5. Cuesta de Piedra del Gato
Location: South of Puerto Cisnes.
Highlights: This climb is not as steep as some others but still challenging. It offers beautiful views of the Cisnes River and the surrounding mountains.

6. Paso de las Llaves
Location: Between Coyhaique and Villa Cerro Castillo.

Highlights: This ascent is characterized by its long, steady climb. It offers expansive views of the Patagonian steppe and the Andes.