A hidden route in the Rio Bio Bio region in Chile for you to explore on your bicycle. As long as you love volcanos, pushing your bike up steep hills and crossing knee-dep rivers you should put this one on your bucket list.
After cycling through the Volcanic Lake district region most cyclists end up in Curacautin and choose either to cycle the boring PanAm Highway 5 or cycle towards Argentina and Las Lajas. We saw a tiny dotted route on our map along the Bio Bio river and thought we should check it out! And so should you!
Starting point is the tiny village of Lonquimay where you can get groceries for the next couple of days. A rough, sandy and hilly ride brings you to the Bio Bio river that we followed for about 60 kilometers. It’s up and down on this section mostly at an elevation at around 900 meters. We enjoyed river views with tall trees along the track, tiny settlements and nearly no traffic.
When we reached a large bridge, we noticed that the main road (R-785) crosses the Rio Bio Bio. At this point we took a right turn on a rarely used track and the obsticles began! After a couple of hundred meters we first hit a narrow and dark tunnel. Barely wide enough for a car! Followed by a large gate where the private track starts and not far from this point we set up our first camp in the woods.
The pushing starts, the track makes a turns for the worse; very rocky and steep. At parts we have to push one bike at a time! It takes us about 7 hours to do only 15 kilometers! It’s nothing more than a steep dirt track and we see absolutely no cars or people for that matter. We cross an unknown pass and have to walk down, since the steep track is full of loose sand and rocks. Totally exhausted we hit the bottom of the valley where the grass is green and small streams flow, a great place to pitch our tent for a second night.
We wake up with a blue sky and the sun low at the horizon. We see different tracks, but follow the one that leads down to the river. No bridge, nothing. We scout for a good place to cross the freezing waters. There’s nothing on the other side, but we keep pushing until we reach a better track, passing a tiny village. After one more steep push we can enjoy a long downhill back to the Rio Bio Bio, where the up and down starts again! Our treat that evening is a camp site with hot springs to soak our tired bodies in! From here it’s a long day ride to the big city of Los Angeles and in between are a few towns to shop for groceries.
Distance: 233 km
Total Ascent: 3681m
High Point: 1256m
If you ever ride this track, please let us know your story and leave a comment below!