The Lake District: Autumn Leaves, Asphalt and a Volcano

As the days grow gradually cooler Autumn leaves gather on the ground. A daily reminder that winter slowly approaches.

Autumn Leaves

It is a slow spin out of Trevelin in to strong head winds and squalls of rain in Los Alerces National Park.

Los Alerces National Park

Feeling unwell I slow things down and ride some shorter days, seeking sanctuary and warmth inside for a couple of evenings after weeks spent camping. A chance to warm the bones and recharge the batteries.

Rain and low cloud hang in the valley giving the surrounding hills a moody feel.


Storms gather by night, each morning I wake to find the hills coated in a fresh dusting of snow.

More snow

Day by day snow draws further down the hillside.


Leaving Los Alerces National Park blue skies signal an end to unsettled weather. In need of some easy kilometers I take the tarmac to El Bolson and on to Bariloche resting for a few days in each. Promises of heavy traffic are unfounded as Argentinian tourists are now back at work after their summer holidays to the region.

Blue skies

By a chance encounter I spend another evening in the company of Simon and Olivia in El Bolson, and then find them leaving Bariloche at the same time. We ride 30kms out of town and wish each other safe travels.

Simon looses the race to the line in a photo finish.

Simon and Olivia

The Siete Lagos route through the Argentinian Lake District provides a few easy and care free days riding. With 7 lakes you would naturally expect fine lakeside views.

Lago Falkner providing a plesant lunch stop.

Lago Falkner

Even the occasional waterfall.


And some company.

Andreas and I first met some months ago crossing the Magellan Strait. Despite being over a week in front of him leaving El Chalten, with over a week resting and relaxing he eventually catches me up in Bariloche.


We leave San Martin De Los Andes in search of ripio. After a lung bursting climb its a welcome to return to the gravel.

Andreas and a lake

National Park Lanin offers super smooth ripio and an array of beautiful Autumnal colours.

National Park Lanin

Lakes are framed through the canopy.

Lake Views

Stops are frequent to admire the Autumnal colours.


The trails are quiet except for the sound of leaves rustling under our tyres.

Wooded Trails

And rustle they do. Barely a leaf left on the trees.

Wooded Trails

All too soon we are back in Chile.


An officious border control sees us empty each bag of its contents. We ride late in to the evening in search of a camping spot. Still the sunset more than makes up for the delay and confiscated food stuffs.

National Park Villarica

Riding through Villarica National Park the trail snakes through dense forest.


With so much good riding; Whats not to like?

Whats not to like?

Rough descents….

Rough Descents

Polarise opinions…


Singularly one of my best days riding so far. Andreas begs to differ, declaring it one of his worst days riding.

Its easy to understand why, equipped with everything but the kitchen sink its more Panzer tank than touring bike that he rides. A quick swap of steeds leaves him drooling over Mara.

Now back to the downhill. Things get rocky…


Picking up the tarmac we arrive in Pucon under darkness. Despite divided opinions, differences are put aside and we spend a day climbing Volcan Villarica.

Our guide Rodrigo looking cool in the chilly morning temperatures.


It’s a busy day. Every one equipped with their plastic sleds for the glissade descent from the volcano. Dropping 1,400m in less than 30 minutes.


But first you need to top out, there are celebrations to be had on top on the volcano.


Along with choking fumes and sulphurous gases.


And exceptional views. With almost 6,000 volcanoes Chile is a veritable feast of volcanic cones and lava.



Trevelin – Los Alerces National Park – El Bolson – Bariloche – Villa Angostura – San Martin De Los Andes – National Park Lanin – Carrahue – Conaripe – National Park Villarica – Pucon


  1. Chris

    Gorgeous. Your recent posts, along with Cass’ blog, have convinced me that I need to make my way to South America in the not too distant future. I love the photos from the volcano; such a contrast to those autumn colours.

  2. Mike

    Do it Chris! There is some great riding to be had down here. I’ve merely scratched the surface of this region.

    Just remember to head south. Only crazy people seemingly ride north 😉

  3. Allan

    Mike- Really enjoying your blog and photos.

    My wife and I have traveled throughout Chile, but not by bike. I think we turned around our rented 4×4 after giving up on driving that exact same rutted road (the one you travelled in Villa Rica national park — we found it again on the Pucon side and it made for a nice day hike).

    We have our touring bikes now, so we’re watching your posts to see where we need to ride on our next visit!

    • Mike

      It would have made a very interesting drive in a 4×4! It was the most rutted road I’ve ridden on my trip.

  4. Aurora

    I agree with Chris! I am totally inspired to ride South America — though, I think I’ll head south! 🙂
    Beautiful pictures – thanks for letting me live vicariously through you for now!

    • Mike

      The pleasure and the pain is all mine!

    • Aurora

      Ha. Don’t tell me about the pain yet! let me live in my delusional fantasy world for a bit longer!!!! 🙂

  5. Cass

    Fantastic photos! That trail, and those colours, look sublime!


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