Cueva del Milodón
Cueva del Milodón (Mylodon Cave) is a natural monument conformed of 3 caves in the austral region of Chile, where the remains of a Mylodon, a large extinct sloth, were found in 1895 by the settler Eberhard Hermann.This caves are very appealing to tourists, due to being the place of discovery of these remains plus the beautiful scenery surrounding the caves. This natural monument is only 27 km away from Puerto Natales, the starting point of the journey to Torres del Paine. A must-see destination if you are either planning to do the Torres del Paine circuit or just happen to be in Puerto Natales.Share this destination:
AccessFrom Puerto Natales take route 9 towards the north for 17 km, till you get to the Milodón-Cerro Castillo fork. At this point turn left to route Y-290, and finally advance 8 km to the entrance and parking space of the Cueva del Milodón natural monument.You can get to the natural monument by car, taxi or bicycle. Taxis have a fixed fare for this ride, costing around CLP 15.000 (round-trip). If you are motivated, you can rent a bicycle, in which case it takes around 2 hrs to the entrance of the natural monument, where you will find parking slots for bicycles. Renting a bike for this excursion has a cost of around CLP 6.000 (5 hrs).The entrance fee is, in high season, CLP 4.000 for foreign adults.The HikeThe Cueva del Milodón natural monument has a series of trails, being the Cueva Grande trail the most popular. The Cueva Grande (big cave) trail leads to the biggest of the three caves, where the remains of the Mylodon where found and where now stands a full-size replica of a Mylodon. This trail has an expected time of 1 hour. Most people just do this trail.
However, we recommend to do all the trails, since they present beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding flora and fauna. The Mirador trail has an expected time of 45 min and the Cuevas y Aleros trail 3 to 4 hrs. The trails have a low difficulty; they are not physically demanding and are well signposted.Bicycle RouteAs mentioned before, it is possible to reach Mylodon Cave by bicycle. The road to the natural monument is well kept and the panoramic views along the way are breathtaking. The outward journey takes around 2 hrs, time that can vary depending on your physical condition and the wind (strong headwind can turn the trip into a real challenge). The return journey has an average time of 1,5 hrs, since it is mostly downhill.
After reaching the natural monument and overcoming one last and tiring steep section of the road, you will be able to park your bicycle at the entrance and rest. Although you can't do the Cueva Grande and Mirador trails on a bicycle, it is possible to do so in the Cuevas y Aleros trail. The best thing to do is to park your bicycle, walk the Cueva Grande and Mirador trails first, and then pick up your bicycle and do the Cuevas y Aleros trail (which will reduce significantly its expected time). The bicycle route to the Mylodon Cave is tiring and challenging, but it is also without a doubt a more rewarding and memorable experience. Get ready and go for it on your next trip to Puerto Natales!
Additional HikeAs an additional hike, you can do the hike to Lago Sofía (marked in blue on the map), bordering Benítez hill on its northern side. The hike takes about 2 hrs. This trail is not well signposted.