Richard Harwood

Chile - 2001

Valle de la Luna

Valle de la Luna

The Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) has been described as one of those "must see" locations in northern Chile. Guide books recommend that, if possible, the valley should be seen by the light of a full Moon. We didn't have such luck as the Moon was not full during our stay in San Pedro de Atacama. I hiked this trail on the afternoon of November 25th. The hike actually began in the late afternoon. This was timed so that we would arrive at the ridge overlooking the valley at sunset. Much of the hike, prior to arriving at the ridge, was very similar to the Kari Gorge hike. Salt flats, salt deposits, gully erosion, Cordillera de la Sal, and the San Pedro Formation rock layers were all essentially the same as the formations and deposits seen in Kari Gorge. There were differences. The trail didn't follow a narrow gorge for most of the trail. There were more open, flat areas. And there were different forms of erosion and deposition than were observed in the Kari Gorge, including sand dunes and mudcracks.