Step into the Ice Age: Mylodon Cave with Kids

For a family day trip near Puerto Natales that combines fun and education, the Mylodon Cave Natural Monument is an excellent choice. Located just 30 minutes from the town, this historical site is not only famous for the gigantic Mylodon that once made its home there but also serves as the starting point for several family-friendly walks including the Hike to Sofia Lake Viewpoint which offer spectacular vistas of the area. Visiting the Mylodon Cave with kids is a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical intrigue, and outdoor activity, and is ideal for a family looking to explore the region’s wonders.

We had an incredible day here with our daughters and along side Catedral de Mármol and Cueva de las Manos; it was one of the educational highlights of our time in Patagonia.

Mylodon Cave with Kids
Georgia and Eva taking in the view from the Sofia Lake Viewpoint

Getting To Mylodon Cave With Kids

The journey to the cave is a straightforward 25-minute drive from Puerto Natales, taking you along well-maintained tarmac roads. It is situated on the Y-290 and is signposted Monumento Natural Cueva del Milodon. It also fits nicely at the end of our Ultimate Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids if you are heading out of the national park with some spare energy!

Visiting Mylodon Cave Natural Monument

The Monumento Natural Cueva del Milodón shows the history of the nomadic Kawésqar people who made their home in the area for 6000 years before the arrival of Europeans, who essentially wiped them out. However, the cave is more famous for the discovery of preserved remains of the even older Mylodon, or giant ground sloth. The fact it is better known for the sloth rather than the people who made their home here for 60 centuries tells you a lot about how the early colonists regarded the indigenous people. 

There are three caves to explore when you visit, all linked by a relatively easy trail. We wanted to takle a hike just up the road so did not visit all the caves but we have been told that the middle cave is very impressive but quieter and well worth the 1.5km walk each way.

If you are feeling more energetic, then there is an 8km circular trail which takes in all three caves and the Devil’s Chair, starting with Cueva Chica (the smallest cave) and working its way up to the main attraction, with many impressive viewpoints along the way. Fun fact: the shrine opposite the Devil’s Chair is no accident. It has been put there to counter act the devil’s influence in the area by local people!

The biggest is the Mylodon Cave, and as you arrive a slightly cheesy life-sized replica of the Mylodongreets you at the entrance, giving a realistic idea of the size and appearance of these ancient creatures.

Informational boards in Spanish and English inside the cave offer fascinating insights into the history and geology of the area, presenting learning opportunities for both kids and adults.

When writing, the entrance fee was CLP10,000 for adults, and children under 11 are free. You can also book a guided tour for CLP25,000. Tickets can be purchased in advance through their website.

For families planning to visit, it’s advisable to wear comfortable walking shoes and carry water and snacks. The site is well-equipped with facilities, including a visitor centre, restrooms, and picnic areas.

If you want to visit the Torres del Paine National Park while in the area, take a look at our complete guide, including how to book tickets and what to pack, to Exploring Torres Del Paine With Kids.

For our full-day road trip that takes you to some of its most famous views of the area, we have a complete guide: Ultimate Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids.

Hike to Sofia Lake Viewpoint

After visiting the cave, we took the opportunity to walk up to Sofia Lake Viewpoint.

This hike traverses the private land of Jorge and his welcoming family. Jorge has created a moderately challenging circular route around his property that promises stunning views, will get you close to incredible wildlife, and offers abundant entertainment for the little ones.

Our daughters Georgia (9) and Eva (8) were captivated by the diverse landscapes and the hint of adventure that this trail offers. You’ll have the opportunity to explore caves and discover an array of local flora and fauna, making this hike a true gem for families.

The Hike to Sofia Lake Viewpoint has incredible views

Getting to Sofia Lake Viewpoint Hike

Continuing along Y-290 for a couple hundred meters past the cave, you will come to a sign for Rupestre Patagonia. If you take this rough track for about 1km, you will reach a small parking area with a couple of buildings surrounding it.

Upon arrival, you can expect a warm welcome from the owner or their friendly staff. They will assist you with payment, and guide you to the trailhead, ensuring a smooth start to your adventure.

This hidden gem of a walk is not very well advertised and, sadly, is easily missed. We found it on All Trails whilst looking for trails around the Milodon Cave area.

After reading some of the reviews, we discovered a link to Jorges Instagram at rupestrepatagonia and sent him a message to check if they were open. Jorge responded within half an hour and was very welcoming. It is not necessary to prebook, you can just turn up.

We have been caught out a number of times whilst in Patagoina with places that should have been opened and weren’t when we arrived! Especially when travelling with children, we always find it helpful to check before we travel to avoid disappointment.

What To Expect On The Walk

The trail commences with a slightly challenging ascent, ending in a bit of a scramble. However, our girls skipped up, and the exertion is well worth it. You are treated to breathtaking vistas, distinctive rock formations, and intriguing caves to explore. You can see the full route here:

The good news is that the steepest part of the climb is at the beginning, and the rest of the hike offers an undulating path through a variety of terrains. You’ll meander through sheltered wooded areas and reach exposed rock viewpoints that provide panoramic views, with the magnificent Torres del Paine gleaming in the distance.

Georgia on the trail.

Throughout the hike, you’ll encounter an abundance of flora and fauna. During our visit in the height of summer, the vibrant vegetation was in full bloom, and the melodic songs of birds filled the air.

However, the absolute highlight of our journey came when we paused to admire the view over Lago Sofia. A family of condors had settled on the sheer cliff face nearby. We observed in wonder for nearly half an hour as the young condors honed their flying skills. We witnessed their takeoffs, graceful landings, and dramatic swoops and even had the privilege of watching them soar gracefully above our heads. It was an unforgettable experience, allowing us to truly appreciate the size and grandeur of these colossal birds. Their ability to exude both majesty and grace left us in awe.

This is the closest we got to a condor in our entire trip!

The trail is generally well-marked, with frequent paint-topped posts or marks on trees. However, it’s worth noting that around two-thirds of the way along the trail, the markers seemed to disappear, and we found ourselves momentarily disoriented. Fortunately, we had the route tracked on AllTrails and were able to swiftly rejoin the path.

As you near the end of the trail, you’ll even come across a small collection of ancient rock art. While it may not compare to the renowned Cuevas de los Manos in Argentina, it’s still a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the ancient people who once roamed these lands, following herds of guanacos on their journey.

We are really glad we took the time to explore this trail. Both the girls still rate it as one of their favourite hikes in Patagonia, Although I think our close encounter with the condors helped tremendously!

Have We Missed Anything About Visiting Mylodon Cave with Kids?

We hope you find your family trip to Mylodon Cave Natural Monument as enjoyable and informative as we did. If you think we have missed anything, or you find any of the information here to be outdated, then please let us know in the comments below.

The Spencer Family

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Thanks.

About the authors

Our lives have been intertwined with a passion for exploration and a shared love for travel. Our adventures began long before we met, as we individually embarked on daring expeditions across the globe. Our paths finally converged, and we soon realized that our adventures were much more meaningful when shared!

After a brief hiatus to start a family, we eagerly embarked on a new chapter of our travel saga. Determined to instil in Georgia and Eva the values of discovery and open-mindedness, our goal is to embark on exciting escapades and explore breathtaking landscapes, bustling cities, and remote corners of the world. From hiking through mist-laden forests to snorkelling in turquoise seas, every adventure is an opportunity to create lasting memories as a family.

We hate intrusive adverts as much as you do, so we keep our site ad-free. If you enjoy the blog or have found something helpful, you can say "thanks" by buying us a coffee! Just click the button below.

Leave a comment