Cerro Toco is a stratovolcano at an elevation of 5,416m (17,769ft) above the sea level located on a lunar landscape in the eastern part of the high Atacama Desert of northern Chile in the Antofagasta Region. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of Chile.
The road to the summit is gravel. This trail passes through remote areas, so you need to be prepared. This route is not suitable for normal cars. If you dare to take the risk and travel along this dusty and bumpy route, then make sure to be driven by someone who has experience of the road. It’s very steep, with sections up to 10%.
At the summit there are several telescopes. The site hosts some of the highest telescopes in the world. Expect harsh conditions: high winds, cold and heavy snowfalls. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. The wind is usually quite strong at mountain areas. High winds blow here all year long. Even in summer you can confront with snowy days. Temperatures here in the winter are brutally cold. Despite this site is highly inhospitable to humans, it is recognized as one of the best in the world for millimeter and submillimeter astronomy because of its dry climate which minimizes the absorbtion and attenuation of mm radiation by atmospheric water vapour.