Altos de Lircay National Reserve

(Between forests and hills)

Altos del Lircay National Reserve

Altos del Lircay National Reserve

Altos de Lircay National Reserve was created in 1996 and is located 41 miles east from Talca and 47 kms (29.2 miles) from San Clemente. It has 12.163 hectares and is an protected area on which hunting and fishing is not allowed. Altos de Lircay National Reserve is 2.228 meters above sea level and borders the north bank of Lircay River, which bed flow in a boxed river bed built from volcanic lava.

In the access to Altos de Lircay National Reserve you will find the Environmental Information Center in where you can see an exhibition from the flora and fauna from the place.

Altos de Lircay National Reserve’s weather is characterized because of its micro weather, which let the existence of native species such as for example Nothofagus glauca, coihue, beech, lenga, mountain chain’s cypress and laurel.

The best season to visit Altos de Lircay National Reserve are autumn and spring, when there are not a lot of visitors. The reserve has no equipment for camping, although camping is allowed.

There are three park rangers from CONAF in charge of managing Altos de Lircay National Reserve, giving information to the visitors and taking care of maintaining and respecting Altos de Lircay’s ecosystem.

The excursion pathways lead the visitor to different landscapes and environments existing at Altos de Lircay, crossing forests, hills and offering the chance of admiring the fauna from the reserve, composed by shilla fox and condors among others.

The relief from Altos de Lircay National Reserve is uneven. The high varies from 600 to 2.448 meters above sea level. Hills like El Peine (The Comb), El Picazo and El Sal Si Puedes (Get ou if you can) combines with areas of slight plains and slopes such as Vanellus chilensis’ fertile lowland and Sillahur.

Colorada and Tomate lagoons – and another one that have not been mentioned – are placed over 2.000 meters above sea level. These, together with Lircay river and the swamps that feed it, conform the reserve’s hydrograph. You are only allowed to swim at Lircay river – the main water course.

Footpath and trekking sites:

There are some pathways that can be done walking or by horse, following the instructions given by the park rangers.

Antomahuida pathway, 350 mts long, 20 minutes travel.

Retincura Pathway, 850 mts long, it can be done in 45 minutes. This and the previously mentioned pathway are situated near the management office.

Pathway to del Alto lagoon, can by done in 5 hours to go and 3 to return. It passes by tree viewpoints, from where you can see a lagoon created inside a volcanic crater.

Enladrillado in Altos del Lircay National reserve

The Enladrillado in Altos de Lircay National Reserve

El Enladrillado Pathway is a 12 hours round trip. You reach a basaltic platform apparently created by the action of a glacier, with an amazing view to the volcanoes.

Deer Valley (Valle del Venado) Pathway is a three day excursion that follows the edge of Blanquillo river. In the area of Blanquillo River and Descabezado Grande Volcano there are natural hotsprings. Management office is opened and Visits can be done from December to February from 9 to 20:30, from March to November from 9 to 17. It has a camp area that costs $8.000 and picnic $5.000 for 6 people. Entrance fee costs $1.500, children pay $500.

La Campana Stretch, 21 kms (13 miles) built pathway. Is a walk that can be done all year round by walking, horseback riding or biking. It takes about 2 to 4 hours and is also included at Chile Pathways.

The pathway runs along Claro river (do not get confused with Claro river located at the north) and begins in the intersection from this with Maule near Armerillo. It climbs by the caisson up to Los Yuyos beach, joining in this point with Altos del Licay stretch. 2 kinds of forests can be identified: Sclerophyllous in the lowest side and Oak- Nothofagus glauca, to finish at an oak forest.

Piedras Tacitas in the Altos de Lircay National Reserve.

Piedras Tacitas in the Altos de Lircay National Reserve.

From La Campana stretch is important because of the presence of tricahue parrots, harriers, black woodpeckers, Austral Parakeets, foxes and a great variety of reptiles and insects. The access route to reach La Campana stretch, from Talca take 115 International Route up to Armerillo at km 76 then follow the detour to the left up to San Carlos Farm, up to the beginning of La Campana Hill. Among the services installed in viewpoints this area for watching the edges of Claro river, resting facilities, footbridges and signs.

Nearby attractive sites:

At km 19 you will arrive to San Clemente, with 37.261 inhabitants. The building began with Entre Rios parish’s creation in 1864. At the end of the XIX century, the railway that led to Corralones – highly active until the 1940s – was built. In October 12 1902 it got to San Clemente and had such a great transcendence that even the village’s anniversary and The National Party – small 18 – were celebrated in this date. This railway branch seased activity in 1950.

Visit San Clemente’s City Hall Market, which sells handcraft products, flowers and vegetables – located at Huamachuco street – main centre of an active commerce. At Alejandro Cruz Street you will find the Nain Square, the Church and the Consistorial building.

San Clemente offers a great variety of food at their bar-restaurants, with home made menú, mixed grill and special dishes. In San Clemente there is accommodation at Danubio Hotel.

Return to the route and at about km 30, after crossing the high tension cables which provides energy from Colbún-Machicura, the landscape transforms, and the road climbs if you get closer to Pan de Azucar hills.

Then you pass another group of houses under the name of Bajo Periquí and at km 34 there is a paved detour which leads to Corralones and Molina to the left. At km 38 there is another one. To the right it leads to Colbún Lake. Take the left to Vilches. In this area of an unpaved road named Las Totorillas – which leads to El Molino Viejo – agrocamping placed in the shore of Lircay river .

The road climbs a slope from with you have views from the valley and then enter to an area with a lot of vegetation of Maytenus boarias and boldos with small plantations of girasols and corn. At km 43 you will pass by the building belonging to the JOC (Young Farmers Workers) and – at km 48 – you will reach the detour leading to Seminario, a resort with camping placed at the edge of the river and with accommodation in the houses of the old seminar which is managed by Talca’s Bichopric and opened for groups.

At km 63 you will find Alto Vilches, situated in the middle of forests with a great variety of native species and beautiful houses built next to the road, most of them are summer houses. There are game yards, horseback riding and guided excursions, places equipped for making picnics, several camping sites and good cabins that offer lunch.

At Vilches – the second week of February – there is a music festival named Festival del Copihue (Chilean bell flower festival). And in November 1st All Saints Days is celebrated, in that date there is a particular sell and a chance for tasting local products offered outside the cemetery among. The most remarkable is the “Snow Ice Cream and Toasted Flour” which is typical from this area. Beside the building that used to be Vilches Hotel, descending to the south, Lagunillas, La Encantada , Los Patos , El Toro and La Ollalagoons, all of them with waterfalls, backwaters and a lot of vegetation.

Show Ice Creams in Vilches. In July and August, people from the village take snow from the mountain chain then they burry it between sacks and straw under a big tree more than one meter deep, keeping it until November 1st when they are moved to the “ramadas” next to the cemetery. Snow is thrown into a metallic drum containing sugar and natural essences; this is places inside a wooden barrel containing salt to keep it frozen. Then they make it spins strongly to mix the snow with the essences. The ice cream is served in big portions together with toasted flour.

At the reserve you can descend to Lircay river to take a bath in its volcanic lava ponds as well as making excursions to hills like Sal si Puedes , Tres Cuernos , El Afligido and El Peine or Colorada and El Tomate lagoons.

** Information related to Hours, Rates and Dates might change without any previous notice **

** Information related to Hours, Rates and Dates might change without any previous notice **