La Campana National Park

La Campana National Park in Chile.

La Campana National Park in Chile.

La Campana National Park (Parque Nacional La Campana) is situated in Central Coastal mountain range, at 32°57′ S longitude and 71°05′ W latitude in the communes of Hijuelas and Olmué, in the Province of Quillota, V Region. This park is under the supervision of the Forest National Corporation, CONAF (Corporación Forestal Nacional) that belongs to the Department of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura).

La Campana National Park was created in 1967, and it has a surface of 19,768 acres. The Park is located between 1,312 and 7,217 feet of altitude, south of the Aconcagua Valley (Valle del Aconcagua).

Its privileged location makes La Campana National Park, the only protected wild area in the Central Region of the continental Chile. With a surface of approximately 19,768 acres, the Park is divided in three areas: Ocoa Sector, Granizo Sector and Cajón Grande Sector.

In La Campana National Park inhabit typical species of the Central, South and North areas of our country. Since so many valuable species converge here, the park has been declared World Reserve of the Biosphere by the UNESCO in 1985.

The climate of La Campana National Park is Mediterranean type, attenuated by the closeness of the ocean and the influence of the coastal mists, with rain during Winter, 558.6 mm annually and a dry and very hot summer. The average annual temperature is 60.2° F.

The altitude of La Campana National Park varies between 1,312 and 7,290 feet above sea level, standing out the El Roble Hill (Cerro el Roble) with the highest altitude just mentioned and the La Campana Hill with an altitude of 6,233 feet above sea level.

La Campana National Park does not have any major courses or bodies of water, nevertheless there are gores of unique beauty such as the Cajón La Opositora (La Opositora Cape [Granizo Sector]), Quebrada Agua El Manzano (Agua El Manzano Gore [Cajón Grande Sector]) and the Estero Rabuco (Rabuco Marsh [Ocoa Sector]).

Darwin’s visit

Charles Darwin visited the La Campana Hill (Cerro La Campana) on August 16, 1834, accessing it from the San Isidro ranch. His observations while he was on the top show us a summary of the Chilean geography and geology. We can affirm without doubt, that this view contributed to formulate the theory of the origin of the species by means of the natural selection.

At 4,921 feet above sea level, and in the base of the southern side of the La Campana Hill, we find an imposing plaque in homage to the ascension of Charles Darwin. This plaque was placed by the members of the Scientific Society of Valparaíso (Sociedad Científica de Valparaíso), of the British Colony and by its fans, on August 17, 1939. It’s possible to read in the plaque part of the observations of this naturalist, which were published in the book “My trip around the world.”

Wildlife in La Campana National Park

The Flora in the Park is represented by three big plants communes: The sclerophylous Forest (Bosque esclerófílo) of the Central Coastal Mountain Range, where you can appreciate the majority of the park. Among the main species are: peumo (Cryptocarya alba), quillay (Quillaja saponaria), boldo (Peumus boldus), litre (Lithrea caustica), colihue (Chusquea culeou), colliguay (Colliguaya odorifera), espino (Acacia caven), lingue (Persea lingue), canelo (Drimys winteri), belloto del norte (Beilshmiedia miersii), patagua (Crinodendron patagua), maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) y radal (Lomatia hirsute).

The Forest of Chilean Palm tress (Jubaea chliensis) is in the Ocoa Sector. It’s the unique native palm tree in the continental Chile.

Small oak of Santiago forests (Nothofagus obliqua) located in the hillsides facing South, of La Campana and El Roble hills, over 3,280 feet.

The Fauna of the La Campana Nacional Park is the typical one found in the Central area of Chile, among the mammals, occasionally, it can be seen species such as Andean fox (zorro culpeo), lesser grison (quique), hog-nosed skunk (chingue), Patagonian fox (zorro chilla), viscacha (vizcacha) and the mouse-opossum (llaca).

The “Llaca” or “Yaca” (Thylamis elegans). It’s one of the 3 species of marsupials in the country. This carnivore of nocturnal habits, similar to a small mouse, lives in the bushes and forests of the IV and VIII Regions.

The birds are easier to spot anywhere in La Campana National Park. You can find species such as partridge (perdiz), red-backed hawk (aguilucho), eagle (águila), Harris’s Hawk (peuco), quail (codorniz), barn owl (lechuza blanca), great horned owl (tucúquere), Austral pygmy-owl (chuncho), band-winged nightjar (gallina ciega), giant hummingbird (picaflor gigante), Austral thrush (zorzal), etc. There are also reptiles such as alligators, small lizards, snakes and amphibians such as the Chilean giant frog (rana grande) and diverse toads.

Main trails of La Campana National Park

The La Campana Nacional Park it’s divided in three sectors defined by its accesses. The Granizo Sector, of 2,401 acres, comprehends the El Andinista Trail (Sendero El Andinista), which has a longitude of 4.3 miles, lasts 5 hours and has a high difficulty, and takes you to the top of the La Campana Hill, allowing you to observe the fauna and flora of the area. You can get to the plaque reminding the ascension of Charles Darwin, on August, 1834. During clear days there’s an impressive view of the coastal valleys and the Andean mountain range. Warning: do not go up La Campana hill without registering previously at the access check points and having received information, instructions and ascending guidelines.

Los Peumos Trail (Sendero Los Peumos) has a longitude of 4.3 miles, lasts 4 hours and has a medium difficulty. It takes you to Ocoa area.

The La Canasta Trail (Sendero La Canasta) is an interesting trip of interpretation that allows recognizing the flora of the park.

The Cajón Grande Sector of the Park, with 3,924 acres, comprehends the following trails:

The El Plateau Trail (Sendero El Plateau) has beautiful natural viewpoints.

The Los Robles Trail (Sendero Los Robles) has a longitude of 4.3 miles, lasts 4 hours and has medium difficulty. It takes you to the Ocoa area.

The Ocoa Sector, with 13,689 acres, counts with the following trails:

The La Cascada Trail (Sendero La Cascada), has a longitude of 4.7 miles, lasts 4 hours and has medium difficulty. It allows you to observe a beautiful waterfall of 114 feet.

The El Amasijo Trail (Sendero El Amasijo) has a longitude of 4.3 miles, lasts 4 hours and has a medium difficulty. It takes you to a dense forest of palm trees.

The Los Gorigiotis Trail (Sendero Los Gorigiotis) has a longitude of 14217 feet, lasts 2:30 hours and has a medium difficulty. It allows you to appreciate the Ocoa valley.

The El Quillay Trail (Sendero El Quillay) has a longitude of 4,429 feet, lasts 45 minutes and has low difficulty. It’s a Trail of Interpretation with 8 stations.

Access:

To reach La Campana National Park, you must travel a stretch towards a mountainous village and a natural forest. It’s 3.1 miles from Olmué, with 0.62 miles of dirt road towards the Granizo Sector and 1.8 miles of dirt road towards the Cajón Grande Sector. The bus companies Autobuses Turismo and Agdabús offer transportation services. It’s an ideal trip to make during Winter, Spring or Summer. Take snack for picnic.

From the big square of Olmué continue to the West, going to the inland areas of the valley. The road goes up and starts to run through fields enclosed with dry-stone walls, with drier hillsides and, on the background, there’s the big La Campana hill. The paved route reaches in 2.4 miles the Granizo site, already with an Andean landscape, where the trees become yellowish during Fall and get covered sporadically with snow during Winter. The road is surrounded by parcels with country houses. There is horse rental and in the aerodrome, gliders offer spectacles. After passing Granizo, at the end of the paved road, take the road on the right that, in 0.62 miles, climbing between curves, takes you to the entry of La Campana National Park. The Park is well maintained, with trails designed for walking and sites for picnics, in an environment surrounded by shades and a stream that runs between polished stones.

Among the main accesses to get to the Park are the Route to Granizo and Cajón Grande, and the access from Santiago to the Ocoa Sector.

La Campana National Park is open every day, from Monday through Thursday, from 8:45 am to 5:45 pm; Friday from 8:45 am to 4:45 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Take provisions. The admission fee allows you to use the picnic sites. Admission ticket is $1,500, children and seniors $500, children under 5 is free.

The Park’s Administration Office is located at the 43 stop of Av. Granizo, at 0.9 miles of the Park’s entry and its schedule is from Monday to Thursday, from 8:45 am to 5:45 pm, Friday until 4:45 pm. La Campana National Park has two picnic and camping areas.

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