The Pichasca National Monument is located in the commune of the Hurtado River in the IV Region at the top of the small town of San Pedro Viejo, situated 34.7 northeast of Ovalle in a hill over the north of Hurtado River (río Hurtado).Was an ancient inca settlement and also an important archeological and paleonthological site, where the fossils and remains of petrified vegetables stand out. It was declared National Monument in 1969.
The Pichasca Natural Monument has an altitude up to 3,369 feet. The oldest archeological vestiges of the Province have been found at the monument. The entry gate it’s located at the top of a hill and from there you can access Agora de los Artesanos, where typical products are exhibited and sold. From here starts a pedestrian trail with viewpoints and gigantic graphies adding to the great paleonthological and archeological great interest of this area. The first site is located on a hill to the North, called Petrified Forest (Bosque Petrificado), that has pieces of trunks from petrified trees from the Araucaria family and also petrified bones of many pre-historical animals such as Antarctosaurus and Saltaraurus lomicatus; from the latter, who lived 70 millions of years ago, a real size replica has been made (42.6 x 16.4 feet). The second site corresponds to the terrain projection called Stone House, of 262 feet of length and 26.2 feet of depth, where remains of human settlement were found of about 8,000 years ago; here a replica of a primitive gatherer-hunter was installed. Visiting hours are during January and February from 9 am to 6 pm; the rest of the year from 9 am to 5 pm. The admission ticket costs $1.500, children between 3 and 15 $600. More information is available at CONAF. The visit requires at least one hour and a half.
The trip to Pichasca Natural Monument lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes from Ovalle and 3 hours and 30 minutes from La Serena (this information may vary according to road conditions).
** Information related to rates, dates and hours might change wihtout any previous notice **