The Conguillío National Park, Ninth Region of the Araucanía has within its attractive features an active volcano, crystalline and frozen lagoons. Placed in the province of Cautín, communes of Melipeuco and Vilcún, and the province of Malleco, communes of Curacautín and Lonquimay, includes a surface of 150.321,62 acres of the mountain range of the Andes, located to 91,96 miles to the northeast of Temuco.
The Conguillío National Park was declared protected area in 1950 and it is IX region of the Araucanía. The access to the unit is made through two routes: Conguillío sector: Victoria, road asphalted until Curacautín, the rest is filled with rubble, passable all the year toward Captrén day-care center, depending on the snow accumulation, the rest is only passable in summer period, from November to March, just in case of coming from the north by the highway 5 South; or, Temuco-Cunco-Melipeuco-Conguillío, if you come from to the south, the ways from the cities of Curacautín and Cunco to the reserve are filled with rubble and in good road conditions.
One of its great attractions is the Llaima volcano (Revived and it settles, double meaning in mapudungum) located 10.252,62 feet about 49,71 miles to the northeast of the city of Temuco above of the sea level The incessant activity of the volcano that is characterized for to have two craters, is responsible for the morphology of the area originating, in some cases, lakes, lagoons, rivers and dumps; and influencing the flora and native fauna. Its lava corks prevented the free course of the rivers, forming the present lacustrine system, composed of: Conguillío Lake and the Captrén, Verde and Arcoiris lagoons. The reminiscences of this violent formation are the trunks of submerged trees that are observed specially in the lagoons Captrén and Arcoiris.
Geologic characteristics of Llaima volcano
Llaima volcano formed during the Quaternary, on lava and granites located throughout the faults system of longitudinal North – South. It is a composed, mixed volcano and of shield, with a boiler covered with forty accidental dreg cones and presents a secondary chimney to the 9.514,44 feet above the sea level. The slope of this volcano is moderate. Is active from the Superior Pleistocene and their products are mainly pyroclastos lava and andesítico-basaltic. It has an extensive file of violent eruptions of Vulcan and bizarre type that have left remainders of fifty meters of fine sand and volcanic capes very well specified and dregs basaltic lava. Also it presents sulfated smoker around the crater. About of the eruptions there is registry of around 37 eruptions counting of 1852, of which those of 1927 and 1957 were the most violent. This record transforms it into one of the most active volcanoes of Chile.
In the unit of the Conguillío National Park, the Araucaria predominates the horizon with some of its specimens reaching 1,200 years of antiquity which gives shelter to a varied fauna and adds an special accent to the area. The typical shape of umbrella of the Araucarias it is only achieved over the 500 years old. The piñon, its seed, constitutes the base of the feeding of the pehuenche people (pehuén=araucaria or pinion, che= people), that used to live only in the zones in which pehuén or Araucaria existed.
Although it is certain that the forests of these impressive trees are those that call the attention very much, also there are in the National Reserve Congullío other species of great interest. Coigüe, oaks and raulí, are present in all the reserve; others, like lenga, ñirre, hazel, maitén, cypress of the mountain range and lleuque, are located in the sector Conguillío and Truful-Truful.
The local mammals in the area are mainly pumas and foxes (culpeos and chillas), the quique (kind of weasel) and güiña (wild cat).The bird species found in the park goes from a large varieties of ducks, condors, traros, eagles, and wood pigeon.
In order to cross the Conguillío National Park, it is necessary to have enough time since there is too much what there is to know, to learn and to cross. Nevertheless, if time is a scarce resource, there are others activities that will comply with your necessities. The Conguillío National Park has an affluent network of footpaths and signalized ways, to know the most beautiful and interesting places is simple and safe.
Entering the Conguillío National Park by the sector of the Captrén lagoon, the road from Curacautín, there is a footpath that surrounds the entire lagoon and its extension is of 1,24 miles approximately. It is a long but light walk , apt for experience and unexperienced walkers. In the Captrén lagoon it is possible to fish, but it is prohibited to swim or to sail in boat, since it is a sanctuary of birds and this type of intervention can affect local species that inhabit there.
Following the main way 3,11 miles further, you arrive Conguillío Lake sector, here are located the Conaf administration office, the Environmental Information center and services.
There is other footpath, the one of the Carpenters, 3,11 miles length, that goes into the Araucarias, coigüe and lenga forests, ending at Laguna Captrén. In this route you will reach the “Araucaria Mother” a species whose trunk has a diameter of 6,56 feet.
Within the area of the Conguillío National Park are concentrated most of the services of the area: hygienic zone of camping, cabins, services, food picnic and warehouse. In the lake all the aquatic activities can be made that do not imply boats with motor: to swim, to fish and to row.
Another place that is worth visiting is the Sierra Nevada placed 8.379,27 feet above of the sea level. , where CONAF to implemented a footpath that ascends by one of its slopes and that allows to observe from its 5 viewpoints, the Llaima volcano, the Conguillío lake and the mountainous cord that flanks the lake. It is a long walk, of five to six hours and that can be hard, but efforts are awarded with the panoramic view obtained from this height, for the flight of the condor or the Vista of the beginning point of the Blanco River.
Continuing by the main route, you will arrive at the Arcoiris lagoon. Is very little and its attractiveness is in the emerald color of the water, which give you the impression of watching a prism. To about 49,21 feet of the lagoon, by a footpath that is signalized, is the House of the Colon.
In the Arcoiris lagoon, the transition between the vegetation and the volcanic dreg are strong. The road continues the passage through of the denominated “Valley of the Moon” which share its name with the Valley of the moon located near San Pedro de Atacama, desolated and dry, but as spectacular that the one located in the north. From the distance you sight the hills that surround covered with vegetation, and by the other side you will observe the overwhelming presence of Llaima volcano.
The Green lagoon makes its appearance, or even more, it is necessary to go to its encounter. This lagoon is larger, with its 432,43 acres of surface, the color of its waters are a greenish shade, and it empties underground through Truful-Truful river. This one river, near the entered/exit of the park by the sector that takes that same name, gives origin a spectacular waterfall, called the Jumps of the Turful-Truful, that in mapudungum means “of jump in jump”.
Although it is certain, that the best time to visit the Conguillío National Park is between the spring and summer – when the climate is benevolent and the roads are in excellent conditions, during the winter, the conditions are perfect to visit the the Araucarias ski center. Located in the side west of the Llaima volcano, side in opposition to the Conguillío Lake, counts with two ferry cables of drag, cafeteria, ski school, equipment rental and lodging in refuge.
Area of Camping:
1. The House: is located to 1,86 miles of the Arcoiris Administration. There are 12 sites with a great bath. The sites counts with water, (no electrical light), waste basket, shower (cold and warm water) and a furnace. Each site is delimited; it has parking and natural shade. In good state.
2. The Marsh: is located to 3,11 miles of the Administration, there are 10 sites, it count with toilets, cold and warms water, a waste basket, electrical light and natural shade. In good state.
3. The Carpenters: is located to 3.42 miles of the Administration, there are 12 sites that count with water by pylon and share toilets with sector the Ñirres and the Marsh. It has a general bath with electricity, and all the sites with furnace, natural shade and delimited sites. In good state.
4. The Ñirres: is located to 3,11 miles of the Administration, there are 44 sites with 3 toilets, cold and warms water, a shed, electrical light and 5 pylons for water, with parking, furnace, all with natural shade and delimited sites. In good state.
5. The Hoyón: is located to 1,24 miles of the Administration, there are 10 sites with waste basket per site, 1 furnace, great bath (with shower, baths for man and woman and sink to wash), no electricity , common parking with natural shade. In good state.
These 88 sites are in concession, counting in addition with cafeteria-market, first aid, bakeries and boats for rent. The concession opens in December 8 and closes in April of the following year, which depends of the weather conditions. In addition, in Captrén there is an area of camping with 8 sites with toilets and cold water, parking, house of control and information, and footpaths for excursion. Is located, To South west side of the Captrén lagoon and 6,21 miles from the Administration, in the northeast access of the Park.
1. Footpath Sierra Nevada (snowed range): Extension: 6,21 miles. Time of trip: 5 hours round trip, from Linda Beach. Several forest types are observed during the route according to the altitude. Its objective is the appreciation of the scenic beauty; which can be made with an interpreter-guide twice a week. Apt for young and adult people.
2. Footpath the Carpinteros: Extension: 3,73 miles. Exit from the Visitors Center. Time of trip: 5 hours round trip; accompanied with an interpreter-keeper park once a week. Characteristics: The footpath moves between forests of coigue-araucaria and lenga, it is accessed through the Captrén lagoon, rich in birds. Is apt for all kind of people without disabilities.
3. Footpath Truful-Truful: Extension: 13,67 miles. Time of trip: 4 hours and 30 minutes one way. It is born in the Visitors Center and it concludes in the gully of the same name. It is only made by vehicle. It allows knowing the Colon’s House, the Arcoíris lagoon, the valley of the Moon and the Slopes (where water emerges from lakes). Apt for adult, young and young familiar groups.
4. Footpath the Grafts: Extension: 0.06 miles Time of trip: 2 hours and 30 minutes round trip. Starts from the Visitors Center. It is exclusive for children (from five to fourteen years) where they discover what are the grafts and its function. It crosses mixed landscape surrounded by Araucarias and ñirre.
5. Footpath the Crater: Extension 0.75 miles. Time of trip: two hours and 30 minutes round trip. It begins from the Visitors Center. It is exclusive for children and its objective is to show the crater and its function.
6. Footpath Dreg Field: Extension: 0.50 miles. Time of trip: two hours and 30 minutes round trip. Starting from Visitors Center. Its objective is to present the field dreg and the influence of the volcano like modifier agent of the landscape. Also for children. The route is throwing the forest of araucaria-ñirre-coigue and araucaria-lenga.
7. Footpath Araucaria-Mother: Extension: 1.12 miles. Time of trip: two hours and 50 minutes round trip. It is exclusive for children, they will encounter the oldest unit of Araucaria, crossing a Forests of coigue-araucarias-ñirre and lenga-araucaria.
1. Footpath Lan-Lan: Extension: two 273,40 yards. (Exit of vehicular parking to the borders of the main way). Time of trip: twenty minutes. This is a trail you can make on your own count with five numbered stations. Llaima Volcano and Saltos Lan-Lan.
2. Footpath the Araucarias, DIY: 0.75 miles. Time of trip: one hour and twenty minutes, round trip. Characteristics: Implemented with 13 explanatory panels and a viewpoint, the footpath goes through of an Araucarias forest. Apt for all public without restriction.
3. Footpath the Slopes: 2.624,67 feet. Time of trip: one hour of route (round trip). Characteristics: Implemented with five interpretative panels. During the passage a series of water curses are visited that come from of an underground origin according to period of the year. Apt for all public.
4. Footpath Gully of the Truful-Truful: Route of 0,62 miles. Starting from the house of Truful-Truful control. Time of trip: one hour round trip. Characteristics: Through three interpretative panels get to know the geologic formation of this sector of the Park caused by the water erosion, is presented. Apt for all public.
Conguillío Lake formed from the eruption of Llaima Volcano, where one of its lava rivers blocked some centuries ago, the drainage of the Sierra Nevada. In the depths of its very crystalline waters still, the raised trunks of the trees flooded in that opportunity can be seen.
Beautiful Lagoon Captrén is located to 29,83 miles to the Southeastern of Lonquimay, it counts with beaches and zones of camping, practices of embarked sport fishing. There is a footpath that surrounds all the lagoon and its extension is of 1,24 miles approximately. It is a long walk smooth and apt for all type of people. In the lagoon it is possible to fish, but it is prohibited to swim or sail in boat, since it is a sanctuary of birds.
Beautiful and Correntoso River of crystalline water that gives place to several jumps and refuge to a diverse fauna, between to stand out the duck of running or cut-running also named. The footpath of the same name advances by forests and volcanic landscapes and crosses indigenous communities, between which it emphasizes the grouping Melivilu Melirayén, with an interesting associated etno-tourist initiative, to the route. This subsection counts with baths in the sector of Truful day-care center, information and radio of Park ranger.
In the way to Conguillio these 51,89 acres of the Colorado River are located, between two rivers the Fierro and the Agrio river. Of abundant native vegetation, has very good access.
Sierra Nevada (snowed range)
The Sierra Nevada is located in one of the most attractive sectors of the mountain range of the Andes of Chile, accompanied by several known summits, like the volcanoes Llaima, Lonquimay and Tolhuaca. Part of the Sierra Nevada is inside of the Conguillío National Park. Also, closely together, it is the National Reserve Malalcahuello and the Tolhuaca National Park.
From their Eastern slope several glaciers fall down, to very low height and it extends towards to the mountain range The Raíces (to the northeast), by where it crosses the tunnel The Raíces (of 2.80 miles of length). Another one of its spurs, the one that leaves towards to the west, is the one that is observe from the Conguillío Lake to the north. From the west, when it is acceded from the central valley, a long and very flat hill in its high part is observed, that is seen between the Lonquimay and Llaima. Nevertheless, its aspect notoriously changes sight from the north and the south.
There are two well-known routes to accede to the hill, by Malalcahuello and the other one, by Conguillío.
The ascent by the South and North sides it does not have greater technical difficulty, in contrast with its steep West side. In his annotations, the famous Swiss guide Hermann Hess, would write: “… ist ein to reiner Alpienbergtyp und technisch, von to der seite, nicht leicht…”; “… of a pure alpine type and by its flank – talking about to its West side, technical and not easy…” Also he was surprised of the glaciated of the volcano, in spite of his low height and strong rains of the zone. Lamentably the writings of the Swiss do not give dates, but other ascensions of Hess in the zone were in the fifties, reason why it could be possible to assume that the Sierra Nevada was also climbed it by him, during those years. This volcano does not register activity.
In the Conguillío National Park, CONAF has managed to combine the private interests with his efforts for the conservation and protection of the area, turning Conguillío into a model park. In the Conguillío National Park the visitor not only will be able to know and to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, but also be able to learn about the biological wealth of the Conguillío National Reserve through the programs of education and environmental interpretation that CONAF freely distributes.
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