Puyehue National Park

(Place of puyas [small fish of the lakes])

Puyehue National Park, located in the South of Chile

Puyehue National Park, located in the South of Chile

Puyehue National Park has a surface of 264,402 acres. Puyehue National Park is located on the mountain range hillsides and the Andean Mountain Range. Its largest section is placed in the Province of Osorno, commune of Puyehue, extending on the North to the Province of Valdivia, in the commune of Río Bueno.

The main access to Puyehue National Park is the International Route 215 that connects the cities of Osorno (Chile) and Bariloche (Argentina), which is paved all the way to the Chilean customs offices at Pajaritos.

At the mile 47.2 of the Route 215 there’s the U-485 variant that leads to the area of Aguas Calientes of Puyehue National Park, at 2.4 miles of distance. The road is entirely paved. From Aguas Calientes to Antillanca, take the U-485 variant, a gravel road, without excessive slopes; however careful driving is recommended since it’s a narrow and winding road. The voyage lasts 11.1 miles that can be made in 30 minutes.

In Puyehue National Park stand out for its scenic beauty the Antillanca area and the great panorama of the lakes and volcanoes that can be appreciated from the top areas; the valley of the Gol-Gol river , Puyehue volcano and the volcanic area of Caulle, the area of the international border and the Pampa de la Frutilla.

View of Puyehue National Park in Chile

View of Puyehue National Park in Chile

At the Anticuar section of Puyehue National Park we find the Indio Fall a waterfall which name comes from a legend that tells that about a native who worked at the gold mines, used to hide from the Spaniards under the curtain of water, obtaining like this his freedom.

The relief of Puyehue National Park is the result of intense glacier processes and the volcanic action, especially in the valleys. It presents typical glacier valleys such as the one of the Gol-Gol and Chanleufú rivers and numerous lakes of great beauty among the Andean peaks. The volcanic activity occurs in the area of Antillanca, where it stand out the Casablanca volcano (volcán Casablanca), at 6,528 above sea level, many close craters and volcanic groups of the Fiucha and Sarnoso. To the North is Puyehue volcano (volcán Puyehue), at 7,335 feet above sea level, and the volcanic range of the Caulle, which had recent sulfur lava fluids and presentes several thermal waters and geysers. The minimum height of Puyehue National Park is of 820 feet in the valley of the Gol-Gol river and the maximum is of 7,335 feet in Puyehue volcano.

The main water body of Puyehue National Park is the Gol-Gol river (río Gol-Gol) and its affluents, Anticuar and Pajaritos, which drain into Puyehue Lake (Lago Puyehue), outside the park. The biggest lakes are the Constancia, Gris and Paraíso.

The dominant formation in Puyehue National Park is the Evergreen Wet Forest, which originated as a result of high levels of rainfall. This forest of exuberant development is made of various stratums and a rich composition of species. In the lower places there’s the coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi) woods and the common ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia), with some specimens that reach up to 147.6 feet of height, accompanied of olivillo (Aextoxicon punctatum) and tineo (Weinmannia trichosperma). The underbrush has abundant bushes, ferns, moss and lichens, giving it great forest richness. At higher altitude there are coigüe woods with tepa (Laureliopsis philipiana) and mañío (Saxegothaea conspicua), which becomes later the dominant specie. Near the peaks there are pure forests of coigües de Magallanes (Nothofagus betuloides), with a dense underbrush and also the lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) formation, which is a specie of deciduous leafs that become reddish during Autumn. Locally, communities of marshes called “mallines” can be observed, covered with thick moss and rushes layers, low brushwood of ñirre (Nothofagus Antarctica) and cypress of Guaitecas (Pilgerodendron uviferum).

Little waterfall in Puyehue National Park in Chile

Little waterfall in Puyehue National Park in Chile

The most interesting mammals of Puyehue National Park are the puma, gray fox (pseudalopex griseus), the quique (galictis cuja) or ferret, the coypu (Myocastor coypus), the güiña (Felis guigna) or wild cat and the chingue (Conepatus chinga). Among the birds stand out the torrent duck (pato correntino), the Magellanic woodpecker (carpintero negro), the Chilean pigeon (torcaza), the hued-hued (huet-huet), the condor, the great grebe (huala), the house wren (chercán) and the buff necked ibis (bandurria).

The main activities that can be practiced in Puyehue Nacional Park are fishing, fauna and flora observation, trekking, ski, swimming (heated pool), photography, climbing, excursions, panoramic observation and getting information on environmental education.

The main trails in Puyehue Nacional Park are:

Aguas Calientes Area

  1. An excursion trail to the Berlín lake (lago Berlín), of 6.8 miles long, that equals to 5 hours round trip. It runs along a stretch of the old road from Aguas Calientes to Antillanca, up to the Berlín lake, where there’s a rustic shelter for six persons.

  2. El Pionero recreational trail, of 5,905 feet long, it lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes round trip. It leads to a viewpoint.

  3. El Recodo recreational trail, of 1,246 feet, it lasts 15 minutes round trip. It connects with the Aguas Calientes area where you can eat.

  4. The Chanlefú Rapids educational trail, of 3,937 feet, it lasts one hour an a half round trip. It leads to waterfalls and the rapids of the river.

  5. Los Derrumbes recreational trail, of 1,902 feet, it lasts 45 minutes round trip.

Anticuar Area

(Sun stone)

  1. An excursion trail to Puyehue volcano, of 9.9 miles long, which equals to 2 or 3 days round trip. It’s a self-guided trail that reaches the volcano, the sulfur deposits, and the hot springs of the Caulle mountain range. On the hillsides of the volcano there’s a rustic shelter for 12 persons.

  2. Excursion trail to the Pampa de la Frutilla, of 12.4 miles long, which lasts between 2 or 3 days round trip. It starts at 1.8 miles of Anticuar. An old road continues from the Último Puesto area, and then crosses the forest until an Andean prairie. In the Seca Lagoon (Laguna Seca) there’s a rustic shelter being constructed.

  3. Salto de la Princesa recreational trail, of 2,329 feet, which lasts about 30 minutes. It leads to the Salto de la Princesa, a waterfall of an inlet of the Gol-Gol river, which is generally dry during summer.

  4. Salto del Indio recreational trail, of 3,116 feet long, which equals to 40 minutes round trip. It’s as self-guided road that shows the aspects of the evergreen forest, passes by coigüe trees of 800 years of age and gets to waterfall of the Gol-Gol river.

  5. Repucura educational trail, of 3,608 feet round trip.

  6. EL Puma viewpoint trail, of 4,593 feet, it lasts one hour and a half round trip. It crosses the Anticuar River on a hanging bridge and goes up to a viewpoint towards Puyehue volcano, to the North, and to the valley of the Gol-Gol river.

Antillanca Area

(Sun jewel)

  1. A Trail to the Mirador hill (cerro Mirador), of 2.4 miles long. During summer there’s a road coming out from the hotel that goes up the Raihuén crater (crater Raihuén) and the Mirador hill. There starts an excursion trail that goes down the Las Gaviotas river (río Las Gaviotas) up to the bank of the Rupanco lake (lago Rupanco).

Puyehue National Park is divided in regards to its administration in warden stations in three areas. The administration is in the Aguas Calientes area. Puyehue National Park counts with a thermal complex, lodging house, cabins, campsites, besides a Center of Environmental Information that provides fauna and flora information. The Anticuar area counts with a guard station of CONAF, a Center of Environmental Information and a campsite. And finally, the Antillanca area of Puyehue National Park counts with a ski center and a good hotel open all year round.

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