ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Trekking in Patagonia Chile - National Parks

Updated on September 11, 2018

Chile has eight Unesco World Biosphere Reserves and four World Heritage Sites. Chilean Patagonia has the lion's share of these. Trekking in Patagonia is challenging but unforgettable, with highlights including deserted rainforests, active volcanoes, jagged glacier-encrusted mountain scapes and a big chunk of the earth's remaining wilderness.

Mount Villarica
Mount Villarica

Araucania Region

Trekking highlights of this fertile and diverse region of Patagonia include Villarica's active climbable volcano; Huerquehue's watery wonderland of lagoon's, waterfalls and rivers; Nahuelbuta National Park, a local family favorite, Tolhuaca's 19th-century thermal baths, which come with a national park attached, and the vast volcanic forests of Conguillio National Park.

Huerquehue National Park

Huerquehue is one of Chilean Patagonia's most accessible and popular National Parks, only 33km from the bustling adventure hub of Pucon.

Treks range from a half-hour nature trail to a two-day trek. Highlights include native aruaucaria (Monkey Puzzle) forests, snowy volcanoes and lots of water, with some 2,000 millimeters (81 inches) of annual rainfall feeding innumerable lakes, rivers, lagoons and springs.

Huerquehue National Park
Huerquehue National Park

Villarrica National Park

Villarrica's main attraction is its volcano (Volcan Villarrica). Trekkers can climb the 3000 metres to its iced summit and peer down into a crater of bubbling lava (ice picks and gas masks supplied). This is one of South America's most active volcanoes, and inhabitants of nearby Pucon are always ready to make a run for it - you may hear the drill siren while you're there.

The surrounding National Park has two other Volcanoes, Quetrupillán and Lanín, both set in 63,000 hectares of ancient woodland, lakes and rivers.

Lago Villarrica
Lago Villarrica

Nahuelbuta National Park

Nahuelbuta is a small family-friendly national park, covering just 6832 hectares with about 14km of trails. Like Huerquehue, farther south, it comes with forests of Araucaria trees (monkey puzzle trees), but here their setting is a warmer and dryer part of Patagonia. The trees, some of which are 1000s of years old, make a magical setting for children, who are also catered for with a short nature trail and picnic areas.

Trek to the top of Piedra del Aguila for views across of the Andes and the Pacific.

Tolhuaca National Park

Tolhuaca thermal baths opened in 1898, and they're still a popular way to chill out after exploring neighboring Tolhuaca National Park - 7000 hectares of lush forest set in the Andean foothills. Highlights include Malleco waterfall, Tolhuaca Volcano (2806m) and unlimited bird-watching opportunities.

Conguillio National Park

Conquillio National Park is the place to see Araucaria Trees (Monkey Puzzle Trees). They predominate in this strange volcanic landscape. Their lime green shoots rise everywhere from black volcanic slopes, against a backdrop of taller trees thousands of years old. So antediluvian is the scene, the BBC used it as the setting for their series, Walking with Dinosaurs. The volcanoes are Volcan Llaima and Volcan Sierra Nevada, both active - Llaima last erupted in 1996.

Conquillio is popular with Chileans and therefore well-developed. Facilities include several well-marked walking treks, campsites and lodges as well as a road running the entire length of the park.

The Lakes (Los Lagos)

Chile's Lake District is a good place in Patagonia to combine trekking with water-based activities: such as kayaking and fishing along the waterways of Vicente Perez Rosales or Chiloe National Parks.

Puyehue National Park
Puyehue National Park

Puyehue National Park

Puyehue is one of Patagonia's most visited parks, but back-country trekkers are rare. They are missing out on lush Valdivian rainforests, stunning lakes, snow-topped volcanic cones, and quite a bit of Patagonia's native wildlife, including miniature deer, Darwin's Frogs, and over a quarter of the country's bird species.

Treks range from easy strolls through woodland to challenging treks round Volcan Casablanca (three days), to its crater (one day) or up nearby Volcan Puyehue.

Puyehue National Park covers nearly 107,000 hectares.

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park

Waterways, Volcanoes, Mountains and Rainforest

A handful of the Lake District's must-see attractions are in this national park, which was the first to be created in Chile. Osorno Volcano, Petrohué Waterfall and Lago Todos Los Santos, a many-fingered lake which reaches into lush valleys of temperate rainforest are all easy to get to, making this a great place for day treks mixed with other activities, such as fishing, kayaking and thermal bath visits.

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park covers 251,000 hectares.

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
Osorno Volcano
Osorno Volcano

Alerce Andino National Park

Alerce Trees (Fitzroya cupressoides), or Redwoods of the Andes, can live for 4000 years and grow to 70 meters. Alerce Andino National Park is one of only a few places where you can still see them. You'll have to brave steep and waterlogged trails to get to the oldest ones though. (Get advice from local rangers before setting off.) Less demanding treks can be organized at Alerce Mountain Lodge.

The Park also has about 50 lagoons and lakes, some with lakeshore campsites.

Chiloe National Park

Chiloe is a rain-drenched archipelago of some 40 islands with its own unique culture. Look out for stilt houses and wooden Jesuit chapels, 14 of which comprise a World Heritage Site. Chiloe National Park is on the west coast of Chiloe Island.

Here, trekking is perhaps best combined with kayaking Chiloe's many waterways.

Chiloe National Park
Chiloe National Park

Hornopiren National Park

Rainforest, rivers, volcanoes and glaciers

Undeveloped and often overlooked, Hornopiren is gem of a national park, which crams glaciers, volcanoes and miles and miles of pristine Valdivian rain forest into just 48,232 hectares.

Aisén Region

The sparsely populated Aisén Region offers limited but challenging trekking among ice caps, glaciers and deserted forests.

Queulat National Park

The Carretera Austral runs through Queulat National Park, but beyond that, dense evergreen forests make for some challenging hiking. The park's main attractions - the Queulat Hanging Glacier and Padre García and Cóndor waterfalls are the easiest to get to.

Queulat National Park
Queulat National Park


Magallanes' main attraction for trekkers is the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park, but the region also has the less well known Pali Aike National Park, offering short treks in a strange lunar landscape.

Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine draws trekkers to two world-class treks, the Torres del Paine W - four days - and the Torres del Paine Circuit- about 10 days. Both treks climb in and out of the extraordinary Paine Massif, a barely formed mountain range of jagged peaks and icy valleys, with the Circuit also traversing the John Gardner Pass, which overlooks the Patagonian Ice Cap.

Pali Aike National Park

Pali Aike means desolate place, and its 5000 hectares is a barren mix of pampas, volcanic cones and massive rock sculptures.

Four short treks take you to the main sights, including Pali Aike Cave, a national monument, Cráter Morad del Diablo, and Laguna Ana.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)