Ventisquero Colgante hike, Chile

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

  • 6.6km return to observation platform
  • rough and muddy trail

Queulat National Park is a very popular destination for tourists. Here’s how the park’s centerpiece, the Queulat Hanging Glacier, looks in perfect weather.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls in summer, ChileVentisquero Colgante Falls in summer , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

There’s a visitor centre explaining the various short hikes.

You start on a long suspension bridge.

I was there on a rainy day. Most days are rainy.

This is dense Valdivian temperate rain forest. Parts of the park receive up to 4,000 mm (157 in) of precipitation annually.

There is some boardwalk, but expect to get muddy. (I wore neoprene booties rather than socks.)

Here’s the viewpoint as I saw it.

On descending I’d definitely recommend adding a short spur trail to Laguna Tempanos.

It’s a different perspective from the lake.

Everyone is happy to visit Quelat. A weird and wonderful microclimate.

I wore neoprene booties instead of socks. Inside my feet were warm, wet and smelly.

Queulat National Park is is 23-kilometers away from pretty Puyuhuapi town, the normal jumping off point for travelers.

related – Ventisquero Colgante: The Hanging Glacier of Queulat

Darwin’s Frog trail, Pumalín, Chile

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Distance: 2,5 km. loop

Difficulty: easy

Darwin’s frog is native to the forest streams of Chile and Argentina.

The most striking feature of this frog is the tadpoles’ development inside the vocal sac of the male.

Sadly it’s endangered in 2019 due to habitat loss and amphibian disease.

It’s tiny. You’d never be able to find one in this park. Or anywhere.

Darwin’s Frog relies on camaflague and tricks.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

This hike is an interpretive trail showing the damage done to the temperate rain forest by farming. AND how Pumalín is allowing nature to return it to rain forest.

At the information kiosk at the park gates you can sign out waterproof cards explaining each species, guiding you through the circuit.

If you get anywhere near El Amarillo, Patagonia, be sure to do this short walk. There are other longer hikes nearby in Pumalín, as well.

Pumalín, Chile – Volcán Chaitén trail

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Duration: 2½ hrs round trip.
Distance: 4,4 km round trip.
Return: Same route.
Difficulty: Medium-High.

In May of 2008, Volcán Chaitén erupted after 9000 dormant years, causing tremendous damage to Chaitén and Pumalín, and even into Argentina. The park was closed for two years, during which extensive restoration work was conducted.

Parque Pumalín 

Volcán Chaitén seen from commercial airliner 2008

This hike is not dangerous, but it is strenuous.

From the trailhead the volcano looked too far away. I assumed — correctly — that they still wouldn’t allow hikers to get very close.

It’s a steep climb. Interesting to see what vegetation has recovered over the past 10 years.

You arrive suddenly at a crater rim lookout.

It’s an impressive panorama looking over to the still very active mountain.

Another gorgeous day in Patagonia.

Check my cyclist’s tan!

hiking Lake Chaiguata, Chiloe, Chile

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I cycled in to the Lake Chaiguata as part of my Patagonia bikepacking trip. Cycling is a great way to get to trailheads in this remote part of the world.

Parque Tantauco is fantastic. And fantastically well organized and funded.

The campsites are as good as I’ve seen anywhere. They put down wood chips to keep them dry.

There are a number of day hikes of various lengths, all well signed.

This is a wet, wet landscape. Thus they’ve built a LOT of boardwalk. And I love boardwalk.

Though the topography is fairly flat, trails are built to take you to overlooks.

It’s an interesting place.

This is the start of the best hike in Chiloe, the 4-8 day Sendero Transversal hut-to-hut.

best hike Chiloe Island, Chile

Sendero Transversal is by far the best hike in remote Chiloe.

I cycled in to the Lake Chaiguata trailhead staying only 1 night and did some day hiking. 

It’s a unique and impressive Park. Very well organized.

Tantauco Park (Spanish: Parque Tantauco) is a 1,180 km2 (456 sq mi) private natural reserve on the south end of Chiloé Island in Chile.

The park was created by Chilean business magnate and President of Chile Sebastián Piñera in 2005 …

The park is open to the public with two campgrounds and a 150 km (93 mi) network of hiking trails. …

Tantauco Park is an attractive ecotourist destination due to the remarkable biodiversity of its nearly untouched Valdivian temperate rainforest and the rather easy public access. Precipitations in the area average about 2,500 mm (98 in) annually. …

Details on the Sendero Transversal.

  • 4 – 8 days
  • hike only 1 direction (counterclockwise)
  • download the map
  • start Lake Chaiguata, finish Inío
  • hut to hut
  • maximum 8 hikers / day
  • exit by floatplane or boat
  • peat bogs, Tepu forests, Cypress trees
  • plenty of boardwalk
  • trails well maintained, but you’ll be getting wet
  • only about 7000 people / year visit this Park
  • there are a couple of other multi-night options

Click PLAY or watch on trip on YouTube.

related:

Home page – parquetantauco.cl (Spanish)

WikiTravel – Parque Tantauco

Wikipedia – Tantauco Park