The best hikes in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

hike lake volcano district

Discover the best hikes in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!

 

If you are an avid hiker, nature lover or fellow traveler looking for some amazing landscapes, here’s a list of the best hikes you can find in Chile’s Lake & Volcano District!

 

chile hiking trails
Hiking through the Villarrica National Park at the heart of Chile’s Lake and Volcano

 

Kutralkura Geopark – Christmas Crater Hike

 

The Christmas Crater is a pyroclastic cone of the Lonquimay Volcano located in the Malalcahuello National Reserve. It was formed during the volcanic eruption on December 25 of 1988, and reaches a height of 190 meters from its base.

Hiking Chile Lake and Volcano
Christmas Crater, Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

The hike to the crater is not technical; but you’ll do require mountain gear to climb it in winter as it is covered in snow. However, in summer (from November to Early April), the hike doesn’t require any gear.

Regarding difficulty, it is relatively short, and takes approx. 2 to 4 hours back and forth depending on your walking pace. It is ideal for families with teenagers, or people with little hiking experience.

From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view over the foothills of the Lonquimay Volcano. In addition to the lava field, extended araucarias tree forests, along with view over the Tolhuaca and the Callaqui Volcanoes.

 

Kutralküra Geopark & Tolhuaca Volcano – Lake and Volcano District

 

Coloradito trail hike – Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

hike cerro coloradito
Cerro Coloradito trail hike. Sierra Nevada and Llaima volcanoes at sight.

 

The Coloradito trail, located at the Malalcahuello National Reserve, is a place shaped by tectonic and volcanic processes with an interesting and endemic fauna and flora.

This trail is a good alternative featuring typical landscapes of the Andes mountain range under the watchful eye of the Lonquimay Volcano.

All along the way, you’ll pass through forests of endemic trees such as the araucaria and the lenga tree surrounded by the ground vegetation with a predominance of michay, quila and viola trees.

Called “El Coloradito”, it is unique access to the Lonquimay Volcano that ending near the Coloradito River. The landscape is dominated by the presence of the Lonquimay Volcano and the Sierra del Colorado. During the hike, you can observe the Llaima Volcano and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

 

Cerro Coloradito Trail – Malalcahuello National Reserve

 

Sierra Nevada hike – National Park Conguillio

 

araucaria conguillio chile
The ancient araucaria trees are the highlight of the Conguillio National Park

 

The Conguillio National Park is one of the most outstandings places Chile has to offer. With the stunning Llaima Volcano, Sierra Nevada, volcanic lakes everywhere, araucarias tree forests, endemic fauna and flora, it is a must-see for everyone who wants to visit Southern Chile.

The national park has a wide variety of trails, but without a doubt, the Sierra Nevada hike is the most accessible and offers a wider range of landscape, enough to get a good idea of the natural richness existing in the region.

The Sierra Nevada trail begins from one of the most beautiful beaches of the Conguillio Lake, passes through a spectacular endemic forest with several viewpoints facing the lake along the way. After 3 hours, the trail reaches a clear and an out-of-the woods viewpoint facing the Llaima Volcano and the Conguillío Lake.

 

llaima volcano conguillio
The Llaima Volcano always at sight when visiting the Conguillio National Park

 

The hike is not technical, but does require a minimum of good health as the path can sometimes be steep. In winter, the trail is covered in snow, requiring mountain gear and good hiking experience.

This 10-kilometer long hike is recommended for active people.

 

Sierra Nevada Trail – Conguillio National Park

 

Andean Lagoons hike – Villarrica National Park

 

andean lagoon hike
Villarrica National Park

 

Close to the Argentinean Border, and located at the foothills of the Lanín Volcano, this trail called “Lagos Andinos” is a must-see of the Villarrica National Park. During this amazing hike, suited for families, you’ll visit 3 lagoons in a large endemic forest with Coihues and Araucarias trees and end up in a volcanic landscape dominated by the majestic Lanín Volcano.

 

lanin volcano chile
Lanín Volcano (3.747 meters) is the highest peak in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

 

The hike begins at the shores of the Quillelhue Lagoon at 1200 meters above sea level. After 40 minutes of hiking on a flat terrain, you’ll arrive at the Huinfiuca Lagoon, the perfect spot for picnic.

 

Andean Lagoons Trail – Villarrica National Park

While you visit the park you will witness how the Lanin volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions and you’ll have the fantastic opportunity to see and walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth. You’ll also visit the pristine lakes Quillelhue, Escondido (Hidden), Huinfiuca and Verde (green) with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors.

That is to say, the hike is not technical and only requires a minimum of good health.

 

Huerquehue National Park

 

huerquehue chile
San Sebastian trail hike in the Huerquehue National Park

 

The Huerquehue National Park is located at the foothills of the Andes, 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.

The hike, called “Sendero Los Lagos” starts easy but after a short distance the trail becomes rougher and sometimes steeper, but is still considered a relatively easy hiking level.

On your way to the lakes, you’ll get to see the Nido de Aguilas (nest of eagles) waterfall before the terrain gets steeper, surrounded by gigantic coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and mañíos (Podocarpus nubigena).

 

los lagos huerquehue
Los Lagos trail hike in the Huerquehue National Park

 

The first lookout point is where you’ll get to appreciate the views of Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m / 9.349 feet) and Tinquilco Lake which are absolutely stunning; here you’ll find great photo opportunities as well as chance to reenergize with a snack.

If you’re lucky, you can spot some birds that live in the forests of Nothofagus, such as chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula), black-throated huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii) and the magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) among others.

 

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

 

Once you pass the Trufulco falls, the hike gets a little more demanding. Once you’re over 1000 meters above sea level, you’ll see the first araucarias trees. You’ll then walk through a mixed forest before arriving at the first lake called Lago Chico. It is characterized by its clear waters reflecting the image of hundreds of araucarias, and the snow-capped peaks around.

After visiting the different lakes, you can then start to turn around and walk back to the entrance of the park.

 

El Cañi Reserve

 

El Cañi Reserve is located approximately 21 kilometers from Pucón. This 500-acre private reserve committed to the preservation of the Araucaria Araucania tree species.

This hike, although not technical, does require an overall good physical condition since you’d be constantly walking on a steep terrain until arrival to the final viewpoint. It starts with approx. 1,5 kilometer of flat terrain, and from there you’ll start the stiff climb for 3 more kilometers.

You’ll then arrive at Aserradero Refuge (1000 meters above sea level). It is the entrance of the reserve, with the first panoramic views over the valley and flora. You’ll pass through the Las Totoras Lagoon, Negra Lagoon surrounded by the thousands-year-old Araucaria, Lengua and Coihue trees.

The final path climbs until you arrive at the final viewpoint, your reward. You’ll have a 360° panoramic view over 4 volcanoes, two lakes and the valleys around the Reserve.

Moreover, you can walk around a small path that starts at Laguna negra and takes you to 6 mores lagoons.

 

El Cañi Sanctuary

 

Villarrica Volcano Ascent

 

villarrica volcano chile
Ascending Chile’s most active volcano is one of the best travel adventure when visiting the Lake and Volcano District

 

Without a doubt, the Villarrica Volcano (2847 meters) ascent is a must-do activities if you plan to visit Pucón. As of today, it is one of the most active volcanoes in South America. The climb to its open crater is definitely a one of a lifetime experience.

The adventure starts at approx. 6 am, when the van takes you to the ski center located at 1.300 meters. After putting on your mountain gear, the hike begins with 2 options: use the chairlift, or start walking immediately.

Depending on your walking pace, it will take you approx. 4-5 hours to reach the open crater. From there, you’ll get to have an incredible 360° panoramic view over volcanoes, lakes, mountains and valleys around.

The descent consists in sliding down until the base of the Volcano (approx. 2 hours) where the van awaits you before taking you back to Pucón for a well-deserved rest.

 

Villarrica Volcano Climb

 

Pichillancahue Glacier hike – Villarrica National Park

 

Pichillancahue Trail Hike
Hiking towards the Pichillancahue Galcier through ancient forests

The hike to Pichillancahue is not very famous but will surely take your breath away for its landscape. This is a hike suitable for everyone who seeks connection with nature, from children to elder adults.

This Glacier is located at the Villarrica National Park, Coñaripe side. Youll get to see several majestic snow-capped volcanoes such as Quetrupillan and Rucapillan. The vegetation changes from raulí and hualle forests to araucarias as you ascend to Chinay. The highest point of the day at 1.250 meters / 4.101 feet altitude.

 

Pichillancahue Trail Hike
Pichillancahue trail hike with the Quetrupillan and the Lanín volcanoes

After approximately 1.5 hour of hiking, you’ll arrive at the Pichillancahue Glacier trail. A good spot to relax and eat a good snack to refill energy if needed. The rest of the trail (3.5 hours round trip) leads to a phenomenal glacier covered by black volcanic ashes. Once again, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views of four volcanoes.

This hike is not technical and does not require any mountain gear. The best hiking time is during summer season.

 

Pichillancahue Glacier – Villarrica National Park

 

Visiting Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is definitely a must-do for every hiker & nature lovers.

Take a look at our hiking experiences in Southern Chile for some wild adventures!

What to do around Pucón

Elected Chile’s capital of adventure tourism, and highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, Pucón has so much to offer and lots of outdoor activities to do. Find out the 5 things to do in this beautiful Lake City!

 

 

Villarrica Volcano
Villarrica Volcano

 

Pucón, the dream town of southern Chile, is located at the shores of the Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica volcano. 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile, it belongs to the La Araucania Region.

Lately, this lake city has been recognized world-wide for its ski center, water sports and hiking trails, among many other outdoor activities. Beaches, forests, valleys and the generous nature of Pucón also invite you to dive into the natural hot springs of the area. Between more than 30 excursions you can do around Pucón, you can also access Argentina through the border crossing Mamuil Malal. Thus, it connects the Araucania Region with the Lanín national Park of the Argentinean Republic.

In this post, you will discover what to do in Pucón, and realize why every nature lover and aventurous travelers should add this destination in their bucket list.

 

1) The Villarrica Volcano ascent

 

villarrica volcano chile

 

The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters) is Chile’s most active volcano, and one of the most actives in South America. The idea of climbing it might sound surreal, but is definitely possible to do. It does require a certain level of fitness, but the hike is not technical at all.

You don’t need to bring with you all the mountain gear needed for such activity, since this excursion includes the full equipment. Also, it is very important to know that the weather is very weather-dependent. Indeed, in order to reach the summit, the weather conditions must be optimal: minimal wind and clear sky.

The route of ascent, starting at the foothills of the volcano, allows the most adventurers to reach the open crater. After approximately 4 to 5 hours of hiking, the final reward is the surrounding landscape made of lakes, volcanoes and valleys. If you’re lucky enough, you will get to see some lava flows.

It is worth noting that it is absolutely a hike you cannot miss in Pucón. It is possible to do it all year long, however it is easier to reach the top during spring and summer. In winter, the volcano is totally covered in snow, making the excursion of difficult level.

If you want to climb Chile’s most active volcano, read more about our hiking program around Pucón!

 

villarrica volcano ascent
Villarrica Volcano Climb

 

2) Geométricas Hot Springs

 

Geometricas Hot Springs Chile

 

The Geométricas hot springs are a thermal center, composed of 20 stone pools from 35°C to 45°C. Moreover, they are immersed in the amazing landscapes of native forests of Villarrica Volcano National Park located near Coñaripe.

In addition to enjoying the thermal water and contemplating the landscape, the design is truly unique. Indeed, the facilities were designed by the distinguished national architect Germán del Sol, who subtly intervened the environment, through walkways made of red coigüe wood that connect the different swimming pools.

In Amity, we love to have a good physical activity and then dive in the hot springs!

 

geometricas hot springs
Waterfall at Geometricas hot springs

 

3) Rafting – Trancura River

 

Lower Section

 

rafting pucon chile

 

This outing holds no great dangers and is perfect if you are after a less extreme adventure. It could be a family day-out, a beginner’s introduction to rafting, or a warm-up for the upper river rafting trip. Although it is still exciting and fun!

We invite you to glide through calm stretches of water, admiring the beautiful nature around Pucón.

The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”. Once on the Trancura River, you will experience the full flowing effects of the raft passing over class 3 rapids, along with the sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft.

After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.

 

Upper Section

 

rafting pucon chile

 

This exciting trip is suitable for the ages of 14 to adult and for those looking for lots of excitement without great dangers. Be prepared for 2 hours of pure adrenaline, tackling Class 4 rapids with several drops. The rapids’ names speak for themselves: Last Laugh, Devil’s Throat and Rapid of Fear. There are spectacular views of Villarrica Volcano and smaller Quetrupillán Volcano up the valley.

The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”.

Once on the Trancura River you will experience straight away the full flowing effects of class IV & V rapids along with the booming sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft. Here you will need to row hard to pass over the torrents.

After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.

 

4) Huerquehue National Park

 

huerquehue chile

 

The Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of Los Andes mountain range. 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.

The best way to explore the park is by foot. Indeed, you can choose between various hiking trails crossing the whole territory in which you can observe the local fauna and flora.

 

huerquehue chile

 

The easiest hike is Los Lagos Trail. It is the most popular of the park. The main attraction are the forests of ancient monkey puzzle tree surrounding the lakes on the high area. Observing them might be an overwhelming experience as they make you think about how small and ephemeral the human being can be in front of nature.

In summer, the bravest hikers can swim into the cold water of the lakes. Moreover, you will be able to observe a huge variety of birds like ducks. if you’re lucky, and patient, you might be able to spot the woodpecker and its impressive red head.

 

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

 

5) Villarrica National Reserve

 

villarrica national park
Quetrupillan Volcano at sight

 

Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape.

Dominating the scene, the Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction. In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. In the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.

 

villarrica volcano

 

The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.

 

villarrica national park

 

If you are looking for some wild adventures when visiting Chile, Pucón is the place for you to be! 

Contact us for more info about Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!

 

 

 

 

 

The National Parks of Chile Lake and Volcano District

lanin volcano chile

The Lake and Volcano District is located in Southern Chile covering the area from Temuco to Puerto Varas. Considered a true paradise on earth for every hiking lover. you will fall in love with the incredible national parks. If you are a true lover, you will fall in love with the hiking surrounded by endemic loval & flaura.

As a result, we made you a list of the best national parks to add on your travel bucket list.

Nahuelbuta National Park

Founded in 1941, the Nahuelbuta national park is located on the highest zone of the Nahuelbuta Cordillera, in the Araucanía Region. One of the last strongholds where lives the Araucaría Araucana, it has beautiful hiking trails and natural lookout points.

The park covers an area of 6832 hectares, characterized by big forests of araucaria trees, most of them are thousands-year-old. Actually, it was founded in order to protect the Araucaria tree that is native of the Andes mountain range.

You can hike 2 main walking trails in the Nahuelbuta national park. The first one is Piedra El Águila located 1.460 meters above sea level. There, you can find a lookout point with a spectacular view over the Andes mountain range, the valley, the Pacific coast and ocean. Second, the Cerro Anay (1.450 m.s.n.m) offers a 5-kilometer hiking trail with stunning panoramic views over Los Nevados de Chillán, and the Villarrica volcano.

Nahuebuta national park
Lookout point in Nahuelbuta national park

Conguillío National Park

The Conguillío national park is located 148 kilometers north-east of the city of Temuco. It covers a total area of 60.832 hectares. In Mapundungun, it’s “ko-nquillio” which means “pine nuts in the water”. The name is based upon the abundance of the araucaria trees and the surrounding lakes shaping the landscape of the park.

With an average of 100.000 visitors per year, the Conguillio national park receives an average of 100.000 visitors a year, making it one of the most visited parks of Chile. Recently, it was designated by the BBC as one of the last places on earth protecting the landscape where once lived the dinosaurs.

The famous hiking trail is the Sierra Nevada with amazing views over the Conguillío Lake, Blanco River and the Llaima Volcano. With an area covering approximately 60.883 hectares, the park is also part of the Araucaria Biosphere Reserve.

conguillio national park

Villarrica National Reserve

Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape. The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction.

In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. At the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.

Finally, The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.

villarrica national park
View over the Lanín Volcano – The Andean Lagoons Trail in the Villarrica national park

Huerquehue National Park

The huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, in the Araucanía Region of Chile. It has a an area of 12.500 hectares composed of hills and moutains surrounding small lakes and lagoons of cristaline water.

In Mapundungun, the Mapuche’s native language, it means “place of messengers”. This park was created in 1967 with terrains unoccupied by the colons.

There are 2 main hiking trails available in the Huerquehue. First, los Lagos Trail, is an easy 12-kilometer long in which you can visit waterfalls, lagoons along with stunning views over the Caburgua Lake and the Villarrica volcano. The second, is the San Sebastian Trail, of an intermediate level of difficulty. The hiking trail is approximately 13-kilometer long. The final reward of the hike is the panoramic views over the surrounding volcanoes (Lanín, Villarrica, Quetrupillan, Llaima) and the Tinquilco and Caburgua Lakes.

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

Best time to visit the national parks in Chile’s Lake and Volcano District

If you consider visiting this amazing district during your trip in Chile, we highly suggest you to come in spring/summer. The main reason is the weather. During winter (June to September), it rains and snows in the region, covering all of the hiking trails with snow, making the use of raquets mandatory. In Spring and summer (october to March), it is the ideal time as the weather offers the perfect hiking conditions, and the trails are all cleared.

In fall (April to May), it is a true spectacle of colors. The leaves of the endemic trees lose their green color and slowly switches to yellow and red colors.

If you loved this article and are interested in visiting one of the best parts of Chile, contact us and we will give all the information regarding our hiking tours available