Discover the Impressive National Parks of Chile: From the Araucanía Region to Magallanes

Chile is known for its diverse geography and impressive natural landscapes. From the Araucanía Region to Magallanes, the country offers a variety of national parks that stand out for their beauty and biodiversity. These protected areas are ideal for nature and adventure lovers. Here, we explore some of the most emblematic national parks in this vast and wonderful region.

Araucanía Region

Conguillío National Park

Located in the Araucanía Region, Conguillío National Park is famous for the majestic Llaima Volcano and its impressive landscapes dominated by ancient araucaria forests, crystal-clear lakes, and rivers. It is a paradise for hiking and birdwatching. The park also features Lake Conguillío, whose surroundings offer spectacular views and picnic areas.

Conguillío National Park, established on May 26, 1950. The park protects a rich biodiversity. Key flora includes araucaria or pehuén, Cordilleran cypress, lleuque, dwarf radal, and Andean canelo. The fauna includes puma, guiña, black woodpecker, monito del monte, striped brown lizard, Darwin’s frog, and freshwater tollo. Services include food sales, kayak and boat rentals, trails, cabin rentals, camping sites, and picnic areas, available until mid-autumn, depending on weather conditions. Access is via several routes: from the south by the Temuco-Cunco-Melipeuco route to Truful truful sector, from the north by Victoria or Lautaro-Curacautín to Captren sector, and from the west via Temuco-Cajón-Vilcún-Cherquenco to Los Paraguas sector.

  • Area: 60,832 hectares (150,335 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Huerquehue National Park

This park is known for its beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and native forests. The trails lead visitors through spectacular mountainous landscapes, offering panoramic views and the opportunity to see local flora and fauna. Notable lakes include Lake Verde and Lake Toro, while Nido de Águilas waterfall is a must-see.

Huerquehue National Park was created on June 9, 1967. The park features diverse flora, including coigüe, lenga, and araucaria. Fauna includes Valdivian mole mouse, the choroy, matuasto lizard and Darwin’s frog. Visitors can access the park via the road from Pucón to Caburgua.

  • Area: 12,500 hectares (30,888 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

If you want to know more parks in the Araucanía region you can visit this link

Los Ríos Region

Villarrica National Park

Part of this park extends into the Araucanía Region. It is home to Villarrica Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Chile, and offers various outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and volcanic excursions. Additionally, the park features natural hot springs like the Geometric Hot Springs, perfect for relaxing after a hike.

Villarrica National Park, established in 1940, spans the provinces of Cautín and Valdivia. The park’s flora includes araucaria, lenga, and ñirre, while its fauna comprises Bridges’s degu, the peregrine falcon, the bushy-tailed lizard, Darwin’s frog and the percatrucha. Visitors can explore the park from Pucón, Coñaripe, or Palguín.

  • Area: 63,000 hectares (155,676 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Alerce Costero National Park

This park protects one of the last stands of alerce trees in Chile, ancient trees that can live up to 4,000 years. Visitors can enjoy hikes through these ancient forests and explore the unique biodiversity of the region. The Los Alerces Trail is especially popular, offering an immersive experience in this prehistoric environment.

Alerce Costero National Park was established on October 15, 2010. The park’s flora includes alerce, mañío, and tepa, while its fauna features puma, güiña, and the Magellanic woodpecker. Access is from the city of La Unión or the town of Corral.

  • Area: 24,882 hectares (61,490 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Los Lagos Region

Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park

The oldest park in Chile, established in 1926, is located in the Los Lagos Region. It is home to Osorno Volcano, Lake Todos los Santos, and the Petrohué Waterfalls. It is an ideal place for sport fishing, rafting, and hiking. The park also offers the Volcano Route, a trail that allows the observation of several volcanic cones.

Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park is rich in flora, including coigüe, lenga, and alerce. Fauna includes pudú, puma, and the Chilean flicker, among the birds, the most important ones are the correntino duck, the black woodpecker, the small hummingbird, the common tagua, the eagle and the kingfisher. Visitors can access the park from Ensenada via Route 225.

  • Area: 253,780 hectares (627,134 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Chiloé National Park

Located on Chiloé Island, this park offers a unique mix of coastal landscapes and evergreen forests. It is known for its rich local culture and biodiversity, including endemic species of flora and fauna. Highlights include Cole-Cole Beach and the trail leading to Lake Huillinco.

Chiloé National Park was created on November 17, 1982. The park’s flora includes tepú, ulmo, and canelo, while its fauna features Chiloé fox, Chiloé mountain monkey, Chiloé mole mouse, Chiloé tree mouse, pudú, sea otter, river otter, and common sea lion. With respect to birds, it is possible to observe the Chiloé conch, Chiloé rayadito, Chiloé diuca, cuca heron, caranca, rock cormorant, southern pylpilén, kestrel and black woodpecker.

There are three ways to access the park

Sector Cucao-Chanquín:

  1. From Castro, head south on Route 5.
  2. After approximately 24 km, turn at the Notuco junction.
  3. Drive 34.5 km to reach Cucao.
  4. The total journey takes about 90 minutes.
 

Sector Chepu:

  1. From Ancud, drive south on Route 5 to the Chepu River junction (about 25 km, 30 minutes).
  2. Continue west on the gravel road to Puerto Anguay (14 km).
  3. From Puerto Anguay, take a boat downstream on the Chepu River.
  4. Continue on foot along the coastal trail (14 km) to reach the Lar River, where the park ranger’s house is located (about 5 hours total).
 

Sector Abtao:

  1. From Castro, head north on Route 5 to Llau Llao.
  2. Turn west, crossing the Puchagrán bridge and the Chilcón River, to reach the Pichihue farm (12 km).
  3. After a 2-hour journey from the farm, you will reach the park area.
  4. Continue on a trail that crosses the Piuchén mountain range (8 hours), finally arriving at the mouth of the Curi and Abtao rivers.
 
  • Area: 43,057 hectares (106,399 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Aysén Region

Laguna San Rafael National Park

This park is famous for the San Rafael Glacier, which descends from the Northern Patagonian Ice Field to the lagoon of the same name. Visitors can take boat trips to get a close look at this impressive glacier. Additionally, marine wildlife such as dolphins and sea lions can be seen during the trip.

Laguna San Rafael National Park was created in 1959. The park’s flora includes cypress, lenga, and coigüe, while its fauna includes sea lions, dolphins, and the Andean condor. Access is primarily by sea from Puerto Chacabuco.

  • Area: 1,742,000 hectares (4,304,896 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Queulat National Park

Home to the spectacular Hanging Glacier, Queulat National Park offers landscapes of mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls. It is a popular destination for trekking and nature observation. The trail to the Hanging Glacier viewpoint provides stunning views of the glacier suspended above the valley.

Queulat National Park, established in 1983, features flora such as coigüe, lenga, and arrayán. Its fauna includes pumas, güiñas, and the Magellanic woodpecker. The park can be accessed via the Carretera Austral route 7.

  • Area: 154,093 hectares (380,687 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic Region

Torres del Paine National Park

One of the most famous parks in Chile and the world, Torres del Paine is known for its iconic mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. It offers world-class trekking routes, such as the W Circuit and the O Circuit, attracting adventurers from around the globe. The park is also home to rich wildlife, including guanacos, condors, and pumas.

Torres del Paine National Park was established on May 13, 1959. The park’s flora includes lenga, ñirre, and calafate, while its fauna includes guanacos, pumas, and the Andean condor. 

It can be accessed by a 250 km paved road between Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales and then 150 km along Route 9 North. Alternatively, you can take the Y-290 road, known as Lago Porteño, an 80-kilometer route that connects Puerto Natales with the park. Another important access route is the Río Don Guillermo border crossing, located in Villa Cerro Castillo, 52 km from the Sarmiento gate.

  • Area: 227,298 hectares (561,665 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Pali Aike National Park

This park, located in the Patagonian steppe, is known for its unique volcanic landscapes and geological history. It offers a different experience with impressive rock formations and an almost lunar atmosphere. Visitors can explore caves and lava fields, as well as observe local wildlife such as foxes and rheas.

Pali Aike National Park was created on June 23, 1970. The park’s flora includes coirón and mata negra, while its fauna features guanacos, pumas, and rheas. Access is from the town of Punta Delgada.

  • Area: 50,583 hectares (125,028 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Bernardo O'Higgins National Park

The largest park in Chile, encompassing a large part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, is primarily accessible by sea. It is home to spectacular glaciers like the Pío XI Glacier, one of the few glaciers in the world that is still advancing. Boat tours allow visitors to get close to these ice giants and enjoy the imposing landscape.

Bernardo O’Higgins National Park was created on October 22, 1969. The park’s flora includes coigüe de Magallanes, Güaitecas cypress and canelo. Its fauna includes Huemul, sea lions, imperial cormorant, condor, eagle and gull. The park is accessed mainly by boat from Puerto Natales or Villa O’Higgins.

  • Area: 3,525,901 hectares (8,710,001 acres)
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Torres del Paine National Parks

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