Alerce Andino NP

  • © JanOSpixeles
  • © JanOSpixeles
  • © Tim Waters
  • © jackripper
  • © Tim Waters
  • © Tim Waters
  • © Tim Waters
  • © Tim Waters

Key information: Alerce Andino NP

  • In contrast to the best known national parks, such as Torres del Paine, Alerce Andino is one of the least restrictive in Chile. Walkers can wander freely from the trails, and wild camping is permitted. 
  • Ice carved landscape is coated in a unique, dense temperate rainforest of ancient alerce trees, a protected species endangered by historical deforestation and a naturally slow reproduction rate. 
  • Wind through the valleys of Alerce Andino and climb to Paso Triangulo on the long trail skirting Laguna Fria, or take a short day walk up to the fjord-like Lago Triangulo.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating79
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest18
  • Human interest0
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating79
  • Note: Negs: likely bad weather and tracks

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: Paso Triangulo, between 1,200m and 1,600m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
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© JanOSpixeles

WALK SUMMARY

Envisage the beautiful English Lake District, on a grand scale. Now, add in vast snowcapped volcanoes, glaciers and acres of ancient forest... welcome to Chile's Los Lagos region. 

Slightly to the east of the gateway town of Puerto Montt, a growing port stretched around the Seno Reloncavi bay and nestled in amongst the foothills of the Andes, is the little visited Lake District national park of Alerce Andino. Here, whilst glaciers are a thing of the past, they have left in their wake an ice-carved scenery of lakes and valleys, coated in alerce forest. 

Alerce Andino was created in 1982 to protect these unique temperate rainforests of alerce, a tree species which can live for nearly 4,000 years but which, owing to overcutting and a slow reproduction rate, has rapidly become endangered. This protected reserve is also home to some classic Andean wildlife ? the little southern pudu (one of the world's smallest deer) and the tiny marsupial monito del monte ("little mountain monkey"). 

Chile's Lake District is one of its wettest areas, with a climate reminiscent of maritime Northern Europe; there is lots of mud and vegetation can grow at an astonishing rate. The paths are resultantly sometimes difficult to navigate - be prepared for a fair amount of hacking your way through wild undergrowth, clambering over tree trunks and wading through mud and water.

For those who are prepared to brave these perils, however, stunning forest-filled vistas of the Andean foothills await. The undergrowth is dotted with red and pink wildflowers, whilst in summer the fragrant blossoms of the ulmo bloom attract delicate, hovering hummingbirds. Wooden walkways and stairs wind through dripping rainforest and past roaring waterfalls; trees cling to slopes where they can, leaving only the sheerest cliffs bare. 

Alerce Andino is an isolated wildlife refuge, walking here the perfect counter to the more regimented, and certainly more profiteering, areas closer to the main tourists centres. In direct contrast to the more popular national parks, Alerce Andino is one of the least restrictive in Chile. Walkers can wander freely from the trails, and wild camping is permitted. You can choose from a number of day and multi-day walks. For one of the best trails, wind through the river valleys and ancient forests of Alerce Andino and climb to Paso Triangulo on the long trail skirting Laguna Fria. A shorter, day walk will take you up to the fjord-like Lago Triangulo.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

© jackripper

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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© Tim Waters...
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