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Reserva Nacional Futaleufú

To the southeast of Futaleufú town is Reserva Nacional Futaleufú, a 12,065-hectare park founded in 1998 to protect the huemul (South Andean deer, Hippocamelus bisulcus). Aside from this deer, the reserve is home to puma (Puma concolor), guiña (kodkod, Oncifelis guigna), chingue (Molina's hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus chinga), and zorro culpeo (Patagonian fox, Lycalopex culpaeus). Bird species of note are Carpintero Negro (Magellanic woodpecker, Campephilus magellanicus), Pitio (Chilean flicker, Colaptes pitius), Fiofio (white-crested elaenia, Elaenia albiceps), Rayadito (thorn-tailed rayadito, Aphrastura spinicauda), Martín Pescador (ringed kingfisher, Ceryle torquata), Condor (Vultur gryphus), Cachaña (Austral parakeet, Enicognathus ferrugineus), and Chuncho (Austral pygmy owl, Glaucidium nanum). Three types of forests cover the valleys and hills: evergreen, composed of coihue (Nothofagus dombeyi), tepa (Laurelia philippiana), mañío hembra (Prince Albert’s yew, Saxogothaea conspicua) and Radal (Lomatia hirsuta); forest of lenga (lenga beech, Nothofagus pumilio) and ñirre (Antarctic beech, Nothofagus Antarctica); and ciprés de la cordillera (Chilean cedar, Austrocedrus chilensis).


Presently you may explore four trails:

Veranada Correntoso (Distance: 8.5 km/5 mi, Duration: 6 hours) – to a waterfall

Los Piedreros (Distance: 5 km/3 mi, Duration: 3.5 hours) – through a ciprés de la cordillera forest

La Aguada (Distance: 4 km/2.4 mi, Duration: 3 hours) – from the Río Chico to the Las Escala Sector of the reserve

Quila Seca (Distance: 5.5 km/ 3.3 mi, Duration: 4 hours) – into lenga forest inhabited by huemul.


In the past, it was possible to enjoy these passages on horseback. But since the eruption of Volcán Chaitén, ash covering the countryside has curtailed this activity, for the well-being of the horses.


There is a ranger station at the end of the Río Chico road and another at the Las Escalas sector, due south of Futaleufú village. Entry is free. Conaf is building several refuges along the principal hiking trails and improving trails. The work is projected to be completed in December 2009. A lot of volcanic ash is still present in the park. Until the refuges are built, overnight stays are not recommended. Stop by the Conaf office in Futaleufú for more information and a map of the park (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 2:30-6 p.m. Alsea s/n and Carmona, E-mail:


Bring water, as the streams are not potable due to the ash. The best months to visit the reserve are September-April. The climate is wet and cold, with much snow from early fall to late spring. Wear warm and waterproof clothing.


Other places nearby Reserva Nacional Futaleufú: Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael , Chaitén, Parque Nacional Queulat, Parque Nacional Hornopirén, Villa Cerro Castillo, La Junta, Puerto Aysén, Puerto Chacabuco , Villa Santa Lucía and Bahía Exploradores.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

12 Jun 2009

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