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Home > Excursions > Hikes > "Mirador Los Cráteres" Trail
TREKKING TOURS
HIKES
Villarrica National Park:
  Mirador Los Cráteres
  Pichillancahue
  Los Nevados
  Valle Turbio
  Quetrupillán Ascent
  Villarrica Traverse:
  First Part:
Ski Center - Chinay
("Challupén - Chinay")
  Central Part:
Chinay - Puesco ("Los Venados" and "Las Avutardas")
Huerquehue National Park:
  Los Lagos Trail
  Quinchol and San Sebastián
Villarrica National Reserve:
  Laguna Huesquefilo
Other areas:
  Santuario El Cañi
HORSE RIDING
ETHNOTOURISM
 
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“Mirador Los Cráteres” Trail – Villarrica National Park
This is not a well-known trail, despite how close to Pucón it actually is. Its biggest attraction is the magnificent view to the volcano and lake, and a number of bizarre small craters inside a lava field.
General Information:
 

Distance and duration:
4 km one way, 1½ hours uphill, 1 hour back. Starting point at 1.175 meters, maximum height 1.430 meters, total ascent 280 meters.

Physical demand:
Soft, easy excursion for the whole family.

Orientation:
Easy, the path is marked with iron stakes painted in green, plus additional signs. Only in the last part, the lava field, you must pay more attention.

Equipment:
For the main trail described bellow, it is enough to wear good sneakers. If you want to try the other possibilities, it is better to choose trekking boots and hiking poles.

Entrance fee:
CONAF charges a park entrance of $ 1.500 to Chileans and $ 3.000 to foreigners.

How to get there:
From Pucón, take the road towards Villarrica until the crossing “Al Volcán” on km 1. The road is paved for the first two kilometers, and then changes to a wide and tough gravel road. On km 9 there is the entrance to the National Park with the CONAF control, and immediately afterwards you must take the road to the left with the sign “Cuevas Volcánicas”. The road continues through a slag dump and forest for another 4 kms until you get to the parking lot about 300 meters further than the entrance to the private owned Cuevas Volcánicas (Volcanic Caves). It is a rocky and tough road but, driving carefully, it shouldn’t be a problem for a regular car (only if it is really low).
 
Route description:

The trail begins at the CONAF parking lot about 300 meters after the area of the Volcanic Caves. There is an informative panel. First you go through ancient volcanic slag dumps, mostly covered by local vegetation of coirón and moss. There are isolated groups of lengas. After about 20 minutes you must cross a wide and dry river. To the left there is the edge with the Volcanic Caves. Immediately after that, the trail enters a thick coigüe forest and starts to climb. Then it gets further into the forest and crosses several small creeks with a lot of vegetation, but usually dry. After about 45 minutes walking, you get to a deeper creek. In summer, this small river has the only water you will find during the whole excursion.
The trail continues with a gentle climb, the forest gets lower, with mostly lengas. After one hour since the begin of the excursion you will get a small hill with a sign “Mirador”, from this point you have a beautiful view towards the Villarrica Volcano and the valleys Zanjón Seco and Correntoso. At the back you will see the lakes Caburga and Huilipilún, the Llaima Volcano and the Nevados de Sollipulli.
Now the trail descends towards the volcano. The lenga forest takes turns with Andean prairies. Soon you will find the first signals of lava from a recent eruption. Now it is more difficult to see the trail, which follows the lava flows uphill. Where there are no green stakes, you can use for orientation some branches that are set in the lava.
After one and half hour you will get to the goal: a file of craters about 5 to 10 meters wide, from where the lava flowed to both sides. Some craters are in very bad shape, but others are very easy to recognize. The lava formed interesting folds and it is getting cracked by invasive vegetation. In some parts it gave away, originating low, but several meters deep caverns.

Options:
The craters are at the side of a deep dry creek. There is no trail, but it is possible to get down to the bottom of the creek and follow downriver until get to the path on the way up, at the Volcanic Caves, which roofs you will see many times during the excursion. The hike is not too easy, but it is shorter and faster than using the same way back.
Another option is to follow the craters towards the east over the limit of the forest, until finding another dry river to follow and get out through the valley of the Correntoso River. This excursion must be made only if going with a group, and you must consider about 5 hours walking until getting to the Camino Internacional, if you don’t have the luck of having a car to bring you back.

 

Support for this hike:

Guide:
You can hire an English or German speaking guide for this excursion for Ch$ 35.000 (US$ 70).

Transfers:
If you don't have your own transport, we can organize the transfer for you (please ask at least with one day in advance). These are the different options, all rates for the ride with up to 4 people:

Transfer to the trailhead:
Ch$ 20.000
Transfer to the trailhead and 3 hours waiting:
Ch$ 35.000
Transfers both ways, including bilingual guide on the hike:
Ch$ 50.000

For larger groups over 4 people, please ask for rates.
Note: The rates do not include possible entrance fees.

GPS Rental:
We can also rent you a GPS device with the uploaded track and waypoints you will need.
For detailled information>


 

Click here to see enlarged images


Area map


View towardsVillarrica volcano from the first lookout


Calabozo hills and Lake Caburgua


Row of small volcanic cones


The craters and Villarrica volcano


Old lava flows

For more information, please contact us at:

TravelAid · Ansorena 425 local 4 · Pucón · Chile · info@travelaid.cl · travelaid@gmail.com
Phone/Fax (56) 452444040 · Mobile phone (56) 9-93536886 · ·