Ansorena 425 local 4 · Pucón · Chile · · · Phone/Fax (56) 452444040 · Mobile phone (56) 9-93536886
Home > Excursions > Hikes > "Los Lagos" Trail
Villarrica National Park:
  Mirador Los Cráteres
  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


"Los Lagos" Trail – Huerquehue National Park
It is the most popular excursion in the Huerquehue National Park. Its main attraction is the forests of ancient araucaria trees that surround the lakes in the high zone. Seeing them is a magical experience that makes some wonder about the small and ephemeral the human being is in comparison to nature. In summer, the brave ones can even swim in the cold waters. You can also see a variety of birds, especially ducks, and with luck and patience you will also be able to see the carpenter at work, with its impressive red head.
General Information:

Distance and duration:
There is the option to make the Small Circuit that visits the lakes Chico, Verde and Toro, or the Big Circuit which includes also the lagoons Los Patos and Huerquehue.
Small Circuit: From the CONAF control there are 12.9 kilometers up and back, 4½ o 6 hours. Starting point at 780 meters, maximum height 1.350 meters, total ascent 730 meters.
Big Circuit: 16.2 km up and back, 5½ to 8 hours. Starting point at 780 meters, maximum height 1.480 meters, total ascent 1080 meters.
If you drive until the beginning of the trail, you can take 3.6 kilometers and 40 to 50 minutes.

Physical demand:
Small Circuit: low to moderate, but you must not underestimate the 500 meters ascent to get to the first lake, but making the necessary pauses it can be a familiar excursion.
Big Circuit: moderate.

Easy, the trail is well marked with signs.

Best time to do it:
December to May. From June to November, it is not possible to make the Big Circuit that incudes the ponds Los Patos and Huerquehue. Although the park remains usually open all year round, after heavy snow fall, Conaf may restrict access and allow only to walh up to Nido de Águila waterfall.

We recommend trekking boots and hiking poles. There are some muddy parts after rain and ice melting. In the dry season it is enough with good sport shoes. Even though you could drink water from the lakes, it is better to take along enough water, since there are no rivers in the way uphill.

Entrance fee:
CONAF charges $ 3.700 to Chileans and $ 7.400 to foreigners.

How to get there:
From Pucón, take the road to Caburgua until km 20. There you have to turn right, there is a sign to Huerquehue National Park, and you have to continue through a gravel road that gets to the hamlet of Paillaco at km 27. From here the road continues uphill to reach at km 32 the Tinquilco Lake and at km 34 the entrance to the park where is the rangers’ control office and visitor’s center of CONAF.
The road continues in regular condition (not recommended for low vehicles) for about two kilometers until the end of the lake, where there is a parking lot that charges for the spot.
There is public transportation (Buses JAC) until CONAF. Along the shores of the Tinquilco Lake there are several simple campsites, a couple of bed & breakfast, and two nice hostels. It is possible to get bread, eggs and some basic groceries, but it is better to bring what you need from Pucón.
Route description:

From CONAF, only 300 meters ahead you have the option to take the Trail Ñirrico. Meanwhile the gravel road climbs to a certain height above the lake; the trail gets down and almost touches its waters. During the walk you will find five signs with information about the flora and fauna of the park. 800 meters ahead, the road and trail get together and cross several private properties that are located at the end of the lake. Then the road gets to a ford through the main water entrance to the Lake Tinquilco, which is also the outlet of the small lakes we are going to visit. If you are driving a car, it is better to park here, since the road ends shortly afterwards.
A fallen trunk serves as a pedestrian’s bridge over the river. To the left there is the nice Refugio Tinquilco Lodge which offers bed& breakfast. Here starts the trail marked “A los lagos” (To the lakes). The path climbs an old timber trail along the mountain slopes through a forest with giant coigües, mañíos and a lot of quila (bamboo). 30 minutes after the ford and after walking through a plateau, we cross a fence that indicates that we are entering again the National Park. Then we cross a small shelter from CONAF with potable water. Immediately afterwards there is a marked detour to see the waterfall Nido de Aguila (Eagle’s Nest).
Now starts the steepest part of the trail, going on zigzag and gaining quickly height. Almost all of the part uphill goes under the shadow of the forest; there are only two viewpoints to the Lake Tinquilco with the Villarrica Volcano at the bottom. There is another short detour to the waterfall Trufulco. After climbing about 1 to 1½ hours in all, we will see the first araucarias, and immediately we get to a small hill at a height of 1.250 meters. Now the trail gets downhill to the Lake Chico with its crystal clear waters and surrounded by impressive 500 to 1.000 years-old araucarias. After continuing along the lake, we get to a bifurcation: to the right there is shortly ahead the Lake Toro, but we suggest taking the trail to the left that, after a small climbing, will lead you in less than 10 minutes to the Lake Verde. Near its outlet there are good places for a picnic. There is a trail that continues along the lake to the left with nice views that ends at a shore point.
The main trail crosses the outlet of Lake Verde, continues through the other shore and soon gets uphill again. After 5 minutes we get to a bifurcation: here the Circuits Big and Small separate.

The trail to the right crosses a hill a will soon bring you to Lake Toro. When it comes together with another trail, you have to take again the one to the right to get in 15 minutes to the bifurcation at the end of Lake Chico and get back through the same trail we came from.

To take the Big Circuit, at the bifurcation after Lake Verde you have to take the trail to the left. It continues uphill, but not as steep as before. The forest is not so thick here, and the lenga is the main tree you will see. This area is full with wild flowers in the springtime, and in the fall the tree leaves turn red. About 30 to 40 minutes after leaving Lake Verde you will reach the small Laguna Los Patos. Near its outlet there are a number of young araucaria trees, about a meter high. Now you are over 1.450 meters.
From the Laguna Los Patos the trail turns to the southeast and starts to go downhill towards the Lagoon Huerquehue that you will reach in 20 minutes. Here there is marked detour to the Hot Springs of Río Blanco which are about a 5-hour-walk ahead. The trail to the right continues downhill and will bring you in 15 to 20 minutes to the north shore of the Lake Toro. Then it goes along its full length in a continuous up and down. After 15 minutes it comes together with the trail of the Small Circuit, which comes directly from Lake Verde. Shortly afterwards there is marked detour “La Puntilla” which ends in the shoreline in a big rock, a good place for a refreshing dip in the waters. Few minutes later you will get to the end of Lake Toro and then the bifurcation to Lake Chico closes the circuit and you will have to take back the same trail you used uphill.


Support for this hike:

You can hire an English or German speaking guide for this excursion for Ch$ 80.000 (US$ 100).

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$ 40.000
Dropping off and picking up (on the same day):
Ch$ 70.000
Transfers both ways, including bilingual guide on the hike:
Ch$ 100.000

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 of Tinquilco lake and Villarrica volcano

Bridge over the Lago Chico outlet

Araucaria trees near Lago Verde

Araucaria bark

Laguna Huerquehue

Flowers from the alstromerias family

Lago Toro

The Huerquehue National Park keeps its beauty also in winter


For more information, please contact us at:

TravelAid · Ansorena 425 local 4 · Pucón · Chile · ·
Phone/Fax (56) 452444040 · Mobile phone (56) 9-93536886 · ·