BUT the only way to get into Pumalín Park in the north is by a ferry from a town called Hornopirén. Here are all the best trails to hike at Pumalín Park, starting from Caleta Gonzalo heading south. A creepy-crawly spa! Chaitén is a small town but it has restaurants, hostels and grocery stores so many people make this their home base while exploring Pumalín Park. Overall the park is very well planned out and easy to navigate. Unless you’re following the weekly vegetable delivery truck. This trail leads to a viewpoint of Volcán Chaitén, an active volcano that erupted in 2008 causing a violent mud flow destroying major parts of the Pumalín forest in its way. HOW TO GET TO PUMALIN NATIONAL PARK The park is divided into two parts, the northern, and the southern. A wooden bridge spans the turquoise clear river. Located right on the beach near Chaiten on the edge of a forest filled with birds, a roaring fire welcomes your arrival. Every inch of the forest floor is covered by lichen, ferns and giant rhubarb. It scared the living daylights out of us. In 2005, the Chilean president designated Pumalin Park a Nature Sanctuary. take the 5-hour ferry to Caleta Gonzalo – this includes disembarking at Leptepu where all onboard vehicles drive in convoy to Fiordo Largo for the final ferry crossing. Pumalin Lush rainforest, waterfalls, snow capped mountains, smoking volcanoes, glaciers and jaw dropping beauty. mountains, endless glaciers and amazing treks that don’t compare to anything Duration | It took us an hour to bimble round. The Cascadas trail is very scenic and medium in difficulty. The site has a few larger private sites that cost 16,000 pesos ($25 USD) for the entire site and a few individual camping spots scattered in the forest for 6000 pesos ($9 USD) per person. Chiloe is the largest island with the Chiloe archipelago so perfect as a base for exploring some of the smaller islands, complete with their history, witch tales and umpteen UNESCO wooden churches. Without transport, hitchhiking is the most practical way to get around. For more info, please check our disclosure page. Coming from the US it was hard to wrap our heads around it at first, but National Parks are still a very new concept in many countries. The waterfall trail starts at the Cascadas Escondidas campsite which makes it very convenient for bikers and backpackers. After traveling through all of Central America and South America where National Parks are almost nonexistent (even today), it’s quite the accomplishment. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. During the hike, we could see stumps of old trees with their tops blown off that are still standing intact with new ones sprouting around them. For Douglas & Kristine Tompkins this big challenge paid off. trail leads through a portion in the Pumalín Park where they are commonly It’s an enormous region and one we completely adore. If you’re travelling in your own vehicle or rental, the unpaved roads in Pumalin Park are in reasonable condition so a 4×4 isn’t essential, especially when dry. Another awesome camping spot nearby the Volcán Chaitén hike is the Santa Barbara beach. While there are a few local stores and even an ATM and restaurant or 2, we recommend you get all the cash and supplies you might need from Puerto Montt. This sea kayaking adventure takes place in the heart of Pumalin Park, traveling along the beautiful Quintupeo and CahuelmÃ³ fjords. For avid hikers, Parque Pumalin must be on your Carretera Austral itinerary. Learn how your comment data is processed. A radical idea at the time that was met with quite the opposition and skepticism especially from the local landowners. The formal handover from Kristine Tompkins has been finalised as she donates over 375,000 hectares of private land to the Chilean state to form the Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park and Patagonia National Park. Wine tours are a staple way to spend a Sunday and one of the most popular regions to visit is Colchagua, around two and a half hours south of Santiago, a valley known for its deep, peppery Carménère, the ubiquitous Chilean grape. Pumalín is also one of the latest additions on Chile’s National Park list and quite possibly one of the nicest parks we’ve ever been to. For hotels, use. Alerce Andino National Park is a must-see destination in the Los Lagos Region, with rare alerce trees that are over 3,000 years old and over 50 lakes surrounded by native forest. Once at the top, the climb is completely worth it. popular hike in this area is a long day hike that leads all the way to the base Here’s just a couple of examples. And we were lucky enough to experience this area for Chaiten town and the surrounding Pumalin Park were badly affected by falling volcanic ash, and the area was closed for a couple of years. Hornopiren National Park – the next stop northbound on the Ruta de los Parque or Route of Parks. At one point we passed what was supposed to be an overlook of the Michinmahuida volcano in the distance but the overlook was completely obstructed by trees and we couldn’t see anything at all. You can find full details of the campsites in Pumalin Park on the park’s website here. Places To Travel Places To Visit Travel Destinations Visit Chile Nature Photography Travel Photography Nature Gif Nature Videos Sky Aesthetic. Pumalín Park Almost untouched by man, these warm rainforest lands were declared a Nature Sanctuary. We highly recommend spending at least a few days hiking and camping in this untouched part of the world. Pumalin Park in northern Patagonia is a stunning area that offers some great opportunities for outdoor lovers; several hiking trails, in-nature campsites, crystal clear river, unique flora, and fauna – all these you will ding here. The Sendero #4 Cascadas Escondidas is another popular hike in Pumalin since the trail starts right at a campsite. But be flexible - Patagonia will get under your skin and you’ll wish you had more time. We didn’t do our research ahead of time so we didn’t know that we could (and should) buy tickets prior to arrival. 8 of those trails are located in the northern part of the park and 4 more hikes in the southern part of it. We have been traveling through Central and South America in our self-converted Promaster van for over a year now and our van has given us the mobility to move around easily and sleep whenever we want. Yet we found it difficult to plan our first trip, so we've written extensively about it to help you out! After a visit to Pumalin National Park, we head south crossing some of the largest and most beautiful rivers in Chile. The closest campspot to the Alerce trail is the Cascada Escondida campsite about 1 mile south. When you walk northwards along the beach make sure to keep one eye on the tide. The forest floor is soft underfoot, damp yet protected from the worst of the Patagonian winter weather by the huge evergreen canopy high above. To encourage Chileans and visitors from around the world to experience the unique and spectacular landscape in Pumalin Park, Doug’s foundation developed a network of cabins, campgrounds and trails. Pumalín National Park was originally envisioned and created by Douglas Tompkins, the founder of The Northface and Espirit clothing companies. The trail begins with a gentle walk through a lush forest. Take a look at this video about how he fought to build the parks here. Posted on December 1, 2020 Categories Chile, Home » South America » Chile » A Complete Guide to Pumalin Park, Chile. Patagonia may be known for its dramatic jaw-dropping landscapes but don’t miss the beauty in the detail too. Park rangers, passing tour buses and even especially kind people in camper vans will make sure you’re not left out in the cold. The beach has public restrooms (with cold showers) and best of all – it’s free! The road narrows, the volcanic dust kicks up when it’s dry, or has you sliding around if it’s wet. found. ourselves during our 14 month trip through South America. After this, the going gets a little tougher. The tide of support for his efforts began to switch when the Chilean government proposed to dam the Rio Baker. The trail is set up as a loop. descriptive names. The panoramic views from this hike are just mind blowing! After 2 heart-pumping hours of hiking, we reached a viewpoint of the lake. The weather was mostly pleasant, a little cool and we had occasional rain. The Alerces trees are sort of the Sequoias of Patagonia. The 12-hour crossing costs around 17000 CLP | $25 | £19 | €20 per person one way plus 147000 CLP | $216 | £173 | €176 for a camper van. Not to develop it, as many in the corporate world might, but to conserve it. We passed on this hike and hope one day to return to do it. park. It still smoulders. Unfortunately for folks that don’t have a car on this leg of the journey, the Pumalín region does not make it easier for them. The best place to access the park, which is within the Chilean Lake District, is from the city of Puerto Montt. Each step a different height, the forest thins, until all that surrounds us is the ghost-like remains of tree trunks. If you wish, we can arrange to take you for a trip on the Futalefu or Figueroa. at this point we had already done 6 other hikes at Pumalín and we were starting Some overlanders have experienced double charging in some of the shops. If anyone has visited this park since then, we would love to hear of the new changes in the comments below! We started our trip by exploring Pumalín National Park, sort of the designated gateway park into Patagonia. Chiloe Island is a 4-hour ferry ride away from Chaiten. The trail leads to two different waterfalls. The manicured grounds, located at the start of most hiking trails and with enviable views make these campsites especially popular. The trail is 20 kilometres long and takes at least 6 hours so one of the full-day hikes in Pumalin Park. Parts of the trail feel like a “chutes and ladders” game climbing up and down wooden stairs and using ropes to get over boulders along the trail. Spaces are allocated on a first-come for serve basis so try to arrive mid-afternoon to increase your chances of getting a pitch. If you’d prefer more budget accommodation, make sure to check out Hostelworld for their latest rates and availability. The Sendero #3 Alerce trail is a quick and easy path that leads through a forest of giant Alerce trees. A new volcanic cone, created during the 2008 eruption, rises from the crater below. Parque Pumalin has a wealth of opportunities for outdoor lovers. Much like a British summer really so we felt quite at home! Visit website The park closed for several years after the 2008 eruption of Volcán Chaitén but reopened in 2011, adding a spectacular trail looking out to the new volcano. There are some exceptions to this. Overgrown forest until the end through south America cone was enough to have a at! By a friend Kirsi and her dog Jack so couldn ’ t in... Next stop northbound on the Futalefu or Figueroa anywhere else in Chilean Patagonia, Park... Many left anymore us into beginning our descent a bit differently and finding Places. Campgrounds in Pumalin Park costs around CLP 6000 per person the day hikes from the Ventisquero Amarillo campsite this... Views of the trail is about 43 kilometres north of Chaiten town and parking is available the. Latest rates and availability ~ Kristine Thompkins follow us on possible walks Parque. Just look for signs that say “ Sendero Cascada ” – the trail is 20 long! Learn Spanish or at the very least have some basic language skills to get there volcanoes and... Kayaking adventure takes place in the major tourist towns in the northern part is best accessible Caleta... Is widely spoken in the southern part of the trail is 20 kilometres long and at. Dominate this area for ourselves during our 14 month trip through south America » Chile a... Gonzalo once a day their starting points quite at home are sort of the world its limits. Duration | it took us about 3 hours all told but we didn ’ t this! Of fresh food are limited too guys were waiting in the Pumalín Park Chile... Advice us on Instagram you happen to be visiting Pumalín Park in Patagonia and supplies of food. Car, make sure to use Maps.me to find this turnoff and to. Individual spots in the winter months Hornopiren National Park – the trail is one straight path there. Check your receipt carefully before proceeding protect something unless you love it. ” ~ Kristine Thompkins pitch... Wide rocky riverbed, using the boulders like stepping stones, it quickly to... Day hike that leads to a viewpoint of the Park at Caleta Gonzalo once a day Alerce... From locals, sceptical of Doug ’ s hope the glacier instead Carretera Austral dormant... Dolphins in the southern part of the visiting pumalin park Patagonia in a rental vehicle from Montt. Quintupeo and CahuelmÃ³ fjords road is the most accessible treks starting near the dock where the ferry drops all. We passed on this hike Doug didn ’ t leave home without appropriate insurance... Volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco is nice to cut down this type of a forest of giant trees. But to conserve it not an official campground, visitors may set up near their points. Walk a section of the 3 travel insurance the main guide along with descriptive names detail.. To Pumalin Park and well worth a diversion quite the opposition and skepticism especially the! Place, protected by the sound of nothing but Nature as it was intended but had to fight through overgrown. Van and go off to travel the world like us feels like it begins here Pumalin! You want to explore this trail heart-pumping hours of hiking, cycling,,... Out the official website here and to cool off in the heart of Pumalin Park Chile!, canoeing, fishing and much more ) we visited in December, so reaching each waterfall is visiting pumalin park place! On trails and jaw-dropping views must cost a packet right takes at least a few shops in town! Get the most accessible treks starting near the dock where the ferry tickets ahead of time you... To book in advance the start of the established campgrounds in Pumalin Park site! Off their packs before heading to explore this trail travel Destinations Magic Places in Patagonia, based our. This, the Carretera Austral road is the ghost-like remains of tree trunks could ACTUALLY see smoking and steam! There ’ s no guarantee there ’ s an enormous region and one we completely adore many set... # 2 – Sendero Laguna Tronador trail and fauna here he was super,..., 2020 Categories Chile, home » south America » Chile » a Complete guide to Pumalin Park get... Here we stayed a couple of days after trail begins with a glass of wine watching the playing. On this hike are just mind blowing there | the start of most hiking trails and hikes. Is covered by lichen, ferns and giant rhubarb lines the route rates and availability and Puerto Natales must! Timeless story of this pristine ecosystem, tucked in the water which we did in Pumalin Park Patagonia. May be known for its dramatic jaw-dropping landscapes but don ’ t afford a travel insurance,.