Reasons to go to Huerquehue National Park

  • One of Chile's oldest parks, made for day hiking from the adventure hub of Pucón.  
  • Hiking on the shores of Lake Tinquilco and hilltop views of the region's greatest volcanoes.
  • Araucaria (monkey puzzle) forests, home to one of Chile's only marsupials.
  • Well-marked trails to alpine lakes and waterfalls, with year-round accessibility.

About Huerquehue National Park

Yate volcano in Hornopirén National Park, Chilean Lake District

Araucaria trees in Huerquehue National Park

Huerquehue is one of Chile’s oldest protected areas. Covering around 27,500 acres in the Araucanía region, it was first given special status in 1912 under the name of Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna Park (named for the Chilean writer), and was given full national park status in 1967. Its name is a corruption of the Mapudungun word huilquehue or ‘the place of the thrushes’, in reference to the zorzal thrush common to this area. 

The park’s close proximity to Pucón and its plethora of well-marked hiking trails make Huerquehue a popular park to visit. The landscape mostly comprises of the Andean foothills running alongside the shore of Lake Tinquilco, and is threaded with rivers and waterfalls and carpeted with trees. Most of its forest is made up of coïgue and lenga trees, both types of Chilean beech, whose leaves paint the park in fiery oranges and yellows every fall. At higher elevations, they give way to the distinctive evergreen araucaria (monkey puzzle) trees. These are the unofficial symbol of Huerquehue, and hiking amongst them its most iconic activity.

Most of the park's wildlife likes to stay hidden, such as the puma and the pudu (the world's smallest deer), as well as the tiny monito del monte or colocolo opossum, one of Chile's only marsupials.  Looking to the skies, you stand a good chance of seeing Andean condors rising on the thermals and peregrine falcons. In the woods, look out for the choroy, or green-billed parakeet. 

Huerquehue can be visited year-round, although May to September are typically the rainiest months with snow falling at this time at higher altitudes. 

What to See & Do in Huerquehue National Park


Hiking country in Huerquehue National Park, Chilean Lake District

Huerquehue National Park

Huerquehue’s trails are well-marked for day hikers. The Sendero Ñirrico is a 4km trail that starts by the park entrance, and gently takes you through coïgue forest and avenues of bamboo to a stunning viewpoint overlooking Tinquilco Lake. The Sendero Quinchol and Sendero San Sebastián trails are slightly longer and climb quickly through coïgue and lenga forest to thick stands of araucaria trees. As you emerge you are gifted with tremendous views that allow you to tick off many of the region’s volcanoes, including smoking Villarrica and Lanín on the Argentina border, as well as the great body of Lake Carbargua.

If you hike north to the end of Lake Tinquilco, the Huequenes Trail (also known as Lago Verde) takes you through woodland to a succession of small lakes: Chico Verde and El Toro. Past Lake El Toro at Renahue there is a small park-run campsite. If you continue from here you can reach the Río Blanco hot springs where you can bathe – and in theory continue your trek along a gravel road that leads eventually to Lake Cabargua. 

Where to Stay in Huerquehue National Park

Luxury villa at Vira Vira, Pucón, Chile

Luxury villa at Vira Vira

Huerquehue's proximity to Pucón means that most people visit the park on a day trip. If you want to extend your stay, there are numerous official campsites set up along the shores of Lake Tinquilco, which are close the main park entrance, as well as a campsite at Renahue near Lake El Toro that can only be reached by hiking. The Refugio Tinquilco, about 2km inside the park on the Lago Verde trailhead is the only formal accommodation in Huerquehue. 

Halfway between Pucón and Hurquehue, the luxury Hotel Vira Vira is one of our favourite places to stay in the region, set in 55 acres of private land, with a host of excursions on hand to explore the park and surrounding area. 

How to get to Huerquehue National Park

The entrance to Huerquehue National Park is just over 30km east of Pucón along the S-095 road. There are daily buses from Pucón to the park entrance, taking around 45 minutes – typically around four a day in the summer high season, and down to twice day in the winter.

Huerquehue is 122km (a two hour drive) from Temuco's Araucanía airport, the main gateway to this region from Santiago. 

Other Chilean National Parks

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