Patagonia and Altiplano Expedition | #13 – Parque Nacional Alerce Andino

After visiting the Isla Chiloé we drove back to Puerto Varas. We spent another week there doing the 10,000 km service at Ford Difor in Puerto Montt, processing the backlog of images we shot in the last weeks, and writing blog posts about our experience in Chile.

In addition, we wanted to visit the Parque Nacional Alerce Andino during that time. It is located east of Puerto Montt and was founded in 1982 to protect the very old Alerce trees (up to 3000 years).

The Parque Nacional Alerce Andino is also part of the La Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia, a route to 17 different national parks throughout southern Chile, from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn. On the following website, you can find lots of information about this route and the national parks:

The Parque Nacional Alerce Andino can be visited in two different sectors.

Sargazo Sector

Close to the Lago Chapo is the entrance to the Sargazo sector. You can find some huge Alerce trees there which are more than two-thousand years old.

There are two shorter trails in this sector: the Sendero Laguna Sargazo (ca. 2,5 km and 2 hours) and the Sendero Los Ulmos (ca. 800 m and 30 minutes).

Shortly after the start of the Laguna Sargazo trail, you must cross a suspension bridge.

The trail ends at a nice lake surrounded by a forest.

The short Los Ulmos trail leads through a stunning rainforest. We liked it much better than the Laguna Sargazo trail.

Lago Chapo

After visiting the Sargazo sector we drove to the nearby Lago Chapo and spent the late afternoon there, relaxing from our day hikes in the national park.

Las Chaicas Sector

A couple of days later we went to the Las Chaicas sector of the Parque Nacional Alerce Andino. There, we hiked the Salto Rio Chaica Trail. It’s 8 km long (to the waterfall and back) and took us about 4 hours (including many stops for photography). It leads through a lovely rainforest and along a couple of smaller streams and waterfalls.

At the end of the trail, you can find a 3000-year-old huge Alerce tree (Alerce Milenario) and the Salto Rio Chaica waterfall.

It was also the second day of our trip where we had to wear our full rain gear. For half an hour we even had a snowstorm at the waterfall.

Birds in Puerto Varas

Back in our base camp near Puerto Varas, Linnéa used the remaining days there to shoot some more images of the beautiful local birds.

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