It is one of the favorite stations of many hikers and photographers, and the Conguillío National Park in the Araucanía Andina, is undoubtedly one of the destinations par excellence to enjoy it. Here during the month of May, the orange and red shades of raulíes and ñirres reach their greatest splendor and today, next to La Baita Conguillío, we want to invite you to discover three perfect trails to enjoy this show in the park.
Conguillío in the Mapuche language comes from the word "Ko-nqulliu" which means "pine nuts in the water" or "between waters" referring to its abundant native forests and its green lagoons that are part of this jewel of the Araucanía Region . It is precisely these natural elements, added to the spectacle of autumn colors, that make this park one of the best destinations to star this season. Between April and May the warm colors of the forest of raulíes and lengas descend from the highest parts of the park to give a sample of unique tonalities that contrasts with the green of the araucarias, coigues and the turquoise of the lagoons.
So that you do not miss this incredible autumnal scene we highlight 3 trails (beyond the emblematic Sierra Nevada) chosen from the recommendations of different adventurers who made excursions in the park at this time of year. Do not miss it!
According to the conservation photographer, Francisco Espíldora, if you have time, an unforgettable route is Pastos Blancos, one of the most extensive paths in the park for hiking enthusiasts, with a distance of 13 kilometers and a duration of five hours (one way)
Just returning from a week-long trip through the region, Francisco witnessed the wonders that Conguillío delivers at this time of year, where he could appreciate nature from the La Baita Conguillío lodge, which he describes as: "an incredible place, very welcoming and where the treatment is very familiar. It is also strategically very well located to go out and explore".
Starting in the Captrén lagoon, this route combines a variety of landscapes in a path that runs along the slopes of the Llaima volcano and that gradually shows its views of the Sierra Nevada and Lake Conguillío. "This time is much more advisable to visit it, since in comparison with other seasons, like the summer where the walks through the fields of volcanic scoria become much heavier, now it is more pleasant. You also get to Laguna Verde, which is always a very nice place.
According to the photographer and founder of Chile Indómito, Jean Paul de la Harpe, one of the places where you can appreciate the autumn in its maximum richness, is the path of the Rainbow Lagoon. An easily accessible route, no more than 1 kilometer, which is recommended especially for families and for any enthusiast who wants to be part of its scenic beauty.
"The interesting thing is that each species of tree has different tonalities. The raulí is not the same color as the ñirre or the lenga but if you contrast them with the araucarias or the coigues it becomes an attractive photogenic mixture, and added to the geography is super interesting. It is a sum of natural factors that meet in a place easy to access ".
The formation of this lagoon dates back 320 years and it is said that its formation is due to the eruption of the Llaima volcano, which with its lava dammed the waters of a stream, flooding part of a natural forest. "The protagonists of this trail are the raulí forests, which begin to acquire a reddish color and which, together with the natural mirror of the lagoon, form a panorama that is unmissable for any photograph," says Jean Paul.
Our third recommendation corresponds to the route that runs along the entire Captren lagoon. Located in the north access of the park, this sector surprises its visitors by the native trees submerged under the water and that are easy to observe.
One of the favorite tours of the trekking and photography enthusiast, Javiera Zerene, who whenever she can, is happy to visit and photograph the birds that inhabit the place, as it is characterized as a slipway of various species who make their stops during their migration period.
Therefore, for amateurs, it is perfect for bird watching where species such as the black carpenter stand out. "In fact, the Committee for the Defense of Flora and Fauna (CODEFF) has chosen the place several times and celebrated its bird festival here for several years," he says.
According to Javiera, its short duration - approximately two kilometers - makes it an ideal journey for families and for those who want to take time to admire the trees and fauna that make up the environment. In addition, the privileged view of the volcano is another factor that makes the path so recommendable.
WHERE TO STAY?
An excellent lodging option is the Baita Conguillío, a lodge that has modular rooms and cabins, and which is located near the southern access to the Conguillío National Park, 18 km from Melipeuco. Surrounded by this millennial landscape, it complements guided outdoor activities, first-class cuisine and relaxing facilities. Generating their own electricity, recycling their waste and purchasing inputs locally, are some of the characteristics that make Baita a sustainable lodge.
This incredible trail is one of the most emblematic and beautiful of the park. The ascent to the Sierra Nevada allows you to enjoy spectacular views of Lake Conguillío and the Llaima volcano from the heights, while advancing amid forests of ancient araucarias.
The excursion covers a distance of around 10 km (roundtrip) and a vertical drop of 550 meters, with an approximate duration of 5 hours. It has an average difficulty, and although it is one of the most demanding trails of the Park in comparison to the others, it is carried out each year by families without major problems. The trail begins in the sector of Playa Linda and is properly signposted.
This trail of 6 km (one way) starts at the park's information center and advances in the middle of lush forests of araucarias, lengas and coigües to Laguna Captrén. It is low difficulty and takes around 2.5 hours (one way). It is especially interesting for bird lovers, since you can see woodpeckers along the way and other species of birds in the wetlands of Laguna Captrén.
The most interesting point of the route is the Araucaria Madre, more than 1,000 years old and 2 meters in diameter that is next to the road. To return you can take the same path back or return by the vehicular road.