Autumn, Fall, call it what you will, this season is simply delightful in our local endemic forests. We all know that deciduous trees shed their leaves every year in their own cycle of life but many fail to witness how spectacular that change can be on the eye.
There is nothing more revitalizing than escaping into nature at any time of year, so why not make it happen when the colors will take your breath away. Even the locals here in Pucón make time to head out and be dazzled!
The images speak for themselves, but how fit do you need to be to get out there and enjoy the views? The answer to that is simple as there is something for everyone. Those cold crisp days with bright blue skies do happen more than you think down here in the south and are perfect for getting out with your camera and a packed lunch to explore the local area!
If you have the right gear and are happy to get out hiking then you have a few choices. Here are our favorites :
Villarrica National Park : the Crater Trail
This national park is home to the Villarrica volcano that stands guard over Pucón. However, it is also the location of some fabulous trails that take you through the middle of endemic forests and up close to some unusual “parasitic craters”. Located in the midst of a lava field created centuries ago by eruptions of the volcano the views of the volcano and the lake below are spectacular. It is best to book in with a guide from one the of agencies in town for this excursion as at times snow has already fallen on the higher ground changing the equipment necessary and the ease with which you can find the trail.
El Cañi Reserve
This private reserve was bought by North Americans during the early 1990s in a bid to save it from a forestry company who had their eyes on it for logging purposes. Since then ownership and management has been turned over the local community via the Fundación Lahuén who now preserve all trails and camping huts. Just 20 km from town, the proximity to Pucón make this a great option for those not wanting to travel too far. Early snow falls can inhibit passage through the upper trails in the park so do check with the administration before heading out.
Huerquehue National Park : San Sebastian, Three Lagoons or Tinquilco lake
Possible the most well-known national park for day hikes close to Pucón, Huerquehue offers three options : the challenging San Sebastian trek, a guide is a must and the views are spectacular. The Three Lagoons trek is self-guided on a trail which does get steep as it ascends around 900 m. You do need good boots as it can be muddy but you will definitely be rewarded with color explosions reflected in the lagoons that you find at the top. Alternatively, and ideal for families or those who want to observe rather than trek, is to visit the entrance to Huerquehue where you will find Tinquilco lake. You can do a short walk alongside the waters edge on a trail with information about the plants and trees that you find there, you can even try your hand at fishing or kayaking in the lake before a hot chocolate or a Pisco Sour at the refugio that you will find at the base.
Huinfiuca Andean Lagoon
For a self-drive day with a 1-1,5 hour return walk Huinfiuca is a hidden gem! Heading out of Pucón and passing through the Mapuche community of Curarrehue continue as if you were going to cross the border into Argentina. As the paved road begins to climb look out for Quillelhue lagoon on the left and a small parking area just afterwards. From there, a trail begins on the other side of the road which will take you through yellow, orange and red coigues and lengas to the lost Huinfiuca lagoon. Kids will love playing on the sand at the edge of the lake, and photography aficionados will be fascinated with the Lanin volcano backdrop punctuated by the tall lush green araucaria tops standing majestically over the autumn colors below.
We hope you are tempted enough to get out into nature and get snapping those Autumnal shots! For more information on accommodation options and the activities that are available around Pucón feel free to get in touch with Lake Lodge here.
We look forward to welcoming you at Lake Lodge!
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