Autumn, Fall, Otoño… it is the perfect season to enjoy the beauty of the colour changes in the forests around Pucón. Even the locals take a day off work and head out the the hills to absorb the beauty of the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows offset against the lush evergreens that punctuate the skylines.
Mid-April to end June is the perfect time to observe this natural phenomenon.
But where is the best place to do it? Here is our advice on the best places to snap some phenomenal shots for yourself.
#1. Huinfiuca Lagoon
Huinfiuca is a great option for getting off the beaten track. Past Curarrehue - the Mapuche community just 40 minutes from Pucón - continue out on the road towards the border with Argentina. Where you find the pretty Quilellhue lagoon on the left hand side there is also a small car park. Just a bit further up on the right is the entrance to a narrow trail up to Huinfiuca lagoon. The walk is fairly flat and short and opens up to the Huinfiuca lagoon itself where the Lanin volcano offers the perfect panoramic picture postcard shot flanked by the brilliant forest colours.
#2. Huerquehue National Park
Created in 1967 to protect the local flora and fauna, Huerquehue National Park has long been a favourite for visitors to Pucón. Just 33 km to the west of town and with 12.500 hectares to escape into, it's a great option for longer overnight treks such as San Sebastian trail, or the shorter day walk to the 3 Andean lagoons. Failing that, you can just enjoy the colours from the base with maybe a short trek to the steep Nido de Aguila (Eagle’s Nest) waterfall.
Before heading out there do have a go at getting your tongue around the pronunciation of the name, which means "Place of Messengers" in the Mapudungun language. Huerquehue [weh-kay-weh]. Forget the "H"; don't bother as it is silent!
#3. El Cañi Reserve
Close to Pucón and not as frequented as Huerquehue National Park, El Cañi rewards with some stunning views and beautiful trails.
This option does require some hiking but the views from the summit will most definitely reward you! A community run reserve just a few km outside of Pucón on the road to the hot springs, El Cañi was saved from the onslaught of forestry in the early 90's. Now this area is filled with trails, camping huts, hidden lagoons and surprise views of the volcano and surrounding mountains in-between the ancient araucarias. A beautiful place for photography and surprises at every turn.
#4. Base of Villarrica volcano
Villarrica National Park covers a huge area and offers some great options for shorter or longer hikes. There are a couple of options that begin right by the ski centre base which makes for a short 30 minute trip up the volcano road. The first is the overnight Villarrica Traverse, which is a hit with the more adventurous. The second option is a much shorter trek (2 hours) to the Cráteres Parásitos (Parasitic Craters) will also afford you impressive glimpses of the colour changes of the dense native forest. Villarrica National Park is not all about the full day ascent of Villarrica volcano itself!
There you have it! Some great options to get out into nature, enjoy the scenery but also to marvel at the raw beauty of the changing colours. Simply the perfect place to become a snap happy amateur photographer!
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