Huerquehue National Park is located near the central midway part of Chile near the border of Argentina. The park encompasses an area of 48 square miles (125 sq km) creating one of the smaller national parks within the country.
The mountainous landscape varies in elvation from 2,362 to 6,562 feet (720 to 2,000 m). The park is known for the Araucaria forests which is affectionately known as teh monkey puzzle. The foothills, neighboring Andes mountains, and the temperate rainforest work together creating astounding landscape sceneries.
There are several lakes which are closed not flowing into any river. Collectively, there are approximately 20 different bodies of water which many would be referred to as ponds.
The Valdivian temperate vegetation is characterized by Andean-Patagonian forests. Additionally, there are deciduous trees with variations from Andean to High-Andean. The most renowned tree in the park is the previously referrenced Araucaria.
The park is home to the pudu which is the world's smallest deer. Other wildlife includes kodkod, long-clawed mole, and the Andean fox. It is not known as a bird watching area, but some of the popular species include the peregrine falcon, Andean condor, magellanic woodpecker, and the black-necked swan.
The Valdivian temperate rainforest serves as the heart of the park. However, one of the highlights of the vegetation is the Araucaria.
The Araucaria is an evergreen coniferous tree that is affectionately referred to as the monkey puzzle. The massive tree reaches a height of 262 feet (80 m). The branches are blanketed with a needle-like leaf spreading out from tree creating almost a saucer like shape around the tree.
This tree is considered sacred by the Mapuche which are the indigenous inhabitants of the south-central region of Chile. The seeds of the tree were often harvested as a source of food. The tree can live more than 3,000 years.
Huerquehue National Park Trails
Hiking the amazing trails bring visitors into a more intimate encounter with nature with every step taken. Trekking through the forest is the most popular activity of the park.
Los Lagos Trail
This is an 8 mile (13 km) trek along Lake Chico, Lake Verde, and Lake Toro. The journey is rated moderate. Hikers can expect striking panoramic and stunning backdrop views.
Los Lagos Trail 2
This is longer trek covering 10 miles (16 km) around the same Lake Chico, Lake Verde, and Lake Toro. However, this trek adds in Lake Los Patos and Lake Huerquehue.. The journey is also rated moderate. Hikers can expect striking panoramic and stunning backdrop views.
This hike up Qunchol Hill covers a distance of 5 miles (8 km). The elevation gain delivers the moderate rating. Hikers will appreciate the effort after experiencing the stunning views offered along the way.
Huerquehue Main Trail
This 16.5 mile (26.55 km) trek features an elevation gain of 5,036 feet (1,535 m). It is rated moderate, but it creates a marvelous opportunity for those who wish to backpack through this amazing forested landscape. The hike will provide opportunities to see wildlife, wildflowers, lakes, mountains, and of course the incredible forest.
Huerquehue National Park was created to protect the Valdivian temperate rainforest and the habitat of several species that are either vulnerable or already endangered. In particular, the park was established to protect the Araucaria tree, also called monkey puzzle, which has historical significance to the Mapuche people.
- Araucaria Forests
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