GPT12 - Río Rahue
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Recent Alerts and Suggestions
- 06.12.19 / Sophie & Hendrik
The following is a chronological accumulation of all our observations made in the last 11 days. Note for navigation difficulties that we walked northbound.
- The most southern CC part direclty north of Liucura is now bordered by fences. You have to follow the path and then go left through a gate. The gate on the western fence is some 80m further south than you would expect. It was locked and we had to carefully (barbed wire) climb over it. It might be a lot easier to take the optional route in the east to get up the ridge.
-We were unable to find and follow the path at S38°24.881' W71°00.281' down to the valley. We endet up on a path a little further south. However, this path starts to lead further and further south, so that at some point we startet to ge back to the original path through the woods, which did cost several hours.
- Getting up the mountain at S38°24.450 W71°01.871' we startet ca 300m further north than indicated by the CC route due to fences and rivercrossing opportunities in the valley. (We thought CC means come up with your own route anyway.) At ca 1720m of altitude, still 300m north of the indicated route we found a good looking path leading up the mountain and followed it. At its end we assumed it would not be a bad idea to continue from here on in north west direction up the mountain. We now know it was a very bad idea. We ended up in a very uncomfortable and seriously dangerous climbing situation in which we really did not want to be. So our advice: stick to the route here!
- The Ford-125 (S38°20.908 W71°09.294') looks impassable right now. You can avoid it by using an improvised bridge about 120m further west.
- At roughly S38°17.091' W71°01.354' the path broke away into a very steep descent. It is passable, but also slippery and includes a certain risk of which you should be aware.
- The daily bus out of Ranquil does not stop at the busstation because it is too large to reverse there. You have to walk down the street ca. 2km to where a bridge crosses the river. The bus reverses here and does not go up further up the road. Right now it stops there at 6 in the morning.
Season Section Log
- 2022-Jan-10 / northbound / Molly og Melissa / 6 Days
Amazing section with great views. Definitely don't skip the two high parts unless the weather is bad. We didn't find it to be dangerously steep except for a few metres on the descent before Laguna Marinanqui, which were uncomfortable. Tábanos were better than expected, it was pretty windy. We also brought a fly swatter. It was very effective for killing those who sticked around during breaks, and gave a lot of satisfaction
We took the alternative route to the east right out of Liucura due to the notes of other people. Shortly after, we saw a path climbing the mountain, and took that. Big mistake - the path disappeared quickly and left us to climb steeply through dense bamboo. We learned the lesson of staying close to the route, and this payed off. Often, when the route is marked as CC, a path exists that follows the route closely. On one of the CC sections we met a man with his animals, who wanted to know what we were doing. He said that we needed a permission from someone in Liucura to be there, and that many people came by and disturbed the animals. When we apologized and said we didn't know and that we'd go on to Laguna Verde he didn't pursue the subject and seemed friendly enough. We ended up camping on the beach by Laguna Escondida. On the descent from there to the Pehuenche Extortioner valley we passed a puesto not marked on the GPS. It seemed empty, and the gravel road was right next to it. There were some very aggressive dogs that we gave a shock, though, they quickly surrounded us. The owner got them calmed down a bit, but one of them to still took a bite of my sleeping mat on the bottom of my bag while we were calmly talking to the owner. After the Pehuenche Extortioner valley you climb a pretty tall mountain pass to an amazing high plain. The descent from here is, as others have written, very steep, not too difficult but definitely better down than up. From there you have a very nice easy trail with good views almost all the way to Laguna Marinanqui, but at the river crossing and every time there is a puesto of trail the trail diverges, and you often have to follow the less obvious trail, so it pays off to look at the GPS often. After Laguna Marinanqui we just kept our wading shoes on for the six river crossings, it worked very well. None of the crossings were difficult in any way. We camped at the Coyuco hot springs. It's a nice enough camp site with a little bench and table under the Aucaria trees, but not too many big sites for the tent. The hot springs are a little bellow, covered by some planks. They are pretty dirty but a perfect temperature, no views either.
The last big ascent nearing the Argentine border was amazing and should definitely not be skipped unless the weather is bad! There is a small CC section, but most of the way through the pass there is a nice trail - stick to the route and you will find it! It lasts all the way to the gravel road to Ranquil. There is a boarder post, and a pretty flat grassy area where it would be possible to camp on the Argentinian side of the border, next to a stream. In general, plenty of water all the way to the second hot springs. From there, nothing until you reach the river in the bottom. The hot springs are in an amazing area, and would be a beautiful campsite with great views, bit requires clear and calm water. We didn't see the hot springs ourselves, but we met some Chilean tourists who liked them.
Water: Generally, water is plentiful, but with some comments. We started from Liucura on midday on a very hot day, and having read about plentiful water we brought a liter each. However, there was nothing until the first waypoint, which we couldn't reach, so we ended up going down to the river in the eastern valley and camping there. Furthermore, on the ascent from the Pehuenche Extortioner valley where there are three campsites on a row, the first didn't have water and the second only very little. On the high plain where it's marked water? there was water, but very still and dirty. Would only drink it if very desperate. Shortly after joining the path after the descent there are very nice streams. We arrived in Ranquil in the afternoon on a Sunday, and hitched to Lonquimay - very challenging though, with three rides and some walking in between
- 2021-Nov-23/NoBo/Marc Anthony
After i finished GPT 3 i headed down south to GPT 12 in order to hike the next couple of groups in a northbound direction since it’s more suitable to hike from down here this time of year compared to the more northern sections
It was love at first sight! I was so thrilled to escape the exposed terrain of the north and come down here to this beautiful part of the country, where you can enjoy the nice shade from the Arucania trees. Got the bus from Lonquimay to Liucura at 14:00 and started my trip on the optional route east of the RR to avoid previously mentioned barbed wire fence. Later I climbed up to the mountain ridge and followed the RR.
After my first night I was woken up by the sound of a bunch of cows running around my tent, and a stuck my head out to find a Pehuenche man on a horse wearing a balaclava, looking at me. Was very surprised at first but he was a nice guy who was just curious about me. We took some photos of each other and I got to ride around on his horse.
I general I found water to be plenty, the weather good and the trail in good condition. There are although some very steep sections every now and then where you have to be careful. I was also hit by a hail storm during a mountain pass but luckily it quickly passed.
At laguna Marinanqui towards the end of the section I met a group of Chileans from Victoria who were out on a weekend fishing trip. We drank a few beers together while catching some salmon in the Laguna and after i joined on the walk back to Ranquil. We took GPT option 1 to skip the nothern hump. And on arrival at Ranquil they gave me a ride back to Lonquimay. Great fun!
- Feb 2020/Nobo/Lauric
Took optional #002 east of regular trail to avoid climbing over barbed wire. It is an easy road. Then we climbed up on the ridge with optional #003. Not exactly on the track but we found a trail going up. On the ridge it's amazing with 360 views. Easy walking too. Optional down in the valley would be easier but less rewarding. Continued our way to the pass 1920m (after taking mate at Maximiliano's puesto). At the pass we left the regular trail to end up on a descending road. Easy descent to optional 12-04-#001 and easy walk in the valley. From there we avoided the extortioner and up to the second pass (2120m). The views are amazing. Very steep and CC descent. Wouldn't have liked to go up this part. From the pass to laguna Marinanqui is pretty boring but easy part. Laguna is very beautiful and a great place to camp. North of laguna is ankle deep in cowshit. We got up by the river to the termas. There are 2 pools. Then we headed town to Ranquil to finish the section. Carabineros let us camp on their field. Bus to Lonquimay Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6AM and 5PM in front of the police station.
- 24 Jan 2020 Frank RR mostly, Southbound 3.5 days.
At the high lakes I continued on RR-CC-I@12-57.1+7.5, a spectacular traverse but at the end there is a very steep & slow descent on rock, scree & sand. I would consider this descent to be dangerous & best avoided by taking the Pehuenche Extortioner variant. After Maximilian's Puesto I took OH-MR-V@12-03-#001out to the road then into Liucura. At least 2 places to stay there, they both have a restaurant. Also a cafe & 3 shops, you can resupply easily.
- 2020-Jan-23 / Ty & America / RR SOBO Ending at ranquil carabineros.
Just hiked to The hot spring from the top of section 11. Not much to report. Hot springs were luke warm. There’s some sort of makeshift hut covering them. Nice camp there though. We got a hitch when nearing the carabineros to Lonquimay. Wouldn’t usually count on this though. Definitely middle of nowhere. Apparently the bus comes at 5.
- 2020-Jan-17 / Martina & Ivo / Regular route southbound and some optional parts / Start: Termas de Pelehue, End: Primary road towards Lonquimay
3.5 days. Amazing section. The Termas de Pelehue are gone due to the lack of maintenance. The second hot springs the same, but the fumaroles above are quite impressive! The third hot springs down in the valley are great, there are several pools just below the camp. After the second pass (2'180) we decided not to do the investigation route as it looked pretty uncomfortable to us. The descent after the third pass (1'920) to Maximiliano's puesto was a nice trail, not at all CC. There our longing for a beer was so huge that we took the optional route 12-03-#001 through the beautiful araucaria valley. Believe it or not, shortly before arriving at the primary road there came a bus, taking us to the junction, from where a connecting bus to Lonquimay was leaving, everything within 10 minutes :-) Excellent resupply and accommodation in Lonquimay, funny town.
- 15-Jan-2020 / Maddie & Tom / Regular route southbound
3.5 days. Spectacular section, some of the best scenery we have seen so far! Some of the ascents and descents are quite steep and technical. There is lots of loose rock and no easy track to follow. It was quite windy and all the high passes are dangerous in poor weather. The trail is also overgrown and difficult to follow in some sections. This makes it slower than you might expect, however it is perfectly doable. Good resupply in Licura at the end of the section, as well as nice places to stay (around 20000 pesos for a double).
- 9-Jan-2020 / Matus & Anna
We combined sections 11 and 12. It took us 5 days including one zero because of weather. Patagonia showed us bit of it's potential in these two sections. All walked trails were in good condition and CC sections pretty easy to navigate. In the sadle of section 11, because of strong wind, poor visibility and fresh snow and ice we were forced to take optional to the valley. There is a big snowfield, I don't recomend sliding on it all the way. It the lower parts there were big holes into the stream. From Ranquil we took optional #002 because we didn't want to climb back up. Uphill is more a minor road, downhill nice trail. After a laguna we took a optional to the Pass 2180 and road around the Pehuenche Extortioner. We needed to get down from elevation ASAP bacause of wind. We passed puesto early in the morning and no one was around. After rainy day everything above 2000m was white. We took trail to pass 1920m which was just with bit of fresh snow and then took minor road #001 down to valley. So I have no idea about the rest of the trail. Edit: adding a picture from the last sadle 1920m, we did after "rainy" day.
- 06.12.19 / Sophie & Hendrik / 10 days (45 walking hours) / Northbound / Regular Hiking Route from Liucura without the northern slope, so we went directly to Ranquil from S38°12.723' W71°05.208'.
In total we were 11days on the trail, of which we spend 1.5 in the tent due to bad weather. The route is free except for one fort, but there is a workaround. Also we had a couple of navigation problems, which cost us several hours. See recent alerts and suggestions.
We liked: The quickly chang landscape and its huge variety, beautiful cinematic views, funny animals, that water was always available, bathing in the rivers, beautifully blooming plants.
We did not like so much: The problems we encountered due to navigation mistakes, the hailstorm on the mountain ridge, beercans that people drop on the paths.
We bluntly hated: The amount of horse flies. In the northern part we were not able to make one step without having at least five buzzing arround our faces. This army of blood suckers was sent by a source of pure evil to annoy hikers.
|GPT12: Río Rahue||Hiking||Packrafting|
|Group||C: Zona Pehuenche||Total||103.3 km||36 h||102.8 km||36 h|
|Region||Chile: Araucanía (IX)||Trails (TL)||57.3 km||55.5%||55.7 km||54.2%|
|Start||Ranquil (Carabiñeros)||Minor Roads (MR)||10.2 km||9.9%||10.2 km||10.0%|
|Finish||Liucura||Primary Roads (PR)||0.5 km||0.5%||0.5 km||0.5%|
|Status||Published & Verified||Cross-Country (CC)||35.3 km||34.1%||35.3 km||34.3%|
|Traversable||Dec - Mar (Maybe: Nov, Apr)||Bush-Bashing (BB)||-||-||-||-|
|Connects to||GPT11, GPT13||Investigation (I)||(7.9 km)||(7.7%)||(7.9 km)||(7.7%)|
|Options||210 km (6 Options & Variants)||Exploration (EXP)||-||-||-||-|
|Hiking||Packrafting||Total on Water||1.1 km||1.1%|
|Attraction||5 (of 5)||5 (of 5)||River (RI)||-||-|
|Difficulty||4 (of 5)||4 (of 5)||Lake (LK)||1.1 km||1.1%|
|Direction||Both ↓↑||Both ↓↑||Fjord (FJ)||-||-|
|Character||Araucaria Forest, Alpine Terrain, Hot Springs, Mountain Pastures, Pehuenche|
|Challenges||Demanding River Fords, Exposure to Elements, Clambering, Resupply Distance, Right-of-Way Disputes|
Satellite Image Map
Elevation Profile of Regular Hiking Route
Elevation Profile of Regular Packrafting Route
Section Planning Status
Recommended Travel Period
Benefits of Hiking and Packrafting
Recommended Travel Direction
Section Length and Travel Duration
Suitable Section Combinations
The isolation and the high passes make this a rather difficult but rewarding trail. Good orientational skill are required because hardly any signposts are placed and some parts of the trail are cross country. The electronic map Topo Chile Deluxe from Garmin shows the contours precisely but some lakes and smaller river are incorrect displayed. Only few trail sections are integrated. Some of the “Alleys” of this electronic map are far off the true position or inexistent. You should use the Greater Patagonian Trail data files for navigation.
Ranquil - no shop but there are families who sold us sopaipillas
Lonquimay - Supermercado Espinoza next to the bus stop has most things. A little shop on the left hand shortly after the bus terminal when walking from the bus terminal towards the center has gas. The shop has different air mattresses, clothes and some outdoorsy things in the windows. There's also a ferretería that might have. Several accommodation options.
Services: ATM and Money Exchange
Accommodation: Hostals and Hotels
Transport: Ground Transport
Transport: Shipping Services
Resupply on the Trail
Location, Names, Available Items and Services
Access to Route and Return
- To Liucura
Updated Jan 2022:
Bus from Temuco to Liucura (goes all the way to Icalma) Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:30am (+ 15:55?), 5 hours of travel. Leaves Liucura at the bus terminal next to COPEC at 12. Also busses from Lonquimay to Liucura Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 15 and Tuesday+Thursday at 14
Bus from Temuco to Lonquimay every day - Monday-Saturday 15:55, Sunday 17:30 There may even be busses from Santiago to Lonquimay
Updated 2022, Jan Bus from Ranquil to Lonquimay (on Mon, Wed and Fri at 7:30am from the village
Bus from Lonquimay to Ranquil Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 15:00 - bus terminal next to COPEC Buses to Troyo leave every day and can drop you off at the crossing to Ranquil, about 30-40 km, but hitching might still be difficult from here
- If skipping section 13-15:
We went from Pucón to Temuco, but it seems to be the long way around. It might be worth it to ask around in Pucón whether there is a rural bus to Curacautin, and from there to Lonquimay, as that seems way faster on the map - alternatively it could be possible hitching this route.