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GPT18 (Lago Pirihueico)

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* Start Date to Finish Date (use Format YYYY-MMM-DD) / Duration in Days / Hiking or Packrafting / Travel Direction (SOBO for Southbound or NOBO Northbound) / Chosen Route and/or Option Name (RR for Regular Route) / Names or Alias

Summary with remarks to route that are considered useful for other hikers and packrafters. Include alerts, suggestions and personal perception of attractiveness and difficulties.

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Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions

Season 2025/26

Season 2024/25

Season 2023/24

  • 2024-Mar-31 to 2024-Apr-1 / 2.5 days / SOBO / RR 01 / Matthias de Austria

No tabanos, mosquitos, snow fields, only dry feet fordings, humans (after Pirehueico). Almost all easy hiking on MR but some really nice, remote views deep into the woods. 4km bushbashing on option 01 (OH-TL-V 18-01 (7.4+5.5)). Option 01 has a right of way dispute warning, but I did not met anyone (1st april eastern monday afternoon).

I arrive around 11am, next ferry is sold out. I buy a ticket for the next one, but then later just ask the ferry guy if I can take his one. It is no problem, pleny of space on the ferry, only 1 car but quite a lot of chilean pensioners on a day trip (eastern saturday).

If you need to go to the border, there is a tour bus for by ferry incoming tourist driving to the border and back showing the sights for 3k. They make a 2min break at the border so you can leave there.

Gate at -40.030385,-71.716310, when leaving the main street south of Pirehueico.

Fence at -40.035548,-71.723497, just follow it few m to the right, there is a big hole.

Water at -40.027694,-71.749299

Very nice camp at -40.008036,-71.748024 but no water except lakewater. Which was nice for swimming end of March. Table, benches, early morning sun. Great!

No bridge at 37.1/1012. Bridge and water at -40.006756,-71781854 Broken car bridge at -40.005866,-71.782878 but ok to use for hikers. Water at -39.996643,-71.862354 Water at -40.005689,-71.868667 (hut nearby for bad weather)

Option 01: Water -40.026046,-71.879994 Camp without water at -40.023440,-71.935911 afterwards a few hours of BB starts with no space for tents. Water -40.030034,-71.948043 next possible camp at -40.03884,-71.95634, water at -40.039819,-71.959432 and at -40.045261,-71.963701 Around -40.047497,-71.964783 small space on sand for a tent with water next to it. From here on along Rio Pillanleufú there's less busbashing, but the trail is still overgrown for a few hundreds meters. Rest of 01 is easy walking with an easy dry feet ford and two closed but easy open cattle gates.

When I arrived at the mainstreet at bridge 31.6/200 at 6:30pm there was a bus picking me up to the shop in Curriñe. Shop owner is friendly Antonio who arranged a room for the night at a amazing family home nearby. 10k incl. Food and washingmashine. Curriñe has a very bad Internet connection.

Variant 01F is the route of the minor road on which you walk coming from the north. The shortcuts inbetween are hiking trails in good condition. So 01F is quite useless I think.

Due to bad weather I went to Valdivia. There I saw a lot of adverts for very expensive tours into the Huilo Huilo Reserve, and the dirt road on 01 is full of car and motorcycle tracks. Guess that rare deer is ok with that, just non paying hikers are a threat...but maybe by now it is ok to walk there. I meet noone and suggest to just try.

From 2024-02-29 to 2024-03/02 // 2 days // Hiking // NOBO // RR // Quentin Clavel

Everything has already been said so I'll be short.

On the road from maqueo to curriñe, there's plenty of option for camping, small minimarket too, and even some restaurants.

For a bigger choice, the best option looks like to be at the junction from Ruta T559 and T557, (Shop {18} [93.3/214], called almacén de provisiones curriñe). I was there, they have quite a good choice to resupply.

Then you follow the gravel road with thermals (it was a sunny Sunday so the free thermal camp was crowded), you go threw two gates who say that it's private property. Second one is the biggest. There were no one when I passed, but trust me I didn't look twice aha !

The variant A is the key for a good transition from the gravel road to the small overgrown track. Be careful to go left at the junction with variant B (don't follow the gravel, but take the little track), jump the fence, and continue on the RR.

From there, it's gonna be overgrown and you'll have some nice fight with bamboos. But nothing impossible, even with the bush bashing the track is not that hard to follow, and as usual with BB, everytime you lose the track, go back to find it or you'll have some very hard time !

From PK 64,1, situation gets better. There's a puesto there (next to the Bridge {18} [64.2/652] (Rio Curringue)). It seems close and locked with two lockers, but it's open, just push the door for enter inside. I had a great night there, it was good to don't have to setup my tent for once ! ☺️

Then it's a long way on a 4WD track, a bit overgrown on some parts. There were on the past old bridges to pass fords, some of them are now destroyed, but it's not an issue as the fords are easy to pass.

Then, after 800m on the asphalt road, you reach Puerto Pirihuaico. A lovely stop at Mane's place to put something in my stomach and let's go for the crossing of the lake.

Noticed that the nature was soooo kind with me and offered me so many fruits, like blackberries (I ate an impressive amount of them), apples, pears, plums and even strawberries !

Ah, and for information (but it can change from years to years), here's the schedule of the ferry departures (on 4th of march 2024) :

Monday :

Puerto Pirihueico ➡️ Puerto Fuy : 09:00 / 13:30 / 16:00 / 18:00 / 20:30

Puerto Fuy ➡️ Puerto Pirihueico : 07:00 / 11:00 / 13:30 / 15:30 / 18:00

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday :

Puerto Pirihueico ➡️ Puerto Fuy : 11:30 / 13:30 / 16:00 / 18:00 / 20:30

Puerto Fuy ➡️ Puerto Pirihueico : 09:00 / 11:00 / 13:30 / 15:30 / 18:00

Friday :

Puerto Pirihueico ➡️ Puerto Fuy : 09:00 / 11:30 / 15:00 / 16:00 / 19:30 / 20:30

Puerto Fuy ➡️ Puerto Pirihueico : 07:00 / 09:00 / 12:30 / 13:30 / 17:00 / 18:00

Saturday/Sunday :

Puerto Pirihueico ➡️ Puerto Fuy : 10:30 / 11:30 / 15:00 / 16:00 / 19:30 / 20:30

Puerto Fuy ➡️ Puerto Pirihueico : 08:00 / 09:00 / 12:30 / 13:30 / 17:00 / 18:00

  • 2024-Jan-21 to 2024-Jan-24 / 3 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR - {18-A} - RR / Lilian

About the ferry and time schedule in 2024,

Tourist information center (-39.87183, -71.88962), you can buy the ferry tickets to Puerto Pirehueico at here, 1150 CLP one way. They also help me charging the power bank, super thank you to them!

Ferry from Puerto Fuy to Puerto Pirehueico: Monday(07:00,13:30,18:00), Tuesday to Thursday(09:00,13:30,18:00), Friday(07:00,12:30,17:00), Saturday and Sunday(08:00,12:30,17:00)

Ferry from Puerto Pirehueico to Puerto Fuy: Monday(09:00,16:00,20:30), Tuesday to Thursday(11:30,16:00,20:30), Friday(09:00,15:00,19:30), Saturday and Sunday(10:30,15:00,19:30)

Resupply in Puerto Fuy,

(-39.87320, -71.89134), (-39.87307, -71.89179), (-39.87373, -71.89390), (-39.87373, -71.89551), (-39.87375, -71.89775) : five tiny shops, combine together it is enough to resupply.

It is a tourist town, so lot of accommodation here, cabins or campground. Also some nice restaurants too.

When you are waiting the ferry, you can go for a boat tour, kayak trip, or take a nap on the beach under a big tree(-39.87178, -71.88877) like me.

It is about 1.5 hour on ferry. You can charge your device on it, total eight electric outlet at each corners of passenger's room.

Ferry, settlement, food[25.1/602] : lot of tourists go to (-40.02541, -71.72242) buy drinks after the ferry, maybe they are thirsty. Another tourist information center(-40.02482, -71.72216), i think you can buy tickets at here too. A tiny shop(-40.02457, -71.72167), closed on Sunday...OSM said, camping spot is here(-40.02416, -71.72151). I saw some cabins nearby too.

X[26.0/628] : "locked gate", locked by a wire, you can take 1 minute open it easily. Or you can climb over it directly.

At here, the road is clear, easy walk and easy to follow.

Km26.85 : barbed wire fence, a hole at right side, go through it.

Km27.1 - km27.4 : old road blocked by 2 set of blowdowns, no use anymore. But you can keep going and follow the side trail beside blowdowns go around them easily, go right and go left.

Km29.3 : bridge and small stream(-40.03084, -71.74330) flowing good with clear water, after you cross the bridge about 10m, a side trail at left side leads you to the water, it is a little overgrown.

Km31.4 : a tiny stream flowing very low with clear water across and flowing on the road, before it flowing on the road, there is a tiny spot like faucet, easy to collect. But I'm not sure it'll dry up or not.

Km32.5 : junction, and a grassland flat spot here. Can fit 1-2 tents and surrounding by trees, good wind protection.

But, better camping spot at (-40.00812, -71.74802), turn right at the junction and follow the road to beach, then turn left walking on the beach 1 minute you'll arrive there. Can fit 3-4 tents with fire ring, fire pit, benches, log seats, picnic table and a platform for lantern. The best spot is under a tree with not much sandy and excellent lake views. But this camping spot is face to Puerto Pirehueico, people at other side can see what you are doing if they have telescope.

A small hut with fire ring and seats at (-40.00855, -71.74885), still in ok condition, BUT someone made it to be a toilet, toilet paper inside with some...

Bridge[33.9/716] : cross El Condor on an old bridge, side trail before the crossing on left side to the water.

Bridge[37.1/1012] : cross El Pescado, old bridge is broken, water up to ankle. BUT i use 2 boards from the old bridge to make a new board bridge here, so dry feet crossing now, i think it can stand at least in 23/24 season. Still some more boards left, maybe next year another sobo hiker will make his/her own one. A small camping spot can fit a very small single person tent with fire pit before the crossing, if you clear out the fire pit, it'll be much more area. This bridge also is a road condition changing point, after here, the road sometimes become a little overgrown, but still easy walk, easy to follow.

Km37.45 : cross El Latintica on an old bridge.

Km37.6 : cross El Chucao on a damaged bridge or go down to right side for wet feet crossing.

Km39.15 : cross El Zorro on an old bridge. Another super old bridge is broken. A fire ring just before the crossing, but i didn't notice any camping spot, maybe camping on the road?

Km41.7 : views start!

Km42.9 : views of Lanín!

Pass[43.0/1485] : didn't find any flat or camping spot nearby. Road is flat, but under the cliff, not recommended.

Km43.4 : views of Volcán Villarrica!

Km43.8 : finally, views of Volcán Mocho and Volcán Choshuenco!

Km44.05 : flat sandy spot(-39.98691, -71.81043) at the sharp turning with views of Volcán Mocho (but 60% covered by trees).

Km44.85 : i find a spring(-39.98563, -71.81467). Water start flowing from here. Flowing barely, but with a puddle, easy to dip bottles collect water, cold, fresh, clear and taste good!

Km45.75 : cross a bridge and water flowing low. Collectable at downstream.

Km48.2 : cross a bridge and water flowing good. Side trail to water at left side before the crossing.

X[50.5/1090] : road junction, also the junction of RR and {18-02A}(only for emergency exit), road condition changing point, after here, the road become overgrown and grassy, sometimes with blowdowns need to go around or step over. ok to walk, easy to follow.

Km51.15 : flat spot can fit 1-2 tents beside a big tree.

Km52.45 : road junction(-39.98877, -71.85969), go straight for RR, turn right and walk 60m to stream (-39.98827, -71.86003), flowing good and clear. Camping spot(-39.98871, -71.85990) can fit 1 tent surrounded by 3 side bushes at left side, when you turn right just start walking to stream.

Km53.4 : rock hopping cross a stream, flowing low with clear water.

Km54.8 : barbed wire fence along the road, many of them already broken.

Km55.05 : cross a stream on an old bridge, flowing nice with clear water, side dirt road after the crossing 50m on right side to the water.

Km55.2 : old cabin(-40.00612, -71.86756) without door and windows, many broken beds inside, have one bed in good condition but i think you would not sleep there, because the roof look like not reliable, maybe collapse in some moments. This area is planting lot of trees by some people. Maybe they have a good way come to here?

One more old cabin and hut nearby, you can walk on a bridge(-40.00634, -71.86859) to them.

Old cabin(-40.00679, -71.86928) with 5 rooms, no doors no windows, looks like room no.5 still can use, floor is ok and with some rain protection.

Small hut(-40.00656, -71.86934) with a door and no windows, it can be use for emergency if need. Good roof for complete rain protection, and clean floor, 1 bench and 1 chair inside too. Can fit 2-3 people sleeping on the floor.

Camp[55.4/871] : it is very hot and lot of fries when i was there on 7pm, so i keep going.

X[56.4/850] : i sleep at the spot(-40.01544, -71.86674) that Hermann and Coline said, it is really nice, thank you! The spot is on the road that going west, just after the junction 20m, covered by 2 sides of trees, dry flat spot can fit 2 tents. Symphony by frogs at night, but not too close, so it is a good sleeping music. Excellent!

Km56.8 : super huge blowdown, climb over(use small tree for step) at left side or crawl at right side.

Km57.7 : road junction, go straight(right) for RR, road condition changing point, after here, the road become much grassy, still ok to walk, easy to follow.

Km58.3 : cross a stream on a bridge, flowing nice with clear water, a side trail after the crossing 20m on left side, looks like can go to the water.

X[61.1/875] : junction of RR and {18-01A}, road condition changing point, RR south of here, when the road go through grassland it of course grassy, but when it going under trees, it is in very good condition, just like the road in national park, easy to walk, easy to follow.

Bridge[64.2/652] : cross Río Curringgue on an old bridge, flowing nice with clear water, i stepped a side trail on the left side before the crossing, going to the stream collect water. Bee net in the middle of the bridge, be careful when you crossing.

After the crossing, you'll see a cabin at your left side, it is locked, i didn't find any camping spot but a nice lunch spot sitting on the corridor of cabin.

"Road" is behind the wooden fence, but no need to climb, go in the fence of cabin, then go around the shelter and picnic table, you'll rejoin the "road".

Km64.85 : GAME START, road condition changing point, road end here and become a single track trail, no more nice road under trees, much much much overgrown, some blowdowns block the way, but all of them you can find a side trail to go around(except one you need to take off your backpack and crawl under it), also even it is overgrown, but you still can keep walking on the trail, but much slower by pushing away the plants for upper body. I didn't feel need many navigating here, trail is not clear but still visible in most part, just walking, pushing away the plants, every 5 to 10 minutes make sure you still on the trail, that's all. Ok to walk, ok to follow. Also not really hot(because at 95% of time you are covered by forest) and lot of stream across the trail at this part, not necessary to carry lot water here.

A huge old machine at here, coal or wood for fuel, have two big wheel on top, looks like is vapor turbine? Does anyone know what the machine is? And why it is here? It looks so great, please tell me if you know it, thank you for advance!

Km66.65 : narrow dry riverbed going down, you can follow it to the river, a camping spot(-40.09412, -71.89251) can fit 1 tent just before the crossing. Cross the river and go upstream 20m, then you'll find the trail continues going, water up to half of calf.

Km70.5 : real challenge start, BAMBOO forest! And bamboo tunnel, crawl under them!

Km72.1 : some spot(-40.12864, -71.90433) you can pitch your tent when you walk out from the forest, not a good spot, but at least you can stay overnight here(with water too), better just for emergency use.

From the comments, i didn't cross Rio Curringgue at ford[72.2/463] to RR, better stay on the same side, continues on {18-A}. Trail conditions just like before, but start at {18-A} km0.9, you'll find some old road trace.

{18-A} 40m : old gate, go around it and go down to the stream(Estero El Africano) then cross it. Steep go down and loose sandy, be careful don't drop in the stream.

Km0.4 : old fence with new barbed wire. Watch out, be careful of your feet when you step over it.

Km0.9 : old road trace. Some more bamboo forest, bamboo tunnel and spike plants, and i cleared out most of spike plants that block the way. Close to end of overgrown!

Km1.75 : road start, easy walk, easy to follow, i think you can find a spot for camping easily until next junction.

Km2.4 : join a beautiful dirt road at junction, no more overgrown. I saw the blue sky again! Smile ;)

Then rejoin RR at last.

Gate[78.5/354] : two dogs barking at me, but didn't see any people when i was there. Climb over a 1.8m locked gate.

Km80.5 : another locked gate. Climb over it easily.

Hot spring $ RR [81.4/301] : open hour: 09:30-17:30, 7000 CLP for adults.

Hot spring,camp[82.3/284] : large camping area, can fit many many tents, hot spring not hot, just warm, perfect for soaking at noon. Nice spot beside the river.

Km87.5 : tiny shop at junction.

Km88.65 : tiny shop.

Shop[93.3/214] : medium shop, good selection but not much in stock.

Km93.6 : another shop(-40.22873, -72.00202), small, not much selection but better stock.

Km94 : small shop.

I talked with some locals, and they told me the road that go around Lago Maihue is in construction not safe to walk, better take the bus to Rupumeica Bajo, and the next bus is at 6pm, so I waited beside the road, but i didn't see any bus until 7pm.

So i keep walking until shop[96.2/118] at Maihue, shop owner told me the bus is at 8pm. It is a mini shop, a lot a lot of drinks, but not much food.

Finally, i take the bus at Maihue on 8:15pm. Arrive Rupumeica Bajo on 9pm, 1500 CLP. When i take off the bus, the driver told me there are some nice spots good for camping and swimming beside the lake, so i go west at GPT19 x[13.3/144].

About the details, read GPT19's comment.

  • 2024-01-06 / 1,5 days / Hiking / SOBO / new optio + option 2 + Option 1/ Jens

I missed the ferry because the timetable has changed. It is now 8am, 12.30pm and 5pm. With poor visibility and a ferry booked for the early afternoon, I decided to take option 2. At the bridge in Fuy, the gate was closed and the guard wouldn't let me pass, even though I showed some leg. He called his boss who forbid me to pass. He explained that it was all private property. After discussing the route with him, he suggested I try a few kilometres further down the river.

I crossed the other bridge, the gate was open. After about 10km a park ranger found me having lunch. He told me that the reserve was closed to visitors. The ranger was very friendly and helpful. After a little explanation he gave me permission to cross the reserve with the request that I report on illegal hunters and fishermen. I'm now an official CONAF undercover agent. He even offered me a lift. He really made my day after the disappointment of the ferry and the closed gate.

Approximately at km 19 on option 1 is an abandoned hut that I used as a shelter from the rain. The river is not far away for water.

The town of Currine, between sections 18 and 19, has a small supermarket and a Frutaria, where you can buy everything you need. I haven't checked for gas checked, though.

Added ferry timetables down below.

  • 2023-Dec-20 / 5.5 days / Hiking / NOBO / RR-MR OH-MR OH-BB&TL RR-MR&BB RR-MR / Hermann and Coline

As we arrived at Futrono (north of the Lago Ranco), the Scotiabank indicated on Google Maps did not exist. We walked on the paved road until Llifén, where some of the campings indicated did not exist either. Maybe, we were too soon in the season... And the next night, we slept in a bus station on the way to Arquilhue.

This is at the Bridge {18-01} [31.6/200], on the river Pillanleufu, that we started the GPT18.

The first day, we went south to Curriñe (where we could resupply : lens, pasta, muesli, but no mais floor) and then Chabranco (where we bought "pan" to a lady who kindly offered us "pan con crema de leche", "tortillanas?" and coffee).

She explained us how to reach the gratis hot spring : there's a little "gate" on the left on the road going to the charged hot spring. We slept in the field nearby and the dew did not help our clothes to get dry...

Some police men had come to us to check our passeports and to tell us to turn back, since the road was "closed". We still went to the gate and ask the owners if we could cross there propriety. They accepted with joy and advised us not to take the Regular Road of the trail (west of the river) but better the OH-MR-I {18-A} [2.4+3.3].

Now, there is a second gate on the way. Either you climb it, but it's pretty tall, or there's a hole in the fence on the right side (just in front of the river).

After Santa Rosa, the trail began to turn from a Minor Road to a one-person-path. At some point, we had to fight with the bamboos. A macheta would have been useful, but not absolutely necessary, since it seemed that someone had pass a little time ago.

We slept at 3kms of the staring point of RR-MR-V {18} [54.6/64.1+8.1] (which is reversed on the GPT files, since we went NOBO). In the Valdivian forest, we got stick to the GPS, but also looking carefully for clues in the landscapes : bamboos or trees cutted, cans or plastic on the branches.

There are enough rivers all along the way not to carry too much on your back, but they can have change places from what's indicated on the map.

The next day we finally got out of this amazing but mind demanding orientation game in the middle of a luxurious forest.

We meet Daniel, doing the GPT Sobo with pack-crafting, at the crossroad before the Camp {18} [55.4/871]. It was a better place to sleep than the Camp {18} [55.4/871], specially if you find The Place, a rond area inbetween the trees, on the West side (which we did ... the next morning).

After that, Daniel had told us it was a 4x4 road until the end. And it was true!, but we lost our awareness on the GPS and took the wrong road, going West towards OH-MR-I {18-02} [0.0+16.0]. We don't know if it actually the optional riad of the GPT, because we turned back to the RR-MR-V {18} [40.0/50.5+5.9].

The mountains are high of course, but the up-hill are not that strong, since it was made for cars. We stopped at the Camp {18} [45.6+0.2/1319], where the river is hidden in the grass.

The sun was nice all along, and the climat got dry with the altitude, so that we even walked on swon at the second pass, which was beautiful.

The down-hill after is strong, and we took (again) the wrong road, as we arrived at the river Hua-Hum...

We camped at the lake and joined Puerto Pirehueico the next morning, where you find ferries to Puerto Fuy even on Christmas (at 4pm) !

There were lot's of tourist in there, making BBQ, smoking and fishing in the gratis camp (Christmas vacation). In the night, they were replaced by horses, cows and dogs, so be careful about your leftovers. Actually, there's a nice platform, with an astonishing view on the lake, at 1km on the RH-TL&MR-V {17H} [31.1+4.4] (so starting the GPT17H).

We didn't find gas in Puerto Fuy, even tough a van came from Neltume with big gas bottles, but found food in the little shops everywhere in the city - even tobacco. It's just expensive.

There's a charged camping on the road 203 CH, where you can charge your batteries and phones for free, by just asking the owner.

  • 2023-Dec-7/ 6 days / Packrafting / SOBO / RP-LK-2 + RR-MR + RR-MR&BB + OH-BB&TL / Lauren & Sebastian

We were hosted by 2 friendly locals at Puerto Fuy who gave us a ride, cooked dinner and let us stay for a night. Where we launched the packraft, it‘s a quiet spot and we had no issues with authorities about entering the lake. Lago Pirihueico was scenic with strong backwind which allowed us to use our sail on a run and cross in half a day. Lunch break at the beautiful remote beach of Los Baños was splendid. We camped at Camp {18} [22.2/615] but would not recommend on hindsight as we wasted quite some time setting up the boat to get to the trail entry point and repacking. If we had known the trail head was a good campsite, we could have started hiking in the morning.

The way up to the pass you will spot tarantulas and has no mentionable difficulties until 1300m where snow starts. The last 150m was still under a blanket of snow, however it was substantially less than what was reported by Tom 2 weeks ago, so walking was smooth but slow. Amazing views above the tree line greet you at the top! We camped at Camp {18} [55.4/871].

We decided to stay on RR-MR&BB to give the infamous bushbashing a try. After Bridge {18} [64.2/652] the path is single track with at first not much difficulty to navigate. This changes quickly, as in the dense forest there were many fallen large trees, which made wayfinding and passing through with the packrafting equipment a challenge. We camped at -40.0942, -71.8924 which was a decent flat spot next to the river.

We cleared a path with our machete and gloves. They will be your best friends in the overgrown conditions. Progress was slowed down near the end of this segment as we crawled through bamboo tunnels. We forded at Ford {18} [72.2/463], demanding and unnecessary because on the other side there was no trail visible, only an impenetrable fortress of bamboo. Even the trail after the wall as mentioned by Frank is now taken over. We forded back and followed OH-BB&TL which was a better choice. Horse tracks indicate frequent use by the settlers in this area. We camped at intersection of OH-BB&TL-V and OH-MR-I.

The reward for 2 days in the dense forest was an amazing campsite with hot springs. We stayed an extra night there and an old man told us we can buy eggs from the house with the wooden gate you have to climb over. The remaining part to Lago Maihue we mostly hitchhiked as much of the road is now asphalt. There are several well-stocked shops along the way to resupply. Campsites and restaurants further down at Lago Maihue are amazing and there are buses to Futrono and Llifen if you have time to explore the area. An enjoyable end to this section!

  • Recommendation Jan Dudeck in November 2023: Based on the STRAVA Heat Global Heatmap (https://www.strava.com/heatmap#11.72/-71.93115/-40.05048/hot/all) the route GPT18 Option 1 is more used. It remains unclear if this route gets hikers in the right-of-way dispute. Anyway, it seams worthwhile attempting this route especially when walking southbound. This should avoid demanding bush bashing and also prevents some more difficult river crossings.

  • 2023-Nov-22 / 4 days / Packrafting / SOBO / RR / Tom Pieper

After section 17P I continued on that section. Had no issues with the armada de Chile. I guess you can prevent problems by inflating the packraft at the park/camping spot as indicated in the packrafting track files (some trees provide shelter, too). The crossing of the lake was amazing. I scouted a potential emergency camp site at (S 30° 53.353' W071° 50.302') with a little creek and an abandoned track that winds out into the mountains but not investigated the track further. The Camp {18} [7.9+0.4/625] is fantastic. Nice views and beach. Next day I continued to Camp {18} [22.2/615]. Some fisherman are around in the afternoon at this part of the lake. Had a nice chat with three of them - the lake is famous for its trouts. Saw also some close to the shore in shallow water. Next day I went ashore at RP-TL-V {18} [22.9+0.1] and continued regular route. The track is in good condition (only a few small trunks) despite the second Bridge {18} [37.1/1012] is collapsed. But the river can be forded easily instead. Snow starts at 1200 m a soon became a problem. As the ascent to Pass {18} [43.0/1485] lies on the southern site, snow is retained on the broad but winding track forming snow shields of 1-3 m thickness. Saying that, the ascent is possible but exhaustive. I only went to the pass and returned as up there the amount of snow gets massive an the track is covered completely under steep snowy flanks. I guess it to be better on the descent on the northern side but I did not investigated. I camped on the track for one night and continued the next day to the shore where I landed the day before. Met a group of 15 mountainbiking Chilenos who said they have to make it to Puerto Fuy over that track, but I do not know if and how they achived. You can encounter Chilean Ocelot Tarantula and Darwin's frog directly on the track close to the lake. Next day I tooked the RH-MR-V {18} [26.0+6.5] to Puerto Pirehueico and toked the ferry back to Puerto Fuy.

Season 2022/23

  • Recommendation Frank in January 2023: Option OH-001 crossing Rio Corrigue: this section barely exists as large parts have been taken back by bamboo. It is now a severe & sustained bamboo bash requiring huge effort to crawl, break & climb through at about 1 kilometre per hour. Try RR or other options instead

  • 2023-Feb-04 / 3.5 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR + OH 18-A / Martin & Helena

Ferry from Pt Fuy leaves 4 times a day (schedule posted to fb group) but in high season it seems to be sold out quickly - at 09:30 we were able to buy tickets only for the last one that day and there was a big line… some people might have a reservation, but we are not sure if its possible to book in advance. The price is a little over 1000 CLP, payment only with cc. However we asked at the 13:30 ferry if we can take it since we have just backpacks and don’t even need a seat, and there was no problem, the ferry had way more seats than people anyway. Possible to charge electronics there and buy drinks. On the other side are 2 accomodation options - cabaña and basic rooms in residence house that are for 40k CLP for 3 bed room and 30k CLP for 2 single bed room, incl. private bathroom with hot water. Basic shop is a little overpriced so better to buy in Pt Fuy. Good options for eating - huge sandwiches, empanadas and local beer in the wooden kiosks where most of the people from ferry go.

We continued the next day, jumping over a gate and crawling under a barbed wire fence after. The way to the pass is a minor road through nice forrest. From X point at km 50.5 the trail becomes a little less visible for the next 4km with some fallen trees and branches here and there, but still nice walking. Fun begins at camp km 64.1 - trail becomes gradually more and more overgrown, eventhough its not so hard to follow it, we were progressing really slow. At the end its a lot of crawling close to the ground to get under all the bamboos, and very tropical conditions in our case.

We were not sure which route is the best one to follow after, so we started with RR, but decided to leave it after first few meters after the ford as it was densly overgrown. Thanks to Molly and Melis comment we took the optional route on the other side and it was really close to normal trail, what a pleasent surprise for us! Someone had work on it recently, there were new barbed wires at the beginning where you have to crawl under the fence, but from there only a few little overgrown parts. After 2.5 km you join a 4x4 road and that goes all the way to the gate. We were again finishing late in the evening to reach the camp with thermas, and before the gate we met a car with english-speaking locals who looked surprised to see us at first, but showed us the way and advised us to ask the guard to open the gate for us. When we reached the gate, we saw light in the guards house, but decided to climb over the gate, that was locked at the time. After around 1.5 km we came to a house that was also secured by a wooden gate, easy to climb over. Free camp with hot springs has a lot of space and there were some locals (friday evening), even more came in the morning. Pools have warm but not hot water which is perfect for a bath with view.

Unmarked small shop is at the beginning of the paved road and many more shops and places to eat on the main route to the lake. The marked shop at km 93.3 has good supplies and prices.

Contact: @martin_hanzelka @helenneka

  • 2023-Jan-04 to 2023-Jan-06 / 3 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Zach + Valentin

After meeting in Bolivia, we met up again in Puerto Fuy. Dubious section selection for Valentin’s first multi day hike. We took the 09:00 super scenic ferry to Puerto Pirehueico. Another vote for Mané’s empanadas de pescado. After hopping over the signless fence the trail follows an old road bed with a gentle grade for a day and a half: one last dip in the lake, a nice woods vibe, big old trees, some light caressing of bushes, and flowers galore. My paddle blade made an excellent Tábano (horsefly) swatter for the open fields. Views at the pass were rewarding but brief. After the bridge and cabin at 64.2 the bamboo bumping began. A machete would have been cathartic. The regular route trail (RR-TL-V {18} [62.7/72.2+2.1]) was the whackiest. Gaps in the trees allowed sufficient sunshine for walls of bamboo to grow. It was usually possible to see the old treadway but slow goings averaging less than 1 km/hr. “Termas➡️” was written in red on a tree around (-40.1600, -71.9206) but we didn’t investigate. We didn’t see (RR-TL-V {18} [67.6/77.2+1.3]) and forded when the road reached the river, shimmying under barbed wire on the other side. Later we saw the riverside gate a bit south of the southernmost “ford?” location. No problems with guards or property owners. The termas naturales were a splendid end to Valentin’s first backpacking trip. We got a ride out from a couple at the hot springs.

  • 2023-Jan-03 / 3 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR & optional route between Estero El Africano and waypoint "Guard" / Frank

The first 40KM are on an old jeep track. There are some fallen trees but you can generally get round them easily. At Camp 133 the ground is rough & I didn't find a good camping spot. Instead a little before the camp I crossed the stream & 200 metres downstream there are two huts. The smaller one is in good condition & I slept on the floor. Saw wild boar nearby. You cross the river on a bridge to a hut, continuing on a trail that is partly overgrown with young bamboo. Bush bashing is mostly easy. Also some fallen trees & 2 very short sections of severe bamboo bashing.

Crossed Rio Curringue near Estero Africano to continue on optional trail 001. If you follow track file 001 after the river crossing you come to an impenetrable wall of bamboo. Instead I went downstream about 40 metres & by a small wall I cut up onto the trail. It gets clearer as you go up but soon disappears in the bamboo forest. Micro navigation is required as if you break through on the route you may come to a partially clear section where you can walk upright but breaking off route generally leads to more bamboo. This section was the most overgrown I encountered on GPT1-40. A machete would not be very useful as the bamboo is growing in solid walls. When you get to 002 it is a clear jeep track & 003 is also good. Took me 9 hours to get from camp 134 to 135. It would be best to avoid crossing Rio Curringue & stay on RR. The alternative route which splits from RR at camp 134 may also be viable. Camped on a small layby above where optional route 003 descends to the river. Easy river crossing on day 3 & I walked out by waypoint "guard" The guard was at the house near the gate but he just waved & the gate was open.

Season 2021/22

  • 2021-Dec-25 / 4 days / Hiking / NOBO / Molly and Melissa

Good: You dive deep into old forests, it feels like true jungle. Many beautiful flowery meadows. Beautiful views on the last-ish part before the lake + the lake. We didn't meet anyone after crossing the gate. Nice hot springs in the beginning. The ferry trip itself Bad: Quite slow to get through a section of the forest - definitely manageable. Feels very much like breaking in as you literally climb a huge fence. Forest may be a little repetitive for some

GPT18: The first part marked as a minor road is now paved. We camped at the first hot springs without the dollar sign. It's a big field where you can camp, and the hot springs are really nice. There are several holes right next to the river, and the water has a nice temperature, not too hot, though probably still best when out of the sun. We didn't go to the other hot springs (Chihuío) where you have to pay, but it seems to be a big swimming pool of a kind. They close at 17:30. When continuing on the gravel road, several signs tell you that it's private property, and finally you get to a big gate next to a house. Maybe the guard's? No one was around when we came, though, and we climbed across the gate. From there we took the optional route along the gravel road, as you had to climb yet another gate to get to the regular route. When the gravel road split up, we picked the one closest to the river. It was nice and clear all the way, whereas the other one seemed very muddy. They met again, our route was behind a little gate that could easily be opened. From there, the optional route followed a very small trail, pretty overgrown, but still definitely doable. It seemed that someone had recently been through with a machete, we didn't need one. At one point we came to a barbed wire fence, and the trail seemed to continue along it. That was wrong, you have to cross the fence immediately, and the trail continues on the other side. We met the regular route by the river at two and decided to continue to the next spot marked as camp. That gave us a long day, the trail was still overgrown, though better than the previous, and it was slow going. When we came through it wasn't muddy though. There was nowhere to camp before the bridge. Right after, there is an abandoned field to the right of the route, the grass is quite long, but it's an okay camping site. The plant with bright orange flowers and white spots on the leaves hurt to the touch, like a stinging nettle. We saw strawberry plants everywhere, a nice section when they are in season!

From there, the rest of the way is on an abandoned 4x4 track, it's never difficult to see, but a little overgrown in places. It climbs above the treeline where the view is very nice, but we were attacked by hordes of flies that went away as we walked back into the forest. We camped on the lake shore, it's a great place to swim. Puerto Pirihueico has several restaurants, we had empanadas at Donde Mané, they were great.

The boat leaves everyday at 4 pm from Puerto Pirihueico and arrives at Puerto Fuy around 5 - too late for any busses. It seems you should buy tickets in the big building next to the lake? bus leaves for Panguipulli the next day around 7 am and 9 am - I think the last is at around 4 pm, and from there there are many busses to Valdivia. There are a ton of accomodation options and restaurants in Puerto Fuy.

Season 2020/21

Season 2019/20

  • 2020-Feb / Hiking / NOBO / RR + OH-01 / Matthieu

Forest trail, a part technical and slow. The rest is nice and calm, easy to follow, for the ones liking the smell of fresh herbs, flowers, and the bees.

-Track followed: I followed the recommendations of Martina Ivo Arnaud and Matus. Arriving on the RR, just before the waypoint "Guards", there was a huge portal, closed. But not the usual portal easy to climb, the type of portal to say that you don´t want cars and walkers in. I decided to cross country straight north to the Rio Curringue and cross here to join the OH18-001. This OH is a big truck path, so no difficulties. I suspect that there are constructing a road north to Puerto Fuy on this side of the river. After the camp 135, The is a div follonwing the OH 001. There begins the little technical forest trail (good little horsetrail, well maintained by the locals, easy to follow but really muddy and a lot of up and downhill). It goes to the river Curringue againm that you have to cross, and join the RR after on the other side, until Camp 134. It personnally took me around 5 hours to go from camp 135 to Camp 134, so I would recommend not to begin this section at the end of the day. No need of the machete. After Camp 134, 4x4 road, easy to follow. Keep an eye on the GPS thow, lots of traps with other roads going everywhere, waiting for careless walke

-Legality of this section ?: It seems unclear. Everything from Chihuiyo to Pirehueico/Puerto Fuy is part of the Huilo Huilo Parc. BUt the only part that you have to pay for seems to be the northern part, next to Neltume, where there is a lot of tourists. The optionnal road 001 seems free and I even crossed a chilean family at the camp 135, with their car, and they had a barbecue before around. After Camp 134, I crossed a car of Guardaparques : they just asked me where I came from and where I went, made sure that I had the GPS to not loose myself in the forest, and let me continue without discussion. So I guess that there is finally no problems with walking in this part of the parc.

  • 2020-Feb-13 / 3 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR + OH-01 + 02 + 03 between Estero El Africano and waypoint "Guard" / Martina & Ivo

Thanks to the previous comments of Arnaud and Matus we were prepared for the middle part of this section. At the Estero El Africano we didn't try long to find the regular route but crossed the Río Curringue to take optional route 001, 002 and 003 and got back to the regular route at the waypoint "Guard".

The whole stretch RR-MR-V@18-64.1+8.1 (from the waypoint "Camp" to the Estero El Africano) is a muddy trail, no minor road, which makes quite a difference in hiking time calculation.

We didn't really look for resupply, accommodation or transportation opportunities in Curriñe or Puerto Maihue but at the moment in high season it's very easy to hitchhike to Futrono, where you find everything, plus regular busses to Valdivia.

  • 2019-Dec-5 / 1 day / Packrafting / SOBO / OP Lago Pirihueico only / Shaun C

Packrafted Lago Pirihueico only - as add-on to Section 17P. Didn’t hike any part of Section 18. At Puerto Fuy, an official of the Armada/Navy said solo kayaking on the lake was prohibited, but after a 10 minute conversation I convinced him to let me do it. Key was saying that I, not Navy, bore responsibility. Lake is stunning, especially at dawn.

  • 2020-Jan-16 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO / Arnaud Debilly

4 days with one day off due to rain We started with the ferry from puerto fuy at 9am (3 or 4 boats a day - around 1000 clp). 1h30 trip to pirihueico. Then the path starts in the private property of the parque Huilo Huilo ("no entrar" sign but no one to check). The path is clear, looks like a minor road with ancient bridges to cross the river. After around 40km, the track follows a very little path, looks like bush bashing during 5km. Then you join a river, parallel to the track. At that point, we followed the track that went into the forest. It was so dense that we did maybe 200m in one hour. We decided to turn back to walk in the river (around 2km), or on the side, until we found a real path. That was a good and efficient solution. We found no guardaparques or private guards to discuss right of way passage so had no problems with this aspect.

Season 2018/19

Season 2017/18

  • Kara Davis

Notes to consider before beginning: We were halted by rangers in a jeep on the 4WD road on the west side of Río Pillanleufu. They informed us it was illegal to be in Huilo Huilo at this time because the reserve was closed for the rehabilitation of the Pudú, the world’s smallest deer. We had no knowledge of this since we entered the reserve in a very remote location and there was not adequate signage to inform us of this closure. After explaining this to the ranger, they escorted us out of the reserve. You may want to enquire about the status of Huilo Huilo before beginning this section.

Comment by Jan Dudeck: This was publicly accessible land with public roads until the Petermann clan took control of this vast property during the final year of the Pinochet dictatorship. Huilo Huilo is not advertised as a “private for profit reserve” with very expensive high-end lodging but wood logging continues in parts of this property. Several hikers reported that they were stopped by guards and send or escorted out. It remains unclear to me if the right-of-way legally ended or if the new owner simply want to keep people out that don’t spend lots of money.

GPT18 begins with a 23 km paddle on Lago Pirihueico, a long, remote, serpentine lake. There are almost no residences along the shoreline of Lago Pirihueico, but there are some beaches suitable for camping. A ferry also runs from Puerto Fuy to Puerto Pirihueico at the southern end of the lake several times a day. You can find more information about the ferry and make reservations here: https://barcazahuahum.com/en/schedule-and-prices/.

The take-out is not obvious, and we relied on our GPS to guide us to the spot. A short walk up is a 4WD track that leads into the Reserva Biológica Huilo Huilo. The track is overgrown and littered with downed trees but becomes clearer and easier to navigate as it ascends. The views are gorgeous as the 4WD track climbs above treeline.

As the route nears the roaring Río Pillanleufu, it reduces to a single track trail. The trail meanders on the east shore of the river and eventually disappears. We backtracked a bit and made our way down to the east river bank which we followed until we picked up the trail in a large meadow. A bridge is located where the GPS track is shown crossing over the Río Pillanleufu to the west side and joining a 4WD road. The vegetation on this side of the river is thick and camping is hard to come across.

About 10 km from the bridge crossing, the 4WD track ends in an impenetrable bamboo forest. We backtracked and headed down to the west bank of the Río Pillanleufu where we found a horse track that eventually led back to the main route. The route follows easy grade farm roads until exiting onto T-559. T-559 is a windy gravel road which makes for an easy road walk all the way to Lago Maihue and the end of GPT18.

Town: Futrono

Futrono, about a 40 minute drive from where the route joins T-559, is the nearest large town. It has a variety of restaurants and lodging options and is a good place to resupply. There is no central bus station in Futrono, but there is a gas station at the east end of town where you can pick up a bus that will take you back to the trail.

Season 2016/17

Resupply and Accommodation

Resupply and Accommodation in nearby Towns

  • Puerto Pirihueico

Several restaurants and a small shop which has coffee, tea, pasta and flour. Cabañas and camp ground

Resupply and Accommodation along the Route

  • 2024 / Quentin Clavel

Puerto fuy Is a touristic place, so few restaurant and fiestas (these places with kind of street food, and lot of tables and chairs at the center, love the atmosphere there), accomodation and mini market.

I FOUND GAZ IN NELTUME !! (5km on the road after Puerto Fuy (Easy to hitchhike, I did all the ferretería of this city and I found a Gaz screw bottle in the ferretería Camilo (39°50′46.12″S 71°56′39.48″W).

In Puerto Pirihueico, possibility to east as well, recommandation for the empanadas and food in Mane's place, just at the ferry.

On the road from maqueo to curriñe, there's plenty of option for camping, small minimarket too, and even some restaurants.

Curriñe : For a bigger choice, the best option looks like to be at the junction from Ruta T559 and T557, (Shop {18} [93.3/214], called almacén de provisiones curriñe). I was there, they have quite a good choice to resupply.

Transport to and from Route

There are frequent buses from Valdivia to Pangipulli, about one an hour from 8AM to 9PM. There are 5 buses a day from Panguipulli to Puerto Fuy Monday-Friday, 4 on Saturday & 2 on Sunday. The last one every day is at 7:30 PM

Ferry Puerto Fuy:

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Direct Bus from Curriñe to Valdivia 6:55 and 8:55. At 5pm to Futrono.

Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues

Links to other Resources

Retired Section Article GPT18 - Lago Pirihueico


A beach at Pirihueico
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