Lago Verde - Lago Palena (english)
The trail is mostly linear with a length of 55 kilometers.It starts at the town of Lago Verde, agricultural village located close to the Argentinean limit, heads north, and finishes at Palena Lake. The trail crosses numerous cattle fields, fords large rivers,like Pico River,crosses Quinto River many times and penetrates into mountain ranges covered with dense forests.Finally it enters almost untouched Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) forests at Lago Palena National Reserve.
The trail is divided into four sections based on the daily hours a horse can be ridden (approximately, five and half hours on a medium difficulty surface). The first section corresponds to a quite easy but extended (around 20 km) route, which ends at a private shelter to sleep and to feed animals. Permission for using the shelter must be requested before.
The second section is only 13 km, starting at the private shelter and ending by Quinto Lake. The route becomes more difficult due to altitude,mud,vegetation,slopes and rocky rivers. Pace is slow and intermittent. However, camping by Quinto Lake, with all its natural beauty and peaceful environment, will be a deserved reward.
The third section is longer, 15 kilometers,but of easy pace.It enters Lago Palena National Reserve. The route is very clear, with minor obstacles, and surrounded by an outstanding forest. This section ends at guide post 31, where camping conditions are optimal.
The last section is very short, only 5 km., but of greater difficulty. It is suggested to leave extra load and backpacks at the camp at guide post 31 for a safer and easier horse ride. The trail finishes at guide post 35 on Palena Lake’s northern shore and returns to the camp.
Sendero de Chile’s Heritage Trail Lago Verde - Lago Palena is on the XIth RegiÛn de Aysén. Its start is located at 225 km south from the town of Chaitén, capital of Palena Province, and at 74 km from the town of La Junta on the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway).
The trail starts at the town of Lago Verde, in the northern part of Coyhaique Province,Aysen’s Region, and ends at Lago Palena National Reserve,located in the southern part of Palena Province, Aysen’s Region. The latest is a state wilderness protected area (SNASPE), administrated by CONAF (National Forestry Organization).
This trail corresponds to the southern portion of another complementary trail which is part of Sendero de Chile’s Heritage trail and goes from the town of Alto Palena to the town of Lago Verde.
The right season to do this trek is from october to april. Heavy snowfall can cover the path during the winter.
There are two ways to access the trail:
- 1 Carretera Austral: You must board a ferry at the continental city of Puerto Montt or at QuellÛn,which is the most southern city on Chiloe island.The ferry will take you to the town of Chaitén. Follow Carretera Austral (Highway number 7) to the south for 151 km to reach the town of La Junta.Take road X-10 east and after 74 km you will find the town of Lago Verde,close to lake Lago Verde.
- 2 Trough Argentinean Territory. Accessing Argentinean territory can be done though Puyehue border crossing, east of Osorno city. It is located 400 km north from Futaleufu border crossing, where reentrance to Chile is possible.Alternatively you can reenter Chile at Lago Verde border crossing, very close to the town of Lago Verde. However the first option is recommended due to better road conditions and regular traffic. Border crossings are closed during winter and it is advisable to check its conditions at Futaleufu council or police station before traveling.
The trail includes 35 guide posts sequentially marked with Arabic numbers,placed on geographically referenced sites of interest. These posts are 1.5 mt tall and were made out of dead wood from Coigues and Lengas found on the spot.Numbers were placed on top of the posts and reference to each one of them may be found on this guide.
Red stakes were placed on the trail to indicate those areas where it is easier to loose track of the route due to natural accidents, fallen trees or difficult surfaces.
Additionally there is a large sign post located at Laguna Verde’s Northern entrance, with general information about the trail. There is two more sign post located on the trail with complementary information.
20,42 km, 5 Hr. 30 min.
The journey through Sendero de Chile’s Heritage Trail has begun.The starting point is located just below the sign post placed at the end of Rio Quinto Street,northern entrance to the town of Lago Verde. This place,where the route to Lago Verde and Lago Palena starts, has been designated as Guide Post Number One, Entrance Gate. It is highly recommended to read all the information found on the sign post regarding characteristics of the trail, points of interest, type of surface, etc...
As an introduction to the trail it is interesting to mention that long before Carretera Austral existed as the connecting route with the town of La Junta, the locals explain that this was part of the road used to drive cattle to the surrounding animal markets of Alto Palena and Chaiten.
The trail heads north over a well kept vehicle’s dirt road,ideal for walking or horse riding. This road is surrounded by extended wooden and wire fences used to keep animals secure and well fed in beautiful and grass-full fields. Young Radal (Lomatia hirsuta) and Ñirres (Nothofagus antarctica) forests (Renovales) might well be seen through the fences as well as dense pastures covering cattle fields.A local type of cane,named Coligue or Caña (Chusque culeou),is also abundant. It is used by locals as winter food for animals.
Two Impressive peaks might be seen from this point,Botella Este (east bottle) on the Argentinean territory, with 1.748 meters above mean sea level and Botella Oeste,just on the borderline between Chile and Argentina with 1817 meters (amsl). After crossing a small river is Guide Post Number 2, “Los Grandes Pastizales”(The Vast Grass-fields). No more wooden fenced fields will be seen and from now on grass-fields and Renovales will be the common landscape.The absence of traffic is reflected now on the route with fewer car marks and greater vegetation.Sendero de Chile’s guide posts and stakes become more important as the route follows. The route continues north and slightly ascends through massive Renovales to descend later following a northwest direction for approximately 3.800 meters. A wooden gate or “trance” must be crossed, but it is important to close it afterwards to avoid cattle from escaping. Later the route crosses a tiny stream and after 5 meters Guide Post Number 3, Desvío del Riachuelo (The Stream’s Detour) will be found.The route heading west must be taken at this point. After leaving Guide Post Number 3 behind and riding for about 2.600 meters to the northwest the route arrives to Pico River’s valley.This river is born in Argentinean Patagonia, and must be followed on an east to west direction for around 1.000 meters to reach Guide Post Number 4, La Pasarela (The hanging bridge).
At this site an old hanging bridge exists. It used to be functional and presumably very resistant because local people mention that it allowed even light vehicles to cross over Pico River to the north. Actually, its detrimental condition presenting rotten poles and missing structures has forced its closure. Nowadays a new bridge is projected. The importance of this site is not minor, because during summer season, more precisely from November to April,this river,with the proper water level, can easily be crossed on horseback. However during winter time the water level rises considerably making its crossing by horse impossible.
It is important to mention that all the fields bordering the route found from Guide Post Number 1 to Number 4, belong to the Rubio family. Their property is more than 1.309 hectares dedicated extensively to grow cattle and produce firewood.
After crossing Pico River the route continues to be wide enough for vehicles transit, ensuring an easy horse ride.The route heads northwest following the river course until it reaches Guide Post Number 5, Fundo La Esperanza, meaning Hopes Farm. From this point onwards,the route turns into a typical southern mountains path; narrow, covered by dense rainforest and permitting access only to horse riders, animals or pedestrians.It is important to realize that the vegetation so far has been mainly Radal and Ñirre renovales.
From Guide Post Number 5 the trail characteristics will change dramatically.The route now is full of steep hills,climbing from 325 meters average mean sea level to 450 meters (amsl) in a matter of few minutes. This, together with the muddy soil conditions of the trail surface and the higher humidity levels correspondent to a higher altitude,makes the ride a harder challenge, however the increased oxygen levels and the panoramic views of such pristine vegetation worth the effort.Among a variety of vegetation along the trail are dense Renovales of Notros (Embothrium coccineum), Radales and Coigues (Nothofagus dombeyi), well mixed with bushes like Zarzaparrilla (Ribes magallanicum) and Calafate (Berberis Buxifolia). After a narrow and steep bend on the trail is Guide Post Number 6, Mirador del Valle (The valley’s lookout).This is a resting point with specific information and basic facilities. It was built no more than two years ago by Sendero de Chile. It is advisable to give horses a break at this point, after the great effort they had to make. Time must be taken to appreciate the magnificent views of the surrounding environment and the abundant vegetation. To the Southeast Pico River meets Figueroa River coming from the north.Wherever you look ispossible to find traces of glacier activity, spectacular geographical forms and vast extensions of rainforest covering most of the mountains.
The trail now heads mostly to the north. It runs over side hills mainly covered with exuberant Radal and Coigue Renovales.Contrary with the big efforts made to reach Guide Post Number 6, the trail now presents moderate slopes and becomes considerably flat and easy going, giving the traveler a good opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking landscape.
After 1.250 meters the route arrives to a tranca corresponding to Guide Post Number 7,Tranqueras del filo (Trancas from the edge).The tranca must be opened and closed to continue on the same direction. The site presents a privileged view. Clear traces of glacial erosion on rocky cliffs, showing “aborregadas” (sheep shaped) rocks and a dense and humid vegetation. From the same site it is possible to appreciate human intervention on forests, by cleaning fields for cattle.Locals use controlled fires to prepare the fields for animals. They burn all the vegetation and the remaining trunks are gathered together for their future use as firewood.Grass will profusely grow then, covering all the open spaces left. The process used for cleaning the fields is known as “Roce”.
Landscape is dominated by mountain peaks.To the North there are plenty of still nameless mountains with altitudes over 1700 meters (amsl). To the east iot is possible to observe many peaks forming part of the international limit between Chile and Argentine.
The route continues northwards crossing many partially cleaned fields. Both sides of the route are cover with fallen,burnt or cut trunks. Some meters further a glacial deep valley, hosting a small lagoon, is home for a tiny and beautiful Lenga’s (Nothofagus pumilio) renoval.This place due to its particular charm and the presence of water and burning wood is ideal as a camping site. However,as in all private properties, permission from the owner,who lives close by, must be obtained before.
After a short break the journey continues.The trail remains heading to the north and after a couple of meters the route starts to descend gradually towards De Los Nevados River’s valley. The De Los Nevados River flows to the south and it is formed by many mountain effluents. On its way to the south it meets Pico River and at that point it changes its name to Figueroa River.Further south it feeds the Desague River (Drainpipe River) that takes its water from Lago Verde Lake.
Following North the route arrives to another tranca that must crossed and closed.After a 3.080 meters ride on the east side of the De Los Nevados River valley is Guide Post Number 8, Rio Diente (Tooth River) or Valle Primero (First Valley).
The view is marvelous with not only many waterfalls formed by Diente River to observe but with impressive sights of the valley in all its amplitude on its confluence with de Los Nevados river.
The horizon is dominated by enormous snow capped mountains bordering Quinto River’s valley.The snows from these mountains are constantly feeding Quinto River and Quinto Lake.The latest is located to the North of the site. Vegetation is dense and even. The dominant species present are Radal and Notro forming renovales.Some bushes are present too,mainly Michay (Berberis darwinii),Calafate and Zarzaparilla. The view changes dramatically to the East,where the consequences of an ancient fire are eloquent. Huge lonely burnt trunks lying everywhere on the unreachable hillsides are clear signs of the amazing vegetation that existed before.
About 1.300 meters to the north on the eastern side hill of the De Los Nevados River valley is Guide Post Number 9,Estero San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo’s Stream). The place is located on one edge of San Lorenzo stream showing clear signs of water erosion due to the effect of De Los Nevados river increasing its level largely above the normal during the year 2000.The result was a clear cut on the ground that nowadays,due to erosion, exposes different sediment layers accumulated in the past decades.A break is recommended at this point.
A small break is recommended.The route continues descending gradually until it reaches the bottom of the De Los Nevados River valley. Then, the route fords the river upstream to the North. Coigue and Notro Renovales and some Chaura (Gaultheria phillyreifolia) bushes are the main species on the river edges.Two trancas will be crossed and the closed in a distance of approximately 1.200 meters. The route starts climbing up the eastern hillside of the valley leaving the river’sbed behind.The route then gets wider and some meters to the North it meets a huge tranca. After crossing it, the traveler might be surprised with the existence of well kept top quality prairies crowed with well fed cattle, main income for the local people.
Further up,the trail enters an ancient forest with species such us MañÌo (Saxegothaea conspicua), Tepa (Laurelia philippiana) and Coige. Even though this forest was modified and exploited for cattle production, human intervention was subtle and permitted large trees of various different species to remain untouched. Forests with these characteristics are known as Mature Forests,and precisely that is the name for Guide Post Number 10,Bosque Maduro.
Once the route leaves De Los Nevados River behind,it enters an open forest with majestic trees on both of its sides, letting the rider to enjoy a short canter through this beautiful landscape.The route arrives unnoticed to the last tranca of this section.
Around 2.460 meters to the North is Guide Post Number 11, named Desvío al Refugio Particular (Private Shelter Detour). The post is located at a detour leading to a local’s farm house and shelter built specially for people visiting the trail. After five and a half hours riding on a horseback this sounds like paradise. Due to the places beauty, a stroll around the garden and orchard is recommended.The traveler will find apple and apricot trees,together with a young Araucaria (Araucaria araucana) with its outstanding dark green branches reflecting on a pristine air.
The view is amazing in all directions; To the East some spectacular cliffs forming part of the border with Argentine; To the west a massive range of mountains covered with dense forests of Coigues,Tepas and Mañios; and finally to the North Quinto River’s Valley coming from the North and bending to the west in direction to the town of La Junta,just some kilometers before Guide Post Number 11.
13,74 km, 6 Hr.
After a pleasant and peaceful night and with renovated energy,the trip continues.The first thing to be done is to leave the shelter back and return to Guide Post Number 11 on the main trail,using the same route used the day before.
Once in Guide Post Number 11,the journey continues on a clearly marked route that penetrates a dense forest and after 1.400 meters of an easy ride on an almost flat and well delimited trail it arrives to Guide Post Number 12, Desvío al Valle Hermoso (Beautiful Valley Detour).At this point the route splits in two.The northeast route heads to a place known as Valle Hermoso. Locals say that this route is a common path for baquianos (mountain cowboys or gauchos) driving their cattle to summer pastures found at the end of this way.This is a normal practice all over the Andes and its objective is to permit permanent pastures to grow Lago Verde-Refugio de Particular / Lago Verde - Mr Julio Soliss Private Shelter Refugio a Laguna del Río Quinto / Private Shelter - Quinto River’s Lagoon and rest for a season before cattle returns.
After admiring the landscape the traveler must follow the northern route at Guide Post Number 12. It crosses the valley’s bottom,heading to Río Quinto. Coigue, Tepa and Mañio renovales are predominant in this area.A couple of wooden bridges built by Sendero de Chile will be crossed at this stage.
Trail conditions are surprisingly good, considering the fact that it stands on a very southern location. Some meters to the North and two remarkably beautiful streams will tempt travelers for a break. After crossing them the route turns slightly to the West and faces a splendorous Rio Quinto.
After a hundred meters the river must be crossed to the North,to find Guide Post Number 13,Cruce Río Quinto (Quinto River’s Crossing).Sendero de Chile’s shelter is found at this site. This shelter is kept in very good conditions, it is ideal as a resting place and during rainy periods,when the river rises considerably it will permit travelers to wait for better crossing conditions.The site presents many MaÒio and Coigue renovales but there are no open areas for grass to develop.The absence of grass to feed horses is determinant when selecting a place as a camp ground, and that is the reason why this place is not recommended in this guide. From this point the route starts climbing on Quinto River’s valley western hillside for approximately one kilometer,and even though the path is well delimited,rainy weather turns it into a very slippery and sticky surface,complicating the ride.There are some very steep slopes, many superficial roots and a good number of rocky creeks to cross, all which adds extra difficulty to this portion of the trail.
After about 1.100 meters the route reaches Guide Post Number 14, named by locals as Campamento Muñeco (Doll Campground).This place corresponds to an old detour used by baquianos to descend to Quinto River shores to give horses and cattle a breather, before continuing their trip to the north. This was the favorite place of a local baquiano who had Doll as a surname.
Although the route is less steep at this point it is not an easy ride, it becomes quite tortuous with mud pools,rocky streams and fallen trees. From time to time the presence of obstacles will force travelers on leaving the trail. Getting lost is not difficult in the middle of the forest, so special care must be taken to ensure not loosing sight of the trail. Around two and a half kilometers to the north is Guide Post Number 15, Arroyo La Pulsera (Bracelet stream). This is a gorgeous formation consistent of a succession of waterfalls flowing slowly into beautiful grey granite pools sculpted on the river’s granite bed. Higher humidity levels promote the existence of massive cane formations,mosses, ferns and a much denser forest,where Mañio is the dominant specie. The surface characteristics remain unchanged for the next couple of kilometers. There are some complicated areas, with increasing mud levels, and many superficial roots that complicate horses’ steps. After the first kilometer, the trail crosses through a clear landslide (rodado in Spanish) traces. It is impressive to see some huge lying trees that where pulled out from the soil with their roots and all, and to see a huge wound on the hillside. Landslides are not rare at these latitudes, especially during winter times. This risk must be taken into account when picking the season to visit the trail.
Guide Post Number 16 will be found after some meters.This point is know as the famous “Bajada del Diablo”(Devil’s down slope),and the reason is quite obvious. This downhill section of the trail presents some steep but not dangerous down slopes.The ride is easy with good weather conditions and even a novice rider would manage to descend without dismounting.However during winter it may present some complications. The trail descends 420 meters in zigzags to the bottom of the valley. Dominant species are Mañio,in both its male and female forms. Differences are not difficult to pick. The first adult Lengas,with 30 or more meters height, will be seen before reaching to the valley’s bottom.
Once the section of La Bajada del Diablo is finished, after 420 meters, the route arrives to an almost magical place.Quinto River is found here fully decorated with gigantic Lengas on a plateau with optimal camping conditions with plenty of water and firewood.There are some mallines or wetlands present to provide horses with grass. This site has been designated as Guide Post Number 17.
To keep on track we must cross Quinto River again.Even though the river looks thinner here, its depth is very variable and it may exceed the tack’s level at some places. Special care must be taken to avoid load getting wet.The trick is to firmly hold the reins and proceed very slowly.The horse must have a good visibility of the bottom rocks at all times. On the other shore canes and ferns are abundant and plenty of streams flow into the river forming large mud pools. The trail fords the river for a good number of meters and then crosses it again to its Western shore. Following the route for a couple of meters on the river’s western shore is Guide Post Number 18.This guide post is named Last Quinto River Cross.
At this site Quinto River must be crossed for the last time on this section,before reaching La Laguna del Rio Quinto (Quinto River’s Lagoon) Special care must be taken with this last crossing due to abundant big rocks found on the bottom of the river, which may destabilize the horses.A slower pace is mandatory and appropriate, because some meters to the north the route turns uphill, demanding horses a bigger effort.
After two kilometers the route winds up and down the hills over a terrain covered with stones coming from “derrubios" (erosion effect on rocky hillsides). The trail changes dramatically 1.8 kilometers before reaching Guide Post Number 19. Time must be taken to enjoy this lovely canter through magnificent mature Lenga forests.
The route reaches Guide Post Number 19, Laguna del Rio Quinto (Quinto River’s lagoon). The lagoon appears in its entire splendor,showing fantastic views in every direction. To the front spectacular sights of this lagoon with the snow capped mountains reflected on its pristine and quiet waters and a beach that seems unreal. To the back the landscape is even more impressive, showing a beautiful example of Chilean rainforest with a huge variety of species. Lenga is dominant, coexisting with Canelilla (Ovidia andina) (very similar to Canelo trees but with a creepy growing habit) and with some ancient Michay bushes showing their round and black fruits.It is not difficult to see some Martin Pescador (Ceryle torquita) standing on a strategic tree branch by the water,spying on some careless fish. Camping at this site is recommended due to its perfect conditions and because after 6 hours of a non easy ride, body, mind and soul may feel some tiredness.
15,76 km, 6 Hr. 30 min.
This section starts at Quinto River’s last crossing on the exact point where the river is born draining water from Quinto Lagoon. The route touches its western shore and continues to the North following the water’s edge.Some minutes later the route regains its altitude and returns to higher lands reaching Guide Post Number 20after 2.2 kilometers.The post indicates a charming nameless stream flowing to Quinto River’s lagoon that must be crossed at this point. The surface is flat but very humid and even swampy at some places.Riding on the stream’s bed is a good idea to avoid obstacles like trunks or mud pools found on the way. Loosing this irregular and not clear trail might be quite easy on these conditions,so special attention must be taken on signs,like the red stakes planted by Sendero de Chile or broken branches and steps left by baquianos riding their horses or driving their cattle through these same areas.
The route continues to the northeast avoiding mud pools and crossing innumerable small streams forming swamps, mud pools and many “meandros”(river sharp bends due to scarce gradient on the surface).Lenga forest is dominant at this stage. Approximately half a kilometer later is Guide Post Number 21.This camp ground area was established and built by Sendero de Chile’s maintenance people.There are basic facilities, including tables and benches,fresh water from a pristine stream and lots of firewood from dead trees.Travelers must be aware that this place is recommended as a camp ground only during late spring to early autumn.It must be avoided during rainy periods because its extreme flatness and poor drainage conditions,force water to accumulate turning the place into a quagmire.
To the north the route reveals many bridges built over muddy areas,high grass zones and Lenga renovales. Guide Post Number 22 (Important Fork), is 600 meters away from number 21, and stands on a fork from where two routes are possible;one heading northwest and the other heading northeast. The Northwest trail goes by a lagoon and huge mallines (wetlands) before heading to the mountains. The Northeast trail must be taken in order to reach Palena Lake,which is the objective of this trail.
Wetlands and muddy areas will start to disappear now as the route climbs up on the side hills.
The surface trail presents a particular an irregular shape. It is covered with Canelilla or Traro (Ovidia andina) and is surrounded by beautiful and gigantic Lenga trees.The route goes up and downhill for about 1.100 meters before reaching Guide Post Number 23, named Rocas del Barranco (Cliff rocks). The place is covered with Lenga trees. This forest is quite particular due to the presence of numerous huge rocks all over the place.These rocks are part of fallen blocks from the surrounding mountain’s rocky cliffs and peaks. It is surprising that one of those blocks fell and remained sitting as a natural roof, very useful on rainy weather.
The route becomes steeper to the north but the surface remains in good conditions not affecting the pace. Heading northeast the trail arrives to a small river flowing south.Its bed is wide enough to support abundant vegetation,mainly Coigue and Lenga renovales. Following the river upstream and having it crossed several times,the route passes trough a vast plateau decorated with several standing dead trunks. Some meters later and without prior notice the route arrives to Guide Post Number 24.At this point the route leaves the river course behind,heading north to penetrate a sloppy hillside with moderate gradient on the western side of Palena Lake. Among the species present Lengas and Canelillos are dominant.
It is important to mention that 400 meters past Guide Post Number 24 is the borderline between XI th and X th regions which indicates the beginning of Reserva Nacional del Lago Palena (Palena Lake’s National Reserve).
At this point the route goes parallel to Palena Lake shore at a distance of approximately 300 meters. Suddenly in the middle of the dense forest the trees uncover an impressive view to Palena Lake.The color of the water is unforgettable. This lookout is where Guide Post Number 25 stands, named Vista al Lago or Lakes lookout.
The green color of the mountains is energizing and Lenga forest makes the ride an incredible and highly enjoyable experience.The route goes by a small lake and after a 2.300 meters ride it arrives to Rio Corto or Short River. The route crosses the river and finds Guide Post Number 26,place chosen by CONAF to build a shelter consistent of two rustic shacks with big open fireplaces, a good quality toilet, dirt floor and rustic roof made out of trunks. The huts are well equipped and have a marvelous sight of the lake, however it is not advisable to spend the night here due to the lack of grass for feeding the horses.
From this point the trails turns to the Northeast and penetrates slopes covered with Lenga forest and a carpet made from Canelilla. It is common to found in this area “cubetas endorreicas” (soil depressions without drainage) forming small lagoons surrounded by wetlands.The trail is well delimited with an acceptable surface so the ride should be one of an easy pace.
Guide Post Number 27will be found after riding for 1050 meters to the northeast at a place called Arroyo Sin Nombre,meaning “Stream with No Name”.Clear waters flow slowly inside the forest forming “meandros”, adding extra beauty to the scenery. Crossing the stream shouldn’t be a problem.The route continues to the Northeast.
After two kilometers riding under an exuberant Lenga forest and on an excellent and clearly limited route,is Guide Post Number 28.The spectacle is magnificent,with many still nameless waterfalls shining all over the place.These waterfalls are formed by conjunction of a few tiny rivers.Later,a short but steep climb presents no challenge for the horses.Lenga trees get bigger every time and the floor covered with Canelilla now mixes with Chaura.
Six hundred and eighty meters on an up and downhill route and Guide Post Number 29 is found.The post indicates the existence of this huge prairie that many years ago used to be mallines area or wetlands. Nowadays animals are brought here during summer time to feed them, allowing valley’s prairies to rest. It is recommended to cross this prairie on a straight line heading northeast. After half a kilometer the traveler will find Guide Post Number 30, where pastures finish and the route is born again.
This is an excellent camp ground, with flat and dry areas,fresh water from a clean stream and dry burning wood from fallen trees.However in order to follow this guide’s itinerary it is recommended to continue. From Guide Post Number 30 onwards,the route heads to the west trough Lenga forest consistent of big adult specimens and a beautiful carpet of Canelilla. Some streams will be crossed and one kilometer further a huge green lagoon appears on a northern direction.The green color of its water may drive the traveler to confusion,thinking that this is Palena Lake.But this is only a small lake on a higher altitude. Heading West on this up and down sloppy trail is Guide Post Number 31 where the renamed Refugio de Sanchez Pobre or “Poor Sanchez’s Shelter” is found.This hut was built with axe carved trunks,has dirt floor and a huge interior fireplace. The shelter’s condition is not optimal and sleeping here is not recommendable. However is good enough for cooking and hiding from bad weather.Some recent “roces”in the area are covered with abundant grass for horses. Firewood and fresh water are easily found.Wooden fences to lock horses in are found, too. The name of the shelter honors Mr Sanchez, a local and famous baquiano,who built this shelter because he used to bring his cattle to this area during summer periods.
5,6 km, 4 Hr. 30 min.
ravelers returning to Lago Verde should leave the camp set because the following section is an out and back day ride for them. It is advisable to leave the excess load and cargo horses resting at the camping site in order to have an easier ride to the last Guide Post of the route.The route heads towards the northeast in the middle of a beautiful Lenga forest. After a one kilometer ride it reaches Guide Post Number 32, Vista al Lago (Lake’s Sight).From this point onwards the route descends gradually to Palena Lake’s shores. The traveler will be able to appreciate the fantastic emerald color of this majestic and isolated lake.
Numerous fallen trees (mainly Lengas), effect of stormy weather, interrupt the route at several points, forcing travelers to detour from time to time. The route follows west on the southern shore of this gigantic lake,and arrives to a place known as Puntilla Lopez, on the most western side of the lake.The place is preserved in good conditions; presenting optimal riding characteristics.Plenty of old wooden partial structures indicate baquianos usage of this spot as a summer campground. A short break is recommended at this site.
The route continues by the side of Palena Lake for some minutes.A slow and peaceful ride on an easy route and the stream named Estero Los Tempanos appears calmly flowing into the lake. Here is Guide Post Number 33 known as Puntilla Lopez and is the perfect place to dismount and rest while admiring the lake in its entire splendor.Locals say that this is the favorite spot for tourist sailing from Argentine or coming from one of CONAF’s shelters placed on the lake’s shore.
The route follows east for some meters and then turns west avoiding a cliff hanging on the lake’s shore. This long but obligatory detour passes through some lookouts from where the lake seems like a green quite, untouched and magnificent vault.The route regains its eastwards orientation,showing no difficulties for travelers.
A downhill trail leads to one of many Palena Lake’s shores and surprisingly travelers will find themselves in the middle of a stones shelter. Rocks falling from the side hills where used to built this shelter, that remains standing on good conditions.This is Guide Post Number 34.
From this point onwards,the route gets more and more complicated.A steep hill trials horse’s capacity and endurance and many fallen trees force the travelers to take big detours.An irregular path’s surface, covered with stones,rounded rocks and Lenga roots, complicate the situation.It is suggested to dismount and walk this section, holding the horse by the reins.
Later the route arrives to a big collapsed area. To continue it is necessary to advance downhill to the lake’s shore and proceed riding on shallow waters.
One hour later guide post number 35 indicates the end of this Heritage Trail. A Trail coming from the North from the town of Alto Palena uses this same Guide Post Number 35. It is recommended to descend to the lakes shore and admire the amazing beauty of the lake where the horizon is dominated by mountains painted with an exuberant green color.
Permisions / Fees
- This route do not require either fees or permits.
Recomendations and considerations
- The description were based in a horse excursion, however the pace is similar to those of trekkers.
- This trekking is described in full detail in the following topoguide of the Ministery of Public Patrimony. The printed guide can be obtained for free in the Ministery:56-2-3512100 -> 2325. It is hihgly recommended to take it to the walk, as it enriches the experience with descrptions of flora, fauna, geography and geology.
- Avoid this trail on rainy weather or during important snow and ice periods. Pico and Quinto River’s water levels rise considerably and may limit their crossings.
- This trail can not be followed all the way up to Palena Lake from mid autumn to early spring.
- To use private shelters or to camp on private properties always ask the owners for permission first.
- To hire horses and to find a guide who knows the trail it is recommendable to approach Lago Verde’s council or visit its web site for more information