Unknown and paradisiacal, the unspoilt nature of the Hornopirén National Park reaches deep into the mind and heart of anyone who visits it. From intrudes among larch forests that make you feel small but at the same time welcomed, until reaching the heights of the Yates volcano to observe the immense Patagonian landscape next to the flight of the condors. The expedition through the Hornopirén National Park is the closest thing to a spiritual experience in nature, and here we tell you everything you need to know to visit it.
Arriving at the Hornopirén National Park is not easy, but it is a beautiful journey. From Puerto Montt you must drive 45 kilometers to the south by the beginnings of the Carretera Austral, caressing the great Alerce Andino National Park until you reach Caleta La Arena. From there you must take a ferry to cross the Reloncaví Estuary. To do so, you do not need to book in advance, as the boarding is by order of arrival and the transfer payment is made directly on the ship.
After approximately 45 minutes sailing through the Patagonian waters, we reach Caleta Puelche. From there you must take a bus or continue driving until you reach Hornopirén. There are approximately 54 kilometers that take place in just over an hour. In total, the route from Puerto Montt to Hornopirén lasts between 3 and 4 hours.
The town is small and charming, and receives its visitors together with a magnificent natural backdrop. After Hornopirén you must follow the Carretera Austral to Chaquihua Alto, the last accessible point by car and where there is a CONAF booth. From there you have to make a walk of approximately 7 kilometers on private lands until the beginning of the park that is marked with a large sign.
The Hornopirén National Park exists since 1988 and has an area of 48 thousand hectares. Although its entrance is free, it is not visited by too many people, so you will find yourself face to face with a wild nature and practically without human intervention.
The main path of the Park is the one that goes towards the Pinto Concha Lake. Although they are only 9 kilometers to the lake, the journey is always uphill and with a considerable slope, so you can get to easily delay between 6 and 7 hours if you go with a lot of cargo. Keep in mind that only in the middle of the trail, and at the end of it, there are some easily accessible points to get water.
The climate of the Hornopirén National Park is characterized by being quite humid, since it lacks dry or rain-free seasons. Depending on the observation area and height, there are different climates between rainy, mountain and ice tempering. Therefore, always consider the possibility of rain during your visit to the park.
The fall of waters can transform the pleasant paths into real mud pools that, although they make difficult the crossing, will cause your senses to focus on feeling the power of nature. For security reasons, mainly due to the accumulation of snow and ice, the Park is normally closed to the general public between July and November.
The intense hours of climb have their reward when arriving at the beautiful Pinto Concha Lake. This is where the camping sectors are located, where you can stay for a couple of days to enjoy the peace and immensity of the surroundings. Unfortunately, the lake has been collected over the years, so several decide to camp along the shore instead of the authorized sectors. From the lake you have the possibility of starting two trails, the first is a bypass to the body of water, which according to CONAF has an approximate duration of 3 hours. The other option is to start the trekking to the Yates Volcano.
In the same camping area there is a sign that indicates the start of the trail to the impressive Yates Volcano (2,187 m). There are no historical records of eruptions, so uploading it is quite safe. The route travels 3.6km of gentle slope through alerces and lengas, in about 2 hours to reach the southern slope of the volcano where there is a viewpoint.
From here the view is impressive, with a panoramic view that surrounds the Pinto Concha Lake surrounded by the Andes mountain range. With the condors flying over you, suddenly you realize that your whole trip has been worth it. Each step of the journey through the Hornopirén National Park makes sense when you find yourself observing such an overwhelming landscape. Reaching the volcano lookout can be done without problems during the summer, without the need for sophisticated mountain equipment. You only need the desire!
Without a doubt it is one of the National Parks of Chile that is worth visiting.
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