With 36,882 ha. of surface, this reserve is the result of a combination of volcanic, glacial and fluvial phenomena. Its main channel is the Cipreses River, a tributary of the Cachapoal, but there are also small lagoons in the highest areas of the park, such as the Agua de la Vida lagoon.
Created in 1985, this reserve is currently part of a program of the Conaf that seeks to promote the development of ecotourism in the protected wild areas of Chile by promoting the participation of the private sector in the construction and operation of infrastructure, and the development of Ecotouristic Services through the system of concessions.
The best time to visit is between September-December and mid-February-April due to good weather and few visitors. However, if what you want to see is an imposing snowy landscape, the best time is between June and July.
Created to protect and preserve representative samples of the biological diversity of the area and its habitats, Río de los Cipreses hosts endangered species or those that are being reintroduced. On the other hand, within the reserve there are places of archaeological, anthropological and historical interest given by petroglyphs and ancient constructions.
How to get there: From Santiago-Rancagua: through public or private mobilization. From Rancagua to the Reserve: Take the road Pdte. Eduardo Frei Montalva, or also called “the highway of the copper”, towards the east. In 50 km you will reach the mining town of Coya, continue until you reach a crossroads, take the road marked to the reserve, and in 15 km you will reach the goal of it.
The most important area corresponds to the Cipreses river box, which is characterized by a long, narrow valley with a south-north rectilinear orientation. The bottom of the valley varies from 1,200 to 1,700 meters above sea level; The summits that surround it vary between 3,000 and 4,900 meters above sea level (Palomo volcano). There are also some smaller valleys of the “hanging” type due to glacial effects, which correspond to the El Baúl-Piuquenes estuary, Medina estuary and Los Arrieros estuary.
Hydrography: The water network of the reserve is formed by tributaries of the Cachapoal River that join it from the south. The most important is the Cipreses River whose basin represents 80% of the Reserve and which is born in the glacier of Los Cipreses, in the extreme south of the reserve. Other rivers and estuaries are El Torno, El Relvo, Rapiante, El Baúl, Piuquenes, El Arriero, Medina and El Colorado. There are also gaps in the upper sectors, these are: Agua de la Vida (1,700 masl), Los Piuquenes (2,300 masl) and El Arriero (2,300 masl).
Flora: The basin of the Cipreses River, encased in a broad Andean valley, presents a vegetational variety that goes from the sclerophyllous forest (adapted to semiarid conditions), constituted by peumos, quillayes and litres, up to the high altitude plains, constituted by Herbaceous species that live above 2,000 meters. In medium-height sectors it is possible to observe cypress forests of the Cordillera growing along with the Cordillera mountain range, especially in the Urriola sector. The lower vegetational stratum of this area is made up of coirones, mondays and in the springtime abundant flowers of great beauty.
Fauna: The birds and animals present in this area stand out for their beauty as well as for their conservation status. Among the mammals, the guanaco stands out, which inhabits the most inaccessible slopes; the culpeo fox and the fox chilla, that can be observed in the sites of public use and the vizcacha, that lives in the rock sectors. Among the birds, the tricahue parrot is the most striking. This bird, whose population is protected because it is in danger of extinction, builds its nest in ravines, so it is possible to observe them in the ravines of the Cachapoal River during the morning, when they go out to feed, and in the afternoon, when they return to their nests. On the high summits there are condors and eagles; and in the lagoons and water courses the caique de Magallanes, the correntino duck and the cachañas give life to the landscape.
The climate is Mediterranean, hot in summer and cold in winter. The average annual temperature is 13 ° C. The central zone of Chile is considered the warmest in the country. In summer temperatures exceed 30 ° C.
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