The Hornopirén volcano, whose name means "snow furnace" reaches 1,572 meters high. The volcano, a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano, is located in the National Park of the same name which is part of the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault.
To ascend to the summit of the volcano you can start from the Lake Cabrera sector in a medium-high difficulty trek that takes approx. 4 hours. It is recommended that this tour is done with a local guide because there are no established trails
It is the oldest native tree in Chile and it's part of the history of our commune. It is known by the common names of Alerce, Lahuán or Lahual in mapudungun, and
by its scientific name Fitzroya cupressoides.The Alerce is an evergreen tree, which reaches a height of up to 45 m. and can be found in several areas of the commune, such as on the Apagado volcano and the National Park.
This millenary tree had an uncontrolled exploitation in the area by both Chilean and foreign companies. Such is the case of the company formed by Simpson Timber Co. and BIMA between 1962 and 1970.
Since 1976, this tree is recgonized as a natural monument, and therefore its exploitation is prohibited.
This hill is located in the village of Hualaihué Estero, almost at the end of the Coastal Route starting from Contao, in the north, or as the start of the Coastal Route starting from El Varal, in the south. It is an imposing rocky image near the sea which can be climbed after around a one-hour-moderate-trekking. A lagoon and diverse vegetation can be found at the top. Also, you will have an excellent panoramic view of the sector and of the Cisnes River Wetland, characterized by its flamingos and black-necked swans that visit the area at certain times of the year. The name of this hill was given because of its shape that looks like a saddle.
It is considered one of the best routes in the world because of its bleak and unique landscapes. A scenic route of Patagonia and unique in the world, that begins in Puerto Montt and ends in Villa O'Higgins. This is where the commune of Hualaihué emerges as the “Northern Gate of the Carretera Austral”. Over 1,000 kilometers of natural beauty, with maritime sections, are waiting for you in the south of the world to be traversed by car, motorcycle or bicycle.
The construction of the Carretera Austral began in 1976. The agency in charge of the Chilean Army called the Military Work Corps participated in the work, which was carried out by more than 10,000 Chilean soldiers. These soldiers constructed one of the most complex and expensive roads in terms of engineering, because of its rugged geography in which it is located, in the middle of glaciers, lakes, rivers, mountains, forests and fjords
Located in the Chaqueihua sector and in the middle of nature, these beautiful waterfalls are approximately 3 meters high. In addition, you can enjoy an environment with lush forests, streams and an environment full of peace and tranquility.
They are located about 10 minutes from Hornopirén, where there are different tourist services that offer camping, food and hiking services. After a short tour you will see the waterfalls.
The Negro River is also a perfect place for water sports activities such as kayaking.
El Manzano fishing cove is a coastal village that is located approximately 25 km north from Hornopirén through the Carretera Austral. When the tide is low, it is possible to walk to the island of the same name. It is possible to observe black-necked swans and flamingos on the coast of this village during certain seasons of the year.
This village is characterized by artisanal fishing and the extraction of various sea products, which has led it to be one of the four nationwide fishing coves to be a pilot in the Project to Strengthen the Climate Change Adaptation Capacity of the Fishing and Aquaculture Sector in Los Lagos Region, and therefore it is identified as a sustainable fishing cove.
In addition, during summer there are traditional fairs that rescue the local identity and allow you to enjoy various typical local dishes such as the southern hake.
Located at the foot of the Hornopirén and Yates volcanoes, this lake draws the attention of the visitor with waters of glacial origin and a scenery decorated with ancient larches and volcanic stones. You will arrive to the Lake Cabrera's mud hot springs once you cross the lake by boat. The hot springs are inserted in a completely natural environment, surrounded by native flora and fauna. It is possible to arrive to the lake walking or riding a horse, in approximately three hours of ascent and two hours of descent.
In this place, the ancient settlers of the territory were engaged in the extraction and the artisanal manufacture of larch shingles. On February 19, 1965, a landslide of the Yates Volcano caused a wave of water, mud, rocks and trees that buried alive the artisanal larch manufacturers and their families. Since then, on February 19, every year, the inhabitants of Hornopirén and its surroundings walk to a small chapel near the lake in memory of the dead.
Located 30 kilometers south of Hornopirén, the Cahuelmo fjord can only be reached by navigation. One of the peculiarities of this place are its tidal changes, which cause the beach to extend a couple of kilometers during low tide, or that the sea reaches the bottom of the fjord during high tide.
Another attraction of the Cahuelmó fjord are the hot springs of the same name. These hot springs, with an almost null intervention of man, are a rock formation that appears to be a single large rock with several holes in which the thermal water joins, surrounded by the surprising flora and fauna, a feauture of the commune of Hualaihué. Finally, located at the bottom of the fjord, we find the Abascal Lagoon, which belongs to the northern sector of the Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park.
The Comau fjord, also called Leptepu, is a narrow and deep sea entrance that flows mainly from south to north and turns west to the Comau canal, where it connects with the Gulf of Ancud. The Comau fjord is 68 kilometers long from beginning end, located in the Vodudahue river. Its width varies from 1 to 3 kilometers, and the maximum water depth is 500 meters.
The landscape is characterized by constant cliffs, occasionally interrupted by ravines or valleys. The surrounding mountains of the fjord reach an altitude of 2 000 meters, and huge waterfalls fall from them. On the east coast of the Comau fjord there is a protected area created on November 8, 2001 to conserve its biodiversity.
Take a boat in Hornopirén, the gate to the northern fjords of Patagonia, in order to arrive to the Comau fjord.
The Quintupeu is a Chilean fjord, located on the east of the Reloncaví inlet. This fjord is considered as a historic place since it was the place where Dresden hid, the only surviving German ship of the Battle of the Falklands in 1915. This fjord has a narrow entrance and large waterfalls with steep walls of up to 600 meters high, where you can see larches, with specimens of more than 3 600 years.
At the bottom of the Quintupeu fjord there is one of the largest narrowings of the Chilean emerged territory emerged over the continental American mass (that is, directly linked to the rest of the continent, without crossing the sea), limited to only 14.4 km wide, which is the distance that separates the Argentine border from the marine waters of the Reloncaví inlet of the Pacific Ocean.
They are located on the beautiful island of the same name, which is surrounded by nature. You can arrive by boat from Hornopirén after a one-hour navigation journey. The marine flora and fauna, hundreds of sea lions gathered on rocks and the beautiful and characteristic red-legged cormorants can be observed in the area.
The Hornopirén National Park was founded on October 19, 1988. It has 69 195 hectares. It belongs to the Temperate Rain Forests of the Southern Andes Biosphere Reserve, and the Patagonia Parks Network.
The park is covered with vegetation on 50% of its surface and the main forest types are the evergreen larch, Magellan coigüe and lenga beech. The rest is formed by rocky areas, snow, lakes, lagoons and snowdrifts. In terms of mammals, it is possible to find around 25 species, such as puma, the güiña, the lesser grison and the South American gray fox. And in terms of birds, around 123 species can be found in the area, where the flying steamer duck, the Andean condor and the Magellanic woodpecker stand out.
The park emmerged as one of the largest and most diverse private conservation projects in South America. It has 402 392 hectares. A large part of the land (325 000 ha) was owned by Douglas Tompkins, and subsequently by the Pumalín Foundation, which donated the land to the State of Chile in 2017.
The park protects a Temperate Rainforest, rich in flora, which is home to many endemic species, including some of the last specimens left on the planet of the threatened, huge and ancient Larch tree, which is protected as a Natural Monument. Within the commune, the northern zone of the Pumalín National Park can be found, specifically the Cahuelmó hot springs. In this area, there is also an established path towards the Abascal lagoon. You can arrive to Cahuelmó by boat from Hornopirén.
The road known as El Cobre beach begins at the ramp of Hornopirén going west. You can go down the coast, with a spectacular view of the Ciervos island (or Pelada island), the Andes mountain range and the bay of Hornopirén.
Always occupied as a beach by the inhabitants of Hornopirén, this place invites you to be your ideal starting point for sailing to the island of Llancahué, and the fjords of Quintupeu and Cahuelmó, located approximately 40 minutes by speedboat.
Located nine kilometers away from Hornopirén, the Blanco River is a characteristic and must-see attraction. Its ashy white waters mixed with turquoise tones, make it one of the most appealing rivers in the sector and ideal for sports activities such as kayaking and rafting, since it is one of the most fast-flowing in the commune, categorised in level III of difficulty and reaches level IV in certain zones. Surrounded by the Andes mountain range, this river is born from its meltings. Waterfalls flowing from the mountain range can be seen in its surroundings.
You can start a walk from the bridge located on Route 7 and after approximately one hour and a half you will arrive to the Cholila sector, where the waterfalls of the Blanco river are located. This area belongs to the Hornopirén National Park.
The San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation is a private, non-profit institution, whose territory extends 34 000 hectares. It is located in the commune of Hualaihué. The Centre was inaugurated in December 2001 by the Catholic University of Valparaíso and Enel Generation, Endesa Chile at that time, in order to defend and promote the value of the biogeographic heritage of Huinay. This, through a project based on three lines of action that materialize under the concept of sustainable development: Scientific Research, Biodiversity Conservation and Community Support.
With the purpose of performing an active conservation in the environment of Huinay, the Foundation decided not only to preserve the existing species, but also to work to recover degraded areas and already impacted ecosystems of the zone.
From Contao village, going south, you can traverse the coastal route. In this route of 78 kilometers of extension, several natural attractions can be found, such as the beaches of Rolecha, Chauchil and Lleguimán, the Silla hill in the locality of Hualaihué Estero, the caves of Poe in the locality of Lleguimán, and also a varied flora and fauna, characteristic of the area.
Besides the natural attractions, the human works that can be seen along the way also stand out; such is the case of the San Nicolas de Tolentino Church, a larch-made building which dates from 1890. The ancient settlers of the area used this building as a lighthouse to guide their boats to the coast. Given its historic importance, this church was declared National Monument in 2017.
Shore artisans can also be found along many of the fishing coves that form this route. They persevere in the construction of the classic Chiloé boat, they teach their work and are engaged in participatory tourism..
The route ends at the crossing called El Varal, where you can continue south through Route 7 or Carretera Austral toward Hornopirén.
In summer, you can visit the Traditional Fairs that take place in the different locations, enjoy the exquisite cuisine and the activities that show the identity of the commune.
The road from Hornopirén to Pichanco is the last 35 kilometers of the Carretera Austral in the commune of Hualaihué. In terms of scenery, this section is extraordinary. The turquoise waters, the lush islands and volcanoes such as Hornopirén and Yates offer a environment worthy to be visited and admired by nature lovers.
On this route, firstly you will find the Blanco river, then you will will arrive to the Arena beach, an ideal place for swimming in a natural environment, you can also visit the old chapel Jesus Nazareno. Thirdly, you will reach Cholgo fishing cove, which stands out because of the Cholgo river and its great value for fishing. Finally, you will arrive to Pichanco, a fishing cove where the ferry sailed south (until the beginning of mid 90s) to Caleta Gonzalo to continue the trip through Carretera Austral.
The Llancahué hot spring are located on the northern sector of the island of the same name. Llancahué in indigenous language means "Place of plains" or "place of green stones". Llancahué island is known for its hot springs, whose waters emmerge at a temperature above 55 ° C. The peculiarity of this attraction is that the water springs up from the seashore and then, the water is directed to two swimming pools. These are open throughout the year.
The speedboat ride from Hornopirén is about 40 minutes to reach the island. On the route you could see a sea lion colony on the Pelada Island, also called Ciervos Island
Located only 7 km away from Hornopirén through Carretera Austral, the Pichicolo hot springs are natural hot springs inserted in an attractive wooded landscape. They are formed by a set of natural and rustic pools, outdoors and clad in native wood and surrounded by a lush vegetation and an evergreen forest.
The Apagado volcano is a 1 210 meters stratovolcano, controlled by the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault. It is located inside the Mañihueico estate, privately owned and covered by about 12 000 hectares of native forest (9 000 correspond to larch trees). It is estimated that its last eruption occurred about 10 000 years ago. If you do the trekking and the day is clear, you can see up to 8 different volcanoes: Puntiagudo, Osorno, Tronador, Calbuco, Yates, Hornopirén, Michinmahuida and Corcovado.
In the 60s, in the village of Contao, just 12km from the volcano, there were facilities that served as the base of operations for the logging of the larch developed by the American Simpson Timber Company in partnership with the Chilean BIMA S.A .
In Contao, a mechanical industrial complex was installed for the exploitation of the forest, a port of embarkation was enabled and the road was set up to explode larch uphill the volcano. Thus this small village was transformed.
Contao in indigenous language means 'meeting point', and it was an old logging port. Next to the beach, there are traces of what the old Contao Sawmill was, one of the largest in Latin America. Contao has a long history related to logging, particularly to the larch forest. Contao has a great unexplored natural beauty, which is reflected in its immense forests of ancient larches. It is a village located between the sea and the mountains.
Local businesses offer services such as kayaking, boat trips, accommodation and gastronomy for visitors. It should be pointed out that in summer several events are held such as the Recreative Week of Contao, the traditional fairs and typical festivals of the area.
The Poe Caves are located on the coastal route of the commune of Hualaihué in the Lleguimán sector. They are rock formations of high geological value which consist mostly of columnar basalt.
You can visit these caves and also enjoy the beach nearby.
The Yates volcano is an inactive stratovolcano of approximately 2 187 meters high above sea level, located about 10 km north of the Hornopirén volcano. It is partially covered with glaciers and belongs to the Hornopirén National Park.
It is one of the numerous volcanoes formed by the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault.
You can climb the volcano through the Hornopirén National Park, from General Pinto Concha Lake area which will take approximately 4 hours to reach the top.
The difficulty for climbing is simple, but not risk-free, due to the fact that the volcano is isolated from nearby towns and also because of the dense vegetation.
The path crosses sectors of secondary forest and wetlands, then there is a gentle ascent to a small sandy beach on the shore of the Abascal lagoon.
The starting point is at the mouth of the Cahuelmó estuary, on the northwest shore. The access is through sea by kayak or boat from Cahuelmó, or walking from the hot springs when the tide is low.
It is a round trip of around 90 minutes, where you will traverse between 4 and 6 kilometers.
The difficulty of this route is classified as low-medium.
Hornopirén (called Río Negro-Hornopirén in the past), is a town and capital of Hualaihué commune. This town is considered "the northern gate of the Carretera Austral". The main economic activities are tourism, services and fish farming. With a calm life-style, Hornopirén has all the required facilities to attend to the tourists. The town also offers a diversity of activities for visitors in summer. Besides, it is considered a gate community since it is nearby the Hornopirén National Park,