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The Top 8 Hikes in Pucón, Chile

9.2723° S, 71.9776° W

Volcano hiking trail in Pucon, Chile

PUCÓN HAS A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVENTURE, BUT IN OUR OPINION ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IS HEAD OUT FOR A HIKE. BELOW ARE 8 OF THE TOP HIKING TRAILS IN AND AROUND PUCÓN.

 



Pucón, Chile is a mecca for outdoor adventures. So much so that it has garnered the nickname, "The Adventure Capital of Chile." We know that because of its multitude of outdoor adventure possibilities - from rafting to canyoneering, it can be tough to narrow down exactly what to do while visiting.


But after spending a month living in the small mountain town, we realized that one of the best ways to explore the area is via your own two feet.


Hiking is truly an awesome way to check out the local scenery of the place you are exploring. In the case of the Pucón area, this means a lot of forests of the famous araucaria or monkey puzzle trees, clear mountain lakes and snow-capped volcanoes. Plus, hiking will definitely give you the chance to get a more off the beaten path view of what makes Pucón so special.


So if you are sold on spending some of your time out on the trails, then keep reading to discover 8 of the top hikes to do while visiting Pucón.








Quick guide to the top hiking trails in Pucon, Chile







 

TOP 8 HIKES NEAR PUCÓN, CHILE

 







1 | Villarrica Volcano


Villarrica National Park is definitely one of the most popular places to explore in Pucón - especially if you are looking to check summiting a volcano off of your bucket list. If you want to do the iconic hike up to the summit of Villarrica Volcano - an adventure often rated as one of the best hikes in the whole country of Chile (now that is saying something) - then you will need to go with a tour and guide, which you should have no problem finding along the main road (O'Higgins) in downtown Pucon.


The hike up to the top of the volcano does include a bit of snow travel - which is why a guide is necessary. Come prepared with the proper clothing, including firm boots that can be worn with crampons (the firmer the better), sun and wind protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen.


❔GOOD TO KNOW: if summitting a volcano seems like a bit much, but you still want to hike around the area, then consider checking out one of these two hikes: Los Crateres Viewpoint (4.9 miles total) and Cuevas Volcanicas (1.9 miles total). The latter explores some caves (cuevas).




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 5.6 miles / 9 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: medium to tough

TIME NEEDED: 6-8 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: solid hiking boots, sun protection (especially proper eyewear), some snow gear





Snowy Villarrica Volcano in central Chile





2 | Huerquehue Lakes Trail


Located on the banks of Lago Tinquilco (Tinquilco Lake) and high up in the forested hills near Pucon, Huerquehue National Park is one of the top places to head to if you want to explore high mountain lakes, see some raging waterfalls and check out some local flora and fauna. In fact, Huerquehue National Park is one of the best examples of a Valdivian temperate rainforest, which is an ecoregion found on the west coast of southern South America and mostly within the countries of Chile and Argentina.


The most popular hiking trail in the national park is the Los Lagos or Huerquehue Lakes Trail. This long-ish loop starts and ends at the park entrance station (where the public bus that you will take from Pucon drops you off).


The Los Lagos trail is partly on a quiet dirt road until you reach Refugio Trinquilo - a building off the side of the trail. From there the trail is totally singletrack - and uphill. Luckily, almost the entire trail is shaded - which makes it definitely bearable and really quite pleasant even on the hottest of days.


► Check out our full article on exploring Huerquehue National Park and the Los Lagos Trail here.




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 6.5 miles / 10.4 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: moderate

TIME NEEDED: 3-6 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: solid hiking boots, a camera, bug spray




Araucaria trees in Huerquehue National Park in Chile





3 | Volcan Quetrupillan


This is a great hike to do if you want to check out the surrounding area of Pucón, spend a full day outside adventuring, and see some other nearby volcanoes (or volcans).


The hike takes between 4 and 5 hours to get up to the top of the volcano rim and about half that time to come back down. Altogether it is about 10 miles round trip and a little over 3,000 feet (915 meters) of elevation gain - which you will get to do over the entire hike instead of right at the end (aka it is a gradual climb for the most part). There is also a very clear trail almost the whole way up; though, once you get within 500 meters of the summit you will need to maneuver up a sandy scree field to reach the actual rim (this is definitely the most physically challenging part).


But man the views from the top are 100% worth it! From the edge of the caldera (which is now completely filled in with ice and snow), you will be able to see Villarrica Volcano, Lanin Volcano, Mocho and Choshuenco Volcanoes, Llaima Volcano and if the clouds are not too thick, Sollipulli, another dormant, ice-filled volcano (read about that epic hike below).


► Check out our short cinematic adventure film on summitting Quetrupillan.




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 10 miles / 16 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: medium to tough

TIME NEEDED: 7-10 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: hiking boots that can handle dirt, scree and some snow, waterproof pants, a warm jacket, sun protection





Wide view of snowy volcanos and mountains in Chile





4 | Voipir Glacier


Now if you want some awesome views of Villarrica Volcano but not the crowds, then instead consider heading to the trailhead for Voipir Glacier, which is located on the western side of Villarrica National Park.


💬INSIDER TIP: to reach the trailhead for the hike you will need a private vehicle with 4-wheel drive capabilities. The last bit of dirt road is really pretty but also incredibly rough. If you don't have a car with 4-wheel drive then you can also park farther down and add on a couple of miles to the hike.


Along the southwestern slope of the Villarrica Volcano, this beautiful hiking trail takes you up to the Voipir Glacier, one of two glaciers on Villarrica. From the trail, you will be able to see views of the many nearby lakes as well as a few volcanoes (as long as it is a clear day).


Half of the 7.3 mile hike is in the trees, while the other half is completely out in the open. During the second part of the hike you will get some truly epic views of Villarrica in front of you. Keep hiking up the dirt singletrack trail until you reach a mirador and then the actual glacier.




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 7.3 miles / 11.7 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: medium to tough

TIME NEEDED: 4-6 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: strong boots, hiking poles, sun protection






5 | Laguna Negra in El Cani Sanctuary


Santuario El Cañi or El Cañi Sanctuary was actually the first privately protected area in the whole country of Chile - a country known for its absolutely stunning beauty and focus on environmental protections (it is now home to 41 national parks).


If you are looking for a beautiful and exciting day hike within just a short drive (or bus ride) from Pucon, then the Laguna Negra trail might be the best one for you. then make sure to add El Cañi Sanctuary and its main trail, Laguna Negra to your list.


The roughly 10-mile hike is quite steep - especially for the first half - but it is also very pretty. Along the trail you will get to see different types of forests, including some very large araucaria or monkey puzzle trees, a few clear mountain lakes, and if you make it all the way to the mirador at the end, you will be rewarded with some epic views of the surrounding mountains.





DETAILS

DISTANCE: 10.1 miles / 16.2 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: tough

TIME NEEDED: 6-9 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: hiking boots that can handle a lot of sandy uphill, sun protection, binoculars





Araucaria trees in El Cani Sanctuary near Pucon, Chile





6 | Lagos Andinos


If you have your own private car and are looking to check out a much more off the beaten path hiking destination near Pucón, then make sure to add the Lagos Andinos hiking trail to your list.


This 9.3 mile out and back trail is actually located in Villarrica National Park - though it is so far from Pucón that you will likely have most of the trail to yourself (especially if you visit on a weekday). The main draw of this route is the opportunity to check out 3 different mountain lakes - including the fairly large Huinfiuca Lake.


💬 INSIDER TIP: the sun can be intense out on the trail - especially when you get out of the trees. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, water and sun-protective clothing.




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 9.3 miles / 14.9 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: medium

TIME NEEDED: 4-6 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: comfortable hiking shoes, sun protection






7 | Nevados de Sollipulli


Nevados de Sollipulli, or just Sollipulli, is an absolutely stunning (and massive) ice-filled volcanic caldera and volcano complex. Located just north of Pucón, Sollipulli is 100% worth seeking out, especially if you are interested in seeing a slightly different type of volcanic landscape.


The trail to the caldera rim is less than 8 miles round trip (or 12.8 kilometers), with just around 3,000 feet of elevation gain (but somehow it doesn't feel that steep while hiking...). Plus, while the ice-filled Sollipulli caldera is definitely the star of the show, along the way, you will also be able to check out a large araucaria forest, take in some amazing views of nearby Llaima Volcano and maybe even see a bright blue glacier lake.


► Explore our short cinematic adventure film on trekking to the top of Sollipulli.




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 7.8 miles / 12.5 kilometers round-trip

DIFFICULTY: medium

TIME NEEDED: 4-7 hours

SPECIFIC GEAR: good hiking boots, sun protection, warm jacket





Lone Araucaria tree along a ridge in Pucon, Chile





8 | The Villarrica Traverse


By far one of the longest trails in the Pucón area is this roughly 45 mile (or 72 kilometer) long trail that starts at the Pucón Ski Resort and heads around Villarrica and down through some rugged backcountry before ending near the town of Puesco.


The Villarrica Traverse usually takes backpackers 5 days to complete - though this time frame totally depends on how fast you are hiking and how much you want to see in a day. The hiking route covers a pretty wide swath of terrain, from thick native araucaria forests to large and small volcanoes to slick scree fields to clear mountainous lagoons.


If you are looking to truly explore the native landscape around Pucón and you have the time (and gear), then this long-distance trail might be absolutely perfect!




DETAILS

DISTANCE: 45.5 miles / 73.2 kilometers

DIFFICULTY: challenging

TIME NEEDED: 5 - 7 days depending on your hiking speed

SPECIFIC GEAR: a full backpacking set-up, plus some snow gear if heading out early in the season (November or December)




Cloud covered Villarrica Volcano in Pucon, Chile





\\ Top Gear for Hiking in Chile



HIKING BOOTS

You will want some solid hiking boots for the majority of the hikes in Pucón. While the trails are usually not very challenging, a lot of them are on old volcanic lava fields (aka lots of loose dirt and sand). These hardy boots by Asolo should work perfectly for all of your hiking adventures in the area. Check them out here.




TREKKING POLES

Similarly, you may want to bring some trekking poles with you on a few of the steeper hikes - especially if you are someone who struggles with slick downhills or has bad knees. There are definitely a few parts on some of the trails (especially Quetrupillan and Sollipulli) where having that extra bit of support would have been helpful. These poles by Black Diamond would be a great addition to your hiking gear. Check them out here.




WARM JACKET

While hiking in the summer should afford you some awesome sunny days, it is more than likely that at the top of some of the mountains there will be some sort of icy wind. That is why no matter where you plan to hike in Pucón, you should always bring a jacket. This one by Patagonia is warm enough to keep you nice and cozy, while still being small enough to pack down easily when you don't need it. Check it out here.




GLOVES & HAT

The final pieces of hiking gear you may want to bring with you on some of the longer, higher elevation hikes (Villarrica, Sollipulli, Quetrupillan) will be a warm pair of gloves and a hat. This pair of gloves from Hestra are small enough to not take up too much space in your hiking bag, yet still warm enough to keep your hands cozy while up at higher elevations. Likewise, this cozy and simple stocking cap from Patagonia should do the trick no matter how much wind there is at the top. Check out the gloves here and the hat here.




WATER BOTTLE

We have been absolutely loving our LARQ water bottles lately - especially when we get to use them out on the trails. Thanks to their super handy UV filter (which kills 99% of bacteria) we feel comfortable drinking water from all kinds of sources; including, from rivers and lakes, popular restaurants and even bus stations. Check out the LARQ bottles for yourself here.









Pucón is known as the adventure capital of Chile for a reason. But with so many hiking trails scattered around the area - from the very easy to longer, multi-day adventures - it can be hard to figure out where to go. We know we struggled with the overwhelming amount of options while we lived in Pucón - which is why we wanted to list out some of the top hikes to explore when visiting the area.


If you have any questions about these 8 hiking trails, or about Pucón in general, then please leave a comment below or reach out to us directly!


Happy adventuring!




 

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PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR ADVENTURING IN CHILE


| Reusable water bottle: we love LARQ water bottles since they are the world's first self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system. Plus, they are rechargeable!


| Eco-friendly sunscreen: we love MadHippie sunscreen because it’s cruelty-free, vegan, broad spectrum, and reef safe. And even better, they donate $1 for every purchase to conservation efforts.


| Allbirds shoes: comfortable shoes can make or break an adventure or travel day, these eco-conscious and cozy shoes from Allbirds have been our faves for years.




► Find our full sustainable travel packing list here.



 


STAYING SAFE & PLANNING AHEAD


| SafetyWing: make sure you are staying safe with this easy-to-sign-up health insurance that is specifically meant for digital nomads. You can even sign up once you are already abroad.


| WayAway: this flight aggregator helps travelers find the best rates on airline tickets.


| BusBud: explore millions of bus routes and destinations in one easy-to-use search; plus, you can compare prices and book your tickets online.


| Rentalcars.com: check out the world’s biggest online car rental service that is available in over 150 countries worldwide.


| iVisa: this site helps make sure you have all the necessary documents and entry requirements while traveling.


| Wise: an app that makes it super easy to transfer money between currencies while abroad.


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