A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Rio Blanco de Coihueco

A small class 3 creek with its headwaters in Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales in Chile´s 10th Region de Los Lagos. Flowing north off the snow capped peak of Osorno (2652 meters), this small volume creek offers an interesting option while in the Lago Llanquihue area. Put in Rio Blanco de Coihueco To reach the […]

Rio Iculpe

A new classic flowing off the northern flanks of the Puyehue Volcano (2240 meters) in Chile’s Region de Los Rios. The river feeds into southern shore of Lago Ranco. Fields Marshall below first drop This small volume creek has easy access and requires little water to make it runnable. The volcanic riverbed provides for multiple […]

Rio Hueinahue

The Hueinahue makes a bold statement 7.5 KM before it enters Lago Mahuie. Here the river tumbles over a spectacular bedrock falls before joining the Rio Remahue and flowing into the lake. The Rio Remahue (which contains about two thirds of the combined flow) makes an even bolder statement plunging over 200 meters just above […]

Rio Pangue

Most people think of the Bio Bio River drainage and envision the three large dams choking a once magnificent river. While true, smaller volume, free-flowing, whitewater opportunities are still abundant in the Bio Bio watershed. Once such gem is the Rio Pangue which has remarkably easy logistics. This creek run flows of the Southern flank […]

Rio Las Truchas

The Rio Las Truchas is one of the few multi-day river trips in Chile and features both outstanding whitewater and spectacular scenery. It is an upper tributary of the  Ñuble River (see separate description) and needs to be run with spring and early summer snow melt so best from late September to mid/late November with […]

Rio Curaco

Draining Lago Colico in Chile’s 9th region is a continuous, friendly class 2-3 whitewater river best run in winter or early summer only when lake is full at peak snowmelt. Since the river is lake fed its volume changes very little in summer even after large rainfall. The river is very clear and not so […]

Flying To Chile With Kayaks 2011

For 2010 – 2011 kayak season here is the latest information on flying with kayaks: (Thanks for Stacy Ann Mcbain and Jeff Robinson for collecting this info) Delta – not accepted American -not accepted Horizon – not accepted Air Canada – not accepted Continental, United and US Air have policies: Continental Kayaks Continental Airlines will […]

Rio Caunehue

A short burst of paddling in the Futrono Zone. Best during highwater springtime run off or after periods of sustained rain. Caunehue whitewater This short class IV+ stretch is on the northern shore of Lago Ranco just east of the town of Futrono in Chile’s recently created Region XIV aptly called Region de Los Rios. […]

Rio Trafanpulli

A rumbling steep creek coming off the permanent snowfields of Nevados de Solipulli is the Rio Trafanpulli. In local Mapadungo language the meaning is “junction of the valleys”. French kayaker Valentin Grollemund I first started looking at this creek in 1995 but it was not until 2009 that I was able to get back to […]

Río Bío-Bío (El Nacimiento)

The famed Bío-Bío, Chile’s second longest river, originates in the heart of Mapuche-Pehuenche territory. The nacimiento, or birthplace of the river, is primeval and unforgettable. Araucarias, one of the Earth’s three oldest surviving tree species, stand sentinel along a shore framed by distant peaks straddling the border between Chile and Argentina. Float this headwater run […]

Río Bío-Bío (Lower)

Although the upper canyons now lay dormant under man made reservoirs, the lowest section of the Bío-Bío still offers intermittent whitewater, easy access, and pleasant scenery and a reminder of what was lost upstream. Its class II-III rapids will challenge, terrify, and delight the novice. During the mellow interludes, you will have plenty of time […]

Rio Renegado

The Renegado is a seldom run creek that plummets off of Volcan Chillan (3186 meters). It is small so usually gone by beginning of December but might come up in summer months after several days of heavy rain. Mellow takeout on the Renegado The normal stretch is a class 4, 8 km section with ideal […]

Rio Dillo

To reach the put-in from Curracautín go west on the paved road towards Victoria and you will cross Puente Dillo in 4-1/2 kilometers (first you will pass over Puente Amantible). After crossing the bridge immediately turn right and drive up a private road until you reach a locked gate. We were given permission from landowner […]

Rio Captren

The Captren flows off the snow-covered, north western flank of Volcan Llaima (3125 meters) and has it’s headwaters within The Parque Nacional Conguillio at Laguna Captren. The river, however, is not runnable in its upper reaches but instead provides the right combination of gradient and flow for it’s final 3 km descent to the confluence […]

Rio Blanco (Cautín)

The Rio Blanco is an easy access, class 3 run flowing off the snowfields on the southern flank of Volcan Tolhuaca. Tolhuaca Volcano view from put in The run is best done during peak spring runoff or after extended periods of heavy rain. The water is ice cold. It is perhaps the only run in […]

Rio Calbuco

Draining the South Western flank of Volcan Llaima (3125 meters) is the deceivingly innocent Rio Calbuco. After meandering thru braided debris flows coming off the flanks of the volcano, the river tightens up at Puente Calbuco for it’s thundering 8 km descent to the confluence with Rio Quepe below town of Cherquenco. Fields Marshall at […]

Río Palena

The Palena is a beautiful, although blustery, multi-day trip with nary a trace of whitewater. A dense pall of fog clings to Volcán Melimoyú (2400 m), the lofty summit that overlooks the lower river west of the Carretera Austral. Much of the forest is uncut, having escaped the fire-ravaged scenarios in other parts of Patagonia. […]

Río Cisnes (Piedra del Gato)

Boaters migrating down the Carretera Austral inevitably flock to the Piedra del Gato overlook to check out the Río Cisnes. For good reason, this roadside canyon is a great place to unwind and stretch your legs after circumventing the southwest corner of Cordillera Queulat. If you decide to paddle the Cisnes, you’ll find some tough, […]

Río Cajón

Volcanic ash and cinders blanket the Río Cajón basin, which lies downwind from Volcán Hudson (1369 m). After laying dormant for twenty years, Hudson erupted in August 1991 wreaking considerable property damage and environmental change in Chile Chico and western Argentina. Meter-thick ash deposits buried a 25 km section of the Carretera Austral. Spend the […]

Río Fuy (Lower)

Flowing warm and transparent out of Lago Pirehueico deep in the heart of Chile’s Lake District, the Fuy’s astonishing clarity is a sight to behold. With a dense canopy of coihue trees overhanging its banks, the river has an exotic, even ethereal, Gondwanaland feel to it. Michael Shields crashing thru the wavetrain below Puente Huilo-Huilo […]