A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Rio Huepíl

  Meaning rainbow in local language the Huepíl is nailbiting run through an overlooked part of Chile´s 8th region… The river would normally have paltry flows in summer months but due to hydrological rerouting water from both the Rio Molcho and Rio Laja are diverted into the Huepíl to supply the agricultural needs of central […]

Rio Llancahue (Lower)

Jared Seiler dropping the “Suavemente” aka “Purty Thirty” at the start of the Lower section. The Rio Llancahue located on the southeastern slope of Volcan Villarica is reached via Conaripe.  It is roughly an hour and a half drive from Pucon. It is easily found by following signs to the famous hot springs “Termas Geometricas”. […]

Rio Polcura

A classic multi-day run in Chiles South Central Andes which has all the good stuff you want in a river trip. The river flows basically south through the Reserva Nacional Ñuble in Chile´s 8th region. Towering snow peaks provide for good snowpack and longer boating season than many nearby rivers. Packing it in For years […]

Rio Curacalco

A Native Mapuche word perhaps meaning ¨rock magic¨ Cura-rock, Calcu-witchcraft Located in the comuna de Cunco, Region de la Araucania, Chile´s 9th region… A low elevation run flowing off the north western flank of the permanent snowfields of Nevados de Solipulli with adequate water levels in the winter-early spring months from August to mid October […]

Rio Ñiblinto

The Ñiblinto is a newly found classic flowing of the NorthWest flank of the Chillan Volcano in Chile´s Central Andes. The class 4-5 run features crsytal-clear, cold water and a mature granite streambed. Apart from one misplaced tree all drops were runnable on the Nov 2, 2011 first descent where we estimated a very manageable […]

Rio Mayer

This is a gem that is well worth to drive south for. About half an hour before you get to Villa O`higgins you will cross the river on your way on the Carretera Austral. Rio Mayer flows lazily under the roadbridge, but just upstream awaits the adventures. When driving towards Villa O´higgins take the first […]

Rio Bonito

The Rio Bonito is a new classic in Chilean creek boating. Although short, the river packs a hell of a punch in its 2 km canyon. The river is born at the base of Cerro Puntiagudo (2190 meters) and flows into Lago Rupanco. Typical drop on Rio Bonito The water is crystal clear and 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 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 Manso (Nahual Huapi)

Written by Greg Moore The emerald Río Manso flows through a wild canyon in Parque Nacional Nahual Huapi (Mapuche for “Tiger Island”) south of the ski resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. The river drains the southeast flank of Monte Tronador (3491 m) (‘Thunderer’ or ‘Anon’ in Mapuche, whose meaning is almost identical […]

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 Petrohué (Upper)

The Río Petrohué drains Lago Todos los Santos in Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales. It is the largest park in the Chilean Lake District and adjoins Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi in Argentina to form one of the biggest contiguous tracts of protected trans-Andean wilderness in South America. Established in 1926, it is the second oldest […]

Rio Cisnes (Upper)

Don’t be fooled by the low average gradient on the upper Cisnes. Its citadel rock walls reverberate with the roar of great whitewater rising from the abyss. Located east of the Carretera Austral, this precipitous canyon forms the southeastern boundary of Parque Nacional Queulat. Although off the beaten, dusty track, the magnificence of this canyon […]

Rio Salto Del Tigre

On our first descent in February 1998, Joe Larrow, John Hart, Aaron Pruzan, Robby Dastin, and I encountered an irritatingly low flow at the put-in. If there had been a road nearby, I would have bailed out. Nevertheless, we persevered only to encounter bumping and grinding class III boulder gardens in the headwaters and grueling […]

Rio Resbalón

After tumbling through a foggy, verdant canyon upstream, the Resbalón meanders into Bahia Murta, the northwest arm of Lago Bertrand. Because of its lush vegetation and sheer walls, bailouts are virtually impossible. More than a few inconveniently placed logs require caution. Even though the canyon is tight, there is sufficient room to scout and portage. […]

Rio Cachapoal (Upper)

The upper roars through a chiquitito box canyon 2.5 km below the put-in in Reserva Nacionál Río de Los Cipreses. House-sized rocks that tumbled down from adjacent talus slopes create terminal hydraulics at high water above this seething cauldron of whitewater. The unportagable slot is 2-3 m wide, and no more than 100 m long. […]

Quebrada El Toro

During our failed attempt to explore the headwaters of the Río Melado in December 1997 (a wicked high El niño year) , John Foss, Josh Lowry, Robby Dastin, and I came upon this little creek. Quebrada El Toro is a beauty, one of a dozen of such torrents tumbling out of the southcentral Andes. It […]