A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Río Pangal

Without a doubt, the hydro-developed Río Pangal is one of the most radical whitewater stretches in Chile. The river is only runnable when the right amount of cold, silty water is released from the dam and allowed to churn through its rocky channel. The crux of this formidable run occurs at Cuesta Caracoles where the […]

Estero Lechoso

Estero Lechoso is an intense, class V+ committing run of great beauty. Directly below the put-in lies a majestic, runnable slot canyon with a navigable cataract at the bottom. The river then meanders for a couple of hundred meters until the walls constrict again. At this point, the gradient increases dramatically as the Lechoso topples […]

Rio Cochrane

Only 1 km in length this short, difficult run (class V+•VI ) is quite different from the section upstream. After bursting over the lip of the 8 m high falls dowstrream of the hydroplant, the Cochrane explodes in a series of drops that require caution. From Cochrane, 337 km south of Coiyaique, drive out of […]

Río El Cañal

We were dead tired after many days of nonstop scouting and boating when we crossed Puente Cañal. Draining the glittering heights of Cordon Contreras (2602 m), the Río El Cañal flows out of the westernmost edge of Campo de Hielo Norte. Even though the sight of this milky green, glacial creek tumbling out of the […]

Estero del Bosque

This short 6 km, class V trip makes for an interesting combination of tight, technical boating on the Bosque averaging 53 mpk or 280 FPM @ 300 CFS, culminating with a high volume flush thru the Río Ibañez narrows. The Bosque’s clear water contrasts sharply with the brown, silty water of the Ibañez. Start your […]

Río Los Maitenes

The Río Los Maitenes is only recommended for that paddler who loves the commitment of a slot canyon, is willing to climb on crumbly rock, and thrash through thick, inpenetrable thorn bushes. At medium-to-high flows, you will have to endure these hazards during a mandatory portage that requires you to climb out of the canyon, […]

Rio Aviles

The Río Avilés is my favorite of the many streams that empty into Lago General Carrera. First explored by Arnd Schaeftlein, Bernd Sommer, Josh Lowry, Dave Kashinski, Oliver Grau, and Manuel Arnu in January 1996, this committing trip requires a 2-3 hour scout from both canyon rims to confirm that its slot canyon is free […]

Río Llanquén

While paddling down the still free flowing stretch of the Upper Bío-Bío, the magnificent view of Volcán Callaqui (3050 m) first comes into view at the confluence with the Río Llanquén. This little drainage offers a fun, short, steep creek run for the energetic boat hiker. The tight moves in the narrow streambed require precise […]

Rio Futaleufú (Terminator Section)

The terminator stretch combines big water playboating potential with the heart stomping option of running the gut of its biggest rapid terminator. The water is irridescent blue and generally warm and the scenery spectacular. Due to an upstream dam in Argentina the river has year round water. Winter months are cold and the river is […]

Rio Laja

The run is 4km long with average gradient of 165 FPM. Put in is at 1100 meters at Salto Las Chilcas and takeout is at the ENDESA reservoir 975 meters. Class 4 +/5- run best in spring and summer. The Río Laja rips through a geologic wonderland upstream from Salto del Laja, a popular roadside […]

Rio Aconcagua “Salto De Soldado”

This description was actually written by kayaking legend Lars Holbek Salto del Soldado canyon sports a wild class V+ run through a imposing, vertiginous chasm. According to Chilean folklore, a soldier once jumped across the canyon on a horse! The narrows is the crux of the run, undoubtedly one of the most difficult set of […]

Estero Coilaco

Another run in Pucon area this one is pretty small and is therefore called an Estero instead of a Rio. Apart from the Ojos de Carburgua and the infamous “MP” this is probably the most popular park and huck. From Pucon cross the Trancura over Puente Meterenehue and continue 8 KM and make the turn […]

Florin River

The Florin is a seldom run, low volume creek in Lago Ranco region known for its stout falls. It is reached by driving up the Florin from town of Futrono. Some slightly ghetto hot springs add to the attraction. Fotos best describe the run.. Other nearby rivers include the Curringue, Gol Gol, San Pedro, Rininahue […]

Río Colorado (Lontue)

Vertical ramparts of columnar basalt tower above the Río Colorado, the Lontué’s major tributary. Compared to the Lontué, the Colorado is cold, turbid, and a much greater whitewater challenge. Coursing through sequentially layered lava flows run amok, the river cuts a sinuous swath through one of Chile’s coolest canyons. Excellent rapids are found throughout the […]

Río González

For ambitious boat hikers, Cajón de González is an outstanding whitewater gem featuring adrenaline packed rapids from start to finish. Below two runnable 3 m waterfalls on Estero de Las Tragedias, the action heats up when the canyon walls narrow. The crux of the trip occurs in the middle of the run, where the gradient […]

Río Volcán (Upper)

The upper Volcán is a cold, raging, silty flush plummeting out of the high Andes.  Tight and pushy, its churning waters feature some of the most continuous action in Chile. Emplaced from landslides, the rapids seem to be in perpetual flux in a riverbed strewn with rocks that can be heard rockin’ and rollin’ along […]

Rio Ventisqueros

The Ventisqueros is a seldom run glacial torrent born on a spectacular hanging glacier in Parque Nacional Quelat about 220 KM south of the town of Futaleufu in Chile’s XI Region. It is an attractive option to break up the long grueling drive for those traveling from Futaleufu south to the Rio Baker. It’s gray, […]

Rio Cochamo

A trip up the Cochamó valley is an incredible experience. Tumbling from the massive granite domes of Cerro Torrecillas (2164 m) and Cerro Cuernos Del Diablo (1920 m) is one of Chile’s most extreme kayak runs. For the true adrenaline crazed boater, The Cochamó river will provide the goods as it plunges the final few […]

Rio Negro

For years I had heard rumors of a waterfall infested river in the South of Chile named the Río Negro. This year I ran into a Swiss boater named Toro who not only had heard of the river but in fact had run it 3 years earlier with a group of European kayakers. Toro spoke […]

Rio Puesco

Tumbling off the flanks of the magnificent 3717 meter Volcan Lanin are the headwaters of Pucon’s Trancura River. While lower sections of the river close to Pucon see hundred’s of daily visitors from the numerous rafting companies, the upper reaches of the river are rarely explored. At a distance of only 67 KM from Pucon […]