A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Rio Bullileo

The rivers name is taken from Mapundungun language and means river of scales which sounds strange until you realize that the river is a tributary of the Longaví which in same language means Head of the serpent. This run is via a dam release in Chile´s 7th region so often runs well into summer (until the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rio Teno

Like a cement truck, the Teno’s cold, gray torrent churns through a short, sheer-walled canyon 22 km above Los Queñes. This mini-gorge sharply contrasts with the glacially-carved valley above and below it. Virtually the entire run is visible from the road that parallels the river. Portage around an ugly combination of sieves, logs, and a […]

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 Ralco

The class 4, class 4+ Río Ralco flows through an enchanting, basalt canyon drenched in luscious springs, and draped with water-loving chilcos (Fuchsia magellanica), a fuchsia-like flower with bright red sepals and bluish-purple petals. Its sparkling water courses through a maze of boat-scoutable, pool-drop rapids. None of the drops are very tough, but be wary […]

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 […]

Rio Longavi

The Longaví is a short but attractive option for class 3-4 boaters. Located in the 7th region, the Longaví has a nice flow in winter, spring and early summer and is best run before January. It’s crystal clear waters are born on the southwestern flank of Nevado Longavi (3242 m) Put in Rio Longavi To […]

Rio Maule

Getting to the Maule can be very confusing but the rewards are worth it. The Maule features warm water and 21 km of class 3-5 whitewater with a big water feel. Located in Chile’s 7th region the Maule is a good run to help break up the drive for kayakers in transit from Santiago to […]

Rio Achibueno

I am not sure where this river derived its name but the “bueno” portion is very fitting. I first visited the river on December 13, 1997 with John Foss, Josh Lowry and Robbie Dastin. The scenery was spectacular and the boating and camping outstanding. The river is best run during late spring and early summer […]

Rio Melado

The Rio Mealdo is a high volume wildnerness run located in Central Chile. For years running it from the source had been on the radar screen of many indiviuduals. I know of three unsuccessful attemps (two of which I was on) before we were able to successfully get to the put in early december 2005. […]