A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Rio El Tigre

Located near the Argentinian border in the Patagonian province of Palena in Chile´s 10th Region de los Lagos, The Rio El Tigre serves as a major tributary of the Palena. The run features good road side class 2-3 boating with outstanding fishing and scenery plus a more challenging class 4 stretch accessible only by boat […]

Rio Blanco de Calbuco

A low volume gem flowing of southwestern flank of volcan Calbuco (Mapuche word meaning blue water¨) Located in Chile´s 10th Region de Los Lagos and within the confines of La Reserva Nacional Llanquihue and just above Lago Chapo. Clay Wright first descent of Rio Blanco On our first descent January 25th, 2012 Clay Wright and […]

Rio Mosco

The Rio Mosco flows from the Mosco glaciar just outside of Villa O´higgins, and is a nice little run if you are in town and don´t want to drive anywhere. However, you either have to hike in, or rent horses that will take you half way. There is a trail, on both sides of the […]

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 Coihueco

A class 3 run through a seldom visited part of Southern Chile. Flowing off the snowfields of Cerro Puntiagudo, the Coihueco provides for some spectacular scenery and a nice day of mellow whitewater in the Region de Los Lagos. To reach the river from Ruta 5 take the paved road to Puerto Octay. From here […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Río Petrohué (Lower)

The lower Petrohué is a popular commercial raft trip and a good run for intermediate kayakers. Its wide-open rapids require a minimum of maneuvering to negotiate safely. Surfing the warm, azure waves entail backing down and stroking hard because there are few convenient eddies. Calm interludes allow ample time to gaze at the lofty heights […]

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 […]

Río Figueroa

Bordering the northern edge of Parque Nacional Queulat, the Río Figueroa flows through a beautiful valley of old growth forest. Cordillera Queulat and Sierra Negra peek above the horizon. Excluding some excellent drops in the gorge above Puente Figueroa (which is on Rio Pico), most of the run contains intermittent class II-III boulder garden rapids. […]

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 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 Blanco (Hornopirén)

I first ran the Río Blanco back in 1991 with John Foss. We had come across the river while driving south to Futaleufú. I had not seen the river again until December of 2008 when I returned to area to explore the nearby Río Negro. View of Rio Blanco upstream from takeout bridge The Blanco […]

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 Espolon

The Espolon is a mellow float with some occasional play and spectacular water quality. For 20 years the river has been a favorite training run for beginner kayakers visiting the Futaleufú area. With easy roadside access and close proximity to the town of Futaleufú the river sees a surprising number of visitors in the summer […]

Rio Futaleufu (Macal section)

The Futaleufú river is known globally for its big volume and furious rapids. Until people visit and get to know the area they are often unaware that more mellow sections of the river exist. For those groups traveling with children, fishermen, or beginning boaters the lower Macal stretch makes for a nice float. Pablo, Diego, […]

Rio Futaleufú (bridge to bridge)

The bridge to bridge section on the Lower Futaleufú is one of the funnest stretches of whitewater on earth. This section provides ample pushy, big volume, class 3-4 rapids. Due to an upstream dam in Argentina the water is warm (relative to other nearby Chilean Rivers) Many kayakers running this section for the first are […]

Rio Azul

The Azul is a nice class 2-3 run to do in the Futaleufu area. Access is relatively easy for put in and take out. The run is best done with water in early season (November/December) or after a heavy rain. Local rafting outfits often take their clients on Ducky trips of the river and several […]