A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Rio Noroeste

Short steep tributary creek of the Rio Espolon just outside of the town of Futalueufu. Flowing out of Lago Rosas the river plunges through a short but formidable canyon. Also known locally as Arroyo Loco or “crazy creek” the run is logistically simple. Fields Marshall Rio Noroeste From town of Futaleufu in Chile´s 11th region […]

Rio Perez

Following the road from Villa O´higgins to Lago Christie close to the Argentine border, you will have to do a rivercrossing that requires a 4×4. Rio Perez will be on your left, and it is easy to scout from the road. The section is short, and with a messy 20 meter drop easily scouted from […]

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 Blanco (Cerro Castillo)

The Río Blanco cuts through canyons of geology run amok in the northeastern sector of Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo. The most prominent peak in the park, Cerro Castillo (2675 m), was so named because its craggy ridges and basalt turrets resemble a medieval castle. For the geology enthusiast, the river corridor offers a cornucopia of […]

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. […]

Río Simpson (Cajón de Farrellones)

Cajón de Farellones is a good run flowing through Reserva Nacional Río Simpson. This section courses through a secluded canyon featuring some occasional pool-drop rapids and playful holes between all the of flatwater. More class II-III rapids lie upstream of the put-in, with access from a bridge on the road to the Coihaique airport. The […]

Río Simpson (Lower)

The lower Simpson flows through a glacially scoured valley that forms the northern boundary of Parque Nacional Río Simpson, and the southern extant of Reserva Nacional Coihaique. Vertical crags, plummeting waterfalls, virgin temperate rainforest, and a lush floral carpet of colorful wildflowers provide a picturesque panorama while driving through the valley. The mellow whitewater sports […]

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 Mañihuales

At low water, the Mañihuales sports several good play spots amidst a few class III–IV rapids that can be partially scouted from the road that parallels the river. Clear, green water courses through a spacious, pastoral valley offering great views of distant peaks. Its wide riverbed indicates a potentially good big water run in the […]

Rio Claro (Ibañez)

This beautiful creek flows between two unrunnable canyons. Easily scouted from the road, the Claro starts out class IV in difficulty, eases up a bit, then returns to class IV. After turning away from the road, the river drops through a unrunnable, convoluted slot canyon. The water volume doubles by late afternoon due to daily […]

Rio Baker (Lower)

Following description was provided by former Sobek river guide Monty Becker In contrast to the tumultuous whitewater upstream, the lower Baker is a beautiful, muy tranquilo, multi-day float through the heart of central Patagonia. The first descent of the river in 1983 by Francisco Valle and Luis Ortega was part of their epic, month-long circumnavigation […]

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 Jeinemeni

The Rio Jeinemeni flows through a very unique part of Chile. Located in Aiysen in the 11th Region of Southern Patagonia, the Jeinemeni is one of the upper tributaries of the Baker and empties its waters into South America´s second largest lake Lago general Carrera at 202 meters above sea level. Born in the glaciers […]

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 […]

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 Baker

The Class 5 Baker is one of the world’s premier big water runs. Set in a remote arid location in the XI Region of southern Chile, the Baker drains Lago General Carrera. The lake at 590 meters depth is the deepest in South America and the 7th deepest lake on earth. The emerald green waters […]