A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Rio Carhuello

This springtime gem is right in the Pucon area. It was first run until the winter of 1994 when locals Robby Dastin, Gigo Castillo and Rick Bravo made the initial exploration. Several days of rain are required make this small catchment runnable. The stretch that is commonly run is 4 km or less in length with average gradient of 75 m/km (375 FPM).

There are two ways to reach the takeout. The first and quickest is to follow the paved road from Carburgua. About 1 KM after passing the entrance to Ojos De Carburgua you turn left at El Cristo bus stop. You will cross a bridge over the Deague and and go about two km on gravel road then turn right and drive approx 1 KM and pass a cementary. The road starts climbing uphill and you will come to a sign for Salto Copihue. Continue for about another 2 KM and along the way you will pass signs for Salton Bellavista. You will pass an old pickup truck perched in the trees on the right and about 200 meters later you will have first glimpse of the river about 15 meters below. At this point you want to park. There is barely space to park and allow other occasional cars to pass as they head to theirs homes upstream. You can run the creek when it looks to be barely floatable at levels I estimate to be as low as 75 CFS.

To reach the takeout return downstream 3 km to the T intersection. Go right about 1-1/2 KM until you come to the bridge over the Carhuello. An optional way to reachcarhuello.jpg

Juanito Ugarte Part 1 Salto Javali

The takeout from Pucon is to take the Pasarela quelhue bridge over the Trancura and travel all the way up the Liucura on the road to Carburgua. This is a popular bike trip and pretty but somewhat slower.

The put in elevation here is 600 meters. The takeout is approx. 4 KM downstream at 300 meters.

The beginning of the kayak run has a few hundred meters of boulder gardens and some channelized rapids. When the foot bridge comes into view you need to get out some 30 meters upstream and portage a nasty 20 meter falls (that lands on a rock) on a well defined trail. you will walk over a small side stream and through a gate. Continue walking uphill. The first turn to the left will take you to the base of the falls which provides a good view but not a good place to get back in your boat. To reach a good put in spot walk along the tree line and look for a trail down to the river. When you get there put in wherever you are comfortable. There are lots of steep boulder choked rapids so some may choose to continue walking downstream an additional 200 meters.
Once on the water you will soon come to Salto Javali which consists of two 5 meter falls. After a few more rapids comes the monster 4 part 25 meter drop that until our trip on November 30, 2005 had always been portaged. Gigo Castillo missed the last eddy and disappeared over the first drop backwards. By some miracle he survived the ensuing carnage without a scrap. the first drop is a two meter falls into a robust hole that immediately feeds into an almost vertical seies of slides. At the base of the slides you have time for 1-2 strokes before the big 6-7 meter falls which you need to enter on the left for fear of decapitation on the bottom right. The base of the falls are ina cauldron which exits to the left with another 3 meter drop. The faint of heart can portage parts 1-3 and seal launch into the Cauldron for part 4.

carhullo1.jpg

Rio Carhuello

After seeing Gigo had survived the drop Juanito Ugarte lined up and ran the drop. Word immediately spread around town that this drop was open for business and within days hardcore boaters were testing their limits on this drop. Below this are a few more good drops then one comes to the entrance to Salto Copihue. To the best of my knowledge this has not yet been run. It is best portaged from above on river left by climbing up to a house and the road itself before returning to the river for an addition 3/4 km runout to the car.

scouting-bellavista.JPG

Scouting Salto Copihue

carhuellofalls-medium.jpg

Carhuello Falls
carhuello

Related Rivers

Leave a Reply