A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Río Claro (Tinguiririca)

How many Rio Claros are there in Chile? Quien sabe. The conquistadors could have been a little more creative with their claros. For example, how about: Muy Claro, Tan Claro, Clarito, Clarissimo, or the Mapuche word “Aluminé,” meaning “one sees into it very deeply”? Gringo-style nomenclature isn’t any better. For example, the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Pitch Fork River sounds ridiculous, too. But I digress…

This tributary of the Tinguiririca features great views of the Cordilleras Rubiana and Huemulina, good class III whitewater, and a wealth of desert wildflowers in the spring. Aspiring intermediate boaters will enjoy this river. On our only run, we had a scratchy flow of 7-10 cms. With more water, its pool-drop rapids would undoubtedly get more exciting.

From San Fernando, 132 km south of Santiago, drive east 27 km following the signs to Sierra’s de Bellavista. After crossing the Tinguiririca at Puente Negro, continue to the take-out at Puente Las Piñas 690 meters. Pass through the village of Sierra’s de Bellavista then drive 2 km to Fundo Huemul Alto. Access may be a problem, so make sure you obtain permission to enter the ranch when you drive upstream from Sierra’s de Bellavista. Continue 1 km past Fundo Huemul Alto, keeping to the left when in doubt. Park your car in an open field near the apiary. Walk 1.5 km down to the river on a road that eventually turns into a foot path. River elevation is 860 meters making the class 3+, 12 KM run  average 14 MPK or 73 FPM and best run with flows 250-350 CFS in spring months.

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