The Rio Tolten is a scenic float and a fisherman’s paradise. The river has no big rapids but has very continuous current with some pushy turbulent whirlpools and eddy lines. It is a great river to do with children and on family outings.
The put in is at the exit of Lago Villarrica (213 meters elevation) and the takeout is at the confluence of the Rio Pedregozo (guess on elevation is 125 meters). The run is over 20 km in length and takes a solid 4 hours. A safe place to leave your vehicle at the put in is the pescadero launch where the local fishing guides launch their wooden boats. You can also contract one of these fisherman to take you drift fishing in their wooden dories for 25,000 pesos per person per day which includes equipment and shuttle.
The river can be run year round with low summer flows of 1200 CFS and winter flows in excess of 20,000 CFS.
To reach the takeout (from the Tolten bridge in Villarrica) drive 16.3 KM towards Temuco to Puente Pedregozo. You can park your vehicle just before the bridge on the left hand side in front of someone’s house. There is a steep but good trail down to the river in front of the same house.
Another option is continue downstream another 20 KM or so to another takeout point called Balsadero Coipue and/or the town of Pitrufquen. The river is much calmer in this stretch and requires another 5-6 hours of paddling. For the adventurous types or those looking for a multi day trip switch into sea kayaks