ALERCE COSTERO NATIONAL PARK, THE LUNG OF SOUTHERN CHILE
By: Chile Travel - 28 August, 2021
Alerce Costero National Park was founded in 2010 as part of the National System of State Protected Natural Areas, outstanding for its role in the protection of endemic flora and fauna species.
It is made up of more than 24,000 hectares, dominated by evergreen forests, in the majority dominates by the Alerce (larch), one of the longest living tree species on the planet and symbol of this park located in the area of Los Ríos, in the south of Chile.
The thousand-year-old larch is the park’s main attraction and one of the park’s main paths that is so named: Millenary Larch (Alerce Milenario). It’s actually been on the planet for more than 3,600 years making it the oldest in Latin America.
Did you know that a full-grown larch can be as tall as 45 meters? Being in the presence of one of these marvels of nature is a privilege that can be enjoyed at the Alerce Costero National Park.
View of the nighttime skies and larches in the Alerce Costero National Park
Road to an ancient forest
To get to Alerce Costero National Park, one must arrive in a private vehicle from the town of La Unión; and take the T-80 highway towards a beach called Huecolla, located in the Reserva Costera Valdiviana.
The best time to visit the park is spring and summer. A four-wheel vehicle will be required for visits in the fall and winter since it’s possible that rains affect the roads. However, the snowy views are equally captivating on the trails in this park.
Visitors observing the flora and fauna in Alerce Costero National Park
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Once you’ve made it to the CONAF Ranger Station, at a point called “Los Altos del Mirador”, you must continue on the footpath for the next 3 hours of brisk walking on long trails surrounded by exuberant flora and fauna. This is an excellent activity for the family since the trails are adequate for both kids and adults. Please note that pets are not allowed in the park.
Entrance to Alerce Costero National Park is free and it’s open from Monday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (during quarantine).
Tourist crossing a footbridge on the Alerce Milenario Trail
Trails full of life and history
There are eleven different trails in Alerce Costero National Park, each with its own particular beauty made apparent with every step you take. Among the principal viewpoints are the Mirador Chaihuín and the Alerce Milenario. Would you like to take a look?
The Mirador Chaihuín circuit is 0,4 km long. It’s an easy trail and one of those enjoyed by entire families. It’s full of flora and fauna wherever you look, and has incomparable magic thanks to the colors and fragrances that are all around you.
Another trail we’d like you to see is the Alerce Milenario. Its name is in honor of the Millenary Larch or the “grandfather larch” that you will encounter on the path. The truck of this tree measures 4.26 meters (almost 14 ft.) in diameter and 11 meters (36 ft.) in perimeter. It’s beauty and history will keep you captivated for hours. Simply incredible.
A view of the great “Abuelo Alerce Milenario” in the middle of
Alerce Costero National Park
This trail is 2.4 km (1.5 mi) long and is a bit more difficult. It’s an ideal place to make new memories and gather good energy walking side by side with years of history of the flora and fauna in Alerce Costero National Park.
Fortunately the cutting and commercialization of the larch within Chilean territory has been prohibited since 1976, the same year the species was declared a “National Monument”.
Impressive larch forests in the Alerce Costero National Park
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Other trails that can be visited
- Lañilahual (El Mirador sector): 3.4 km long (2.1 mi)
- Incendios del pasado (El Mirador sector): 1 km long (0.6 mi)
- Hermanos Milenarios (Catrilelfu sector): 1.5 km long (0.9 mi)
- Renovales de Alerce (Catrilelfu sector): 1.2 km long (0.7 mi)
- La Ruta de Darwin (Catrilelfu sector): 4.5 km long (2.7 mi)
- Ruta de La Estopa (Catrilelfu sector): 12.5 km long (7.5 mi)
- La Selva Valdiviana (Catrilelfu sector): 2.1 km long (1.3 mi)
- Los Melíes (Chaihuín sector): 1.3 km long (0.8 mi)
- Cullevoqui (Chaihuín sector): 1.2 km long (0.7 mi)
What did you think about these options?
When all restrictions end, once the virus is under control, we assure you that you can connect with nature in a very unique manner and learn about the flora and fauna that will accompany you every step of the way in this park.
In addition, you will enjoy the good energy given by these ancient trees dating back thousands of years, the tranquility offered by the waters, and the warmth of the flowers and mosses, that will transport you to a novel that could only be written on a trek through Alerce Costero National Park.
Copihue flowers in the tranquility of the forest in Alerce Costero National Park
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