To visit the Queulat National Park, and the Ventisquero Colgante (Hanging Glacier), is one of the activities you have to do if you are traveling along the Carretera Austral, a natural park among glaciers, waterfalls and native forests.
🔎 Check here the quide to travel to Carretera Austral.
This park is located about 25 km south of Puyuhuapi and 170 km from Coyhaique, one of the main cities on the Carretera Austral. In this article we tell you why to visit Queulat National Park and what to do in the area.
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Getting to Queulat National Park
Queulat National Park is partly crossed by the Carretera Austral route, so the easiest way to get there is by car or by an excursion from Coyhaique or Puyuhuapi. From Coyhaique you can reach Puyuhuapi by bus, 25 km from the national park.
If you want to visit the national park by public transportation (bus) from Puyuhuapi, it is possible since there are bus stops at the different access points. Although you should be aware of the infrequency of buses, it is not impossible.
You can also take an excursion with guides who will tell you everything from this incredible place:
📷 Take a look at this Queulat National Park tour (in Spanish) with a local agency. Book your place!
There are three access points to visit Queulat National Park from the Carretera Austral:
- Angostura: located about 10 km north of the town of Puyuhuapi, the starting point for hiking the Laguna Los Pumas trail.
- Ventisquero: the most visited, about 25 km south of Puyuhuapi. It is the access to make the trail to the hanging snowdrift and lagoon icebergs.
- Portezuelo: 30 km further south than the previous access. From here you can follow the Bosque Encantado trail.
🔎 Check here the Top 5 things to do in Carretera Austral.
Why visit Queulat National Park?
The national park is immersed in the middle of a lush green forest, a product of the frequent rainfalls that occur throughout the year.
Added to this is the Patagonian landscape of mountains, among which the Alto Nevado hill stands out with more than 2000 meters of height, rivers of crystalline water, valleys, waterfalls, lagoons and the main attraction, the Ventisquero Colgante (hanging glacier).
As for the flora of the area, being in the Andean forests, there are many species such as coigüe, lengas, myrtles, canelo, ferns, tepas and many more.
The native fauna of the place ranges from birds such as the condor, black-necked swans or black woodpecker, to pumas, foxes and pudúes.
The main activity in Queulat National Park is hiking, mainly the route that goes to the viewpoint of the Ventisquero Colgante (hanging glacier). You can also go mountain biking or sailing on the lake.
What is a ventisquero (snowdrift)?
One of the main attractions of Queulat National Park is the Ventisquero Colgante or, in English, Hanging Snowdrift. So let’s see what a snowdrift is.
In general it is an area in the mountains where the wind forms whirlwinds, creating a gap in the ground where large accumulations of snow are formed.
But both in Chilean Patagonia and in Argentina, it is usually used for glaciers that are wedged between the mountains. And being at altitude, their thaws fall in the form of waterfalls.This is the case of the Ventisquero Colgante and that is why we do not translate it as Hanging Snowdrift, but as Hanging Glacier.
Best time to visit Queulat National Park
Undoubtedly the best time to visit Queulat National Park is during summer months (December to March), although from October to the end of April you can hike around the park.
December, January and February are the busiest months, and it is difficult to find lodging in the park’s campgrounds. Although it is summer, the temperature during daytime does not usually exceed 20 degrees and rains are frequent, so you should bring warm clothes, closed shoes and raincoat.
Trekking in Queulat National Park
As we mentioned, the main activity to do in Queulat National Park is hiking. There are several treks with different physical demands, the most popular ones are:
1- Ventisquero Colgante Trail
This is the most visited by tourists and has a low physical demand. It is a 400-meter trail that accesses the confluence of the Ventisquero and Desagüe rivers and where you have a view of the famous hanging glacier, a mass of ice suspended more than 2000 meters above sea level. The duration of the hike is 20 minutes at the most.
2- Laguna Témpanos Trail
This is another of the most frequented trails, which can be combined in the same day with the hanging glacier trail, since the access point to the national park is the same.
The trail runs 1200 meters across the footbridge of the Ventisquero River and accesses the beautiful lagoon with floating icebergs. In the lagoon, during the summer season, you can go sailing. The duration of the walk is half an hour.
3- Enchanted Forest Trail
To access this trail you must get to the park access gate located further south, coming from Coyhaique.
Of medium difficulty, you will ascend through the dense green forest until you reach a beautiful lagoon with icebergs.The trail takes about five hours of walking and about 5 km to cover.
Currently, due to landslides, this trail is not available.
4- Los Pumas Trail
Access to the trail is 12 km north of the town of Puyuhuapi. It is of medium difficulty, since it has a steep ascent to reach the beautiful Los Pumas Lagoon.
The total duration of the trekking is six hours and the distance to cover is about 10 kilometers.
5- Padre Garcia Waterfall Trail
Another trail of low difficulty and short distance. It is accessed from the same entrance to the park as the Bosque Encantado trail.
The route is only a few meters until you reach a small waterfall of 30 meters high. It takes about 20 minutes to get there and back.
Sleeping in Queulat National Park
There are many cabins and campgrounds in the Queulat National Park area. The town of Puyuhuapi has the largest concentration of hotels.
🏨 Check here where to sleep in Queulat National Park and get your ideal accommodation.
But if you are looking for a little adventure, at the access to the Ventisquero Colgante trail, you will find the main camping area inside Queulat National Park. This campground has hot showers, restrooms, camping and snack areas that can be used at certain times without the need to stay on site.
For camping, reservations are accepted only from March to December (January and February on a first-come, first-served basis).
⛺ More information at the camping official website (in Spanish).
Entrance fees to visit Queulat National Park, prices 2021
📌 ATTENTION: There are capacity restrictions on access due to COVID-19. Check the National Park official website (in Spanish).
|Adults(1): CLP $ 4.200||Adults: CLP $ 8.200|
|Children(2)(3): CLP $ 2.100||Children(2)(3): CLP $ 4.100|
(2)From 12 to 17 years old.
(3)Children under 11 years old: free admission.
To consult how much it costs in dollars or euros, we have an online converter (you can also check in your country currency):