Laguna del Huemul

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Introduction

The Laguna del Huemul trekking route is one of the most attractive destinations in the VIII Region, combining beautiful landscapes and scenery while making the ascent to the top of the Las Cabras mountain, at 1.950 masl, where a beautiful lagoon awaits the traveler. This is a great destination if one is looking for a trek of 1 day or wants to stay more time camping and staying in touch with nature.

Relevant Facts

Duration: 1 day
Distance: 13,5 km
Physical Difficulty: Medium
Technical Difficulty: Medium

Map

Access

This route starts in the Valle Las Trancas sector, which is located 70 km from the city of Chillán. It is possible to get there by car, hitchhiking or taking a bus from Chillán. The bus ticket has a cost of around CLP 2.000 and takes 1,5 hrs. The RemBus company offers this service, and one can check their itineraries in their website. The route starts in the entrance to the Shangri-Lá valley (road division in route N-55).

The Route

This route has a duration of 1 day (7 hour walk aprox.), although you have the possibility of camping and enjoying the place for longer. The main obstacle is its physical demand, due to its steep slopes in some sections, as well as the duration of the trek (7 hour walk that includes the ascent and descent of a mountain).The Laguna del Huemul route stands out for its beautiful views of volcanoes, valleys and of course, the lagoon that gives the name to this trek. This is one of the most beautiful lagoons in the central valleys, and there is nothing better than crowning the ascent to the mountain with a refreshing dip in its waters!This route includes 2 sections:
1.- Camino del refugio abandonado (Road of the abandoned refuge)
2.- Ruta de los caballos (Route of the horses)

Vista a la Laguna del Huemul
View of Laguna del Huemul

Section N°1This section of 7 km has a duration of 3 hours aprox., in which the ascent to the lagoon is done. It starts with a walk from Valle Las Trancas towards the north, in the entrance of the Shangri-Lá valley. This road is the most common route to the lagoon, and passes through an old abandoned refuge (hence the name of this section of the trek). The road to the refuge is a dirt road suitable for 4x4 vehicles. Shortly before getting to the refuge volcanic lava formations can be seen, liberated by the Nevados de Chillán volcanoes thousands of years ago. After 1,5 hours you arrive to the refuge, where you can rest, resupply your water bottle and if you want, camp.The route continues to the ascent of the mountain, through a trail marked with yellow and white painted rocks. Caution is required in some sections of the ascent with a steep slope. During the ascent you will be able to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of volcanoes, the valley and lava formations. After 1,5 hours of steady ascent you arrive to the lagoon, where you can rest after the tough first section of the trek. Camping in the lagoon sector is not allowed.Section N°2This section of the trek has a 3-4 hour duration. It is known as Ruta de los Caballos (Horses's Route) due to being used by tourists to get to the lagoon riding a horse. It is less steep than the first section, although a little longer. It is properly marked with painted rocks, tied plastic in the trees and rock piles. Along the trail you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Valle Las Trancas valley and the Antuco volcano in the distance. After making the descent down the slope of the mountain and crossing leafy forests you arrive to a local road, and afterwards to the main road to Valle Las Trancas.

Precautions and
Recommendations

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1. Best season: October to April.2. Water: It is important to bring water with you to stay hydrated during this trek. A 1 lt water bottle is advisable. There are points in the route where you can resupply.3. Give notice: Give advance notice in the local police office in Valle Las Trancas that you are planning to do this route.4. Equipment: It is important to have a good pair of boots in order to make the ascent and descent of the mountain, passing through trails of dirt and rock.5. Information: Consulting in the local tourist office in Valle Las Trancas for more information and maps of the route is advised.6. Physical condition: This is a route that, although being short (1 day), is relatively challenging due to it being physically demanding. It is advisable to be in good form, in order to make the ascent without suffering all the way.7. Trash and Fire: DON't leave any kind of trash or garbage in the route, nor make a campfire under any circumstances (for cooking use a portable gas stove). Also don't interfere in any way with the local flora and fauna. Be a responsible backpacker and contribute to make sure nature is taken care of!