Radal 7 Tazas
Waterfalls, turquoise-colored water streams, forests and a series of natural wonders are the signatures of the Radal 7 Tazas National Park. With more than 4 thousand hectares of protected nature in the Maule Region, this park is one of the jewels of Central Chile.This destination has a wide variety of alternatives for backpackers and trekking lovers, from trails of no more than a couple kilometers to circuits of days of duration. Enjoy nature in a park that has something for everyone.Share this destination:
Red: El Bolson Route
Blue: Chiquillanes Route
Lightblue: 7 Tazas-La Leona Route
AccessMost of the circuits and trails in the park have their starting point in the Parque Ingles sector, where the park's administration is located as well as a series of campsites. The locality of Molina is located 55 km from this point, Curico and Santiago 65 km and 325 km respectively. From the Molina bus terminal you can take buses to the park. One of the companies offering this service is Buses Radal Siete Tazas, with buses that go to the Parque Ingles sector with a ticket cost of CLP 3.000 (one-way). Buses go the park on a daily basis in high season (first week of January to first week of March). During the rest of the year the company offers the service on weekends, giving notice on their facebook page of days and itineraries. In case you want to go to the park during a weekday in low season you have to either hitchhike (low frequency of vehicles) or go by car.You can take buses to Molina from Santiago (CLP 5.000 one-way), a service offered by Pullman del Sur. Alternatively you can take buses to Curico from Santiago. In Curico you can take public transportation to Molina, which is only 5 km away.In case you go by car from Santiago, you have to take route 5 Sur, take the eastern exit to Molina and then take route K-175 to the southeast. You must turn right around km 27 and take route K-275. This diversion is well signalized, indicating that its the road to the park. You have to keep in mind that the last section of the road to the park is gravel and dirt road, and can be in a poor state which might be a problem for low vehicles.The ParkThe Radal 7 Tazas National Park offers multiple alternatives for those who wish to explore it. Known are its natural water wells, which have been sculpted during centuries by the waters of the Claro river over volcanic rock. These water wells are surrounded by cliffs and a dense forest, a beautiful and breathtaking sight. But the park is more than this iconic view. Mediterranean landscapes of central Chile meet the humid forests of the south. The route to El Bolson takes us to an area of a pre-mountain landscape, with a beautiful panoramic view of the Colmillo del Diablo mountain on the horizon. A great diversity of landscapes and beautiful corners characterize this privileged park in the VII Region.The trails and circuits presented here make for 3 to 4 trekking days. The park is nonetheless, an ideal place to camp and rest in the middle of nature, a good reason to stay more days or just go camping. The entrance fee is CLP 4.000 for adult foreigners and CLP 600 for children.
El Bolson RouteThis route has its starting point in the Parque Ingles sector and ends in the El Bolson sector, where you can a find a refuge and a campsite of the same name. It covers a distance of 9 km and has an expected time of 4 hrs (one-way), with an accumulated ascent of 680 mt. The trail is duly signalized and in good conditions, although you have to keep in mind to walk always to the east along the main trail, not taking the smaller trails that cross the route. The trail eventually reaches the Claro river and continues along its north bank. During the journey you will pass through landscapes dominated by green forests to a pre-mountain landscape, ending in a large esplanade where the El Bolson refuge is located. The Colmillo del Diablo mountain crowns the view.The refuge has latrines and a nearby water stream. The route has in general several points to resupply your water bottle and it is possible to do it, round-trip, on a single day if you prefer it that way (expected time of 7 to 8 hrs). The refuge is as well the starting point of the Las Animas lagoon trek. This route covers a distance of 6 km (from El Bolson) and is not signalized, therefore if you plan to do this trek it is recommended to do it with a guide or someone familiar with the path to the lagoon.Chiquillanes RouteThis route, just like the last one, has its starting point in the Parque Ingles sector. It is a circular circuit of 8 km and 3,5 hr duration, with a 420 mt ascent. The highlights of this route are its spectacular panoramic views of the Indio valley and the Parque Ingles sector, as well as the Descabezado Grande volcano viewpoint.This route is duly signalized and in good conditions. The first section is the most exhausting, where the ascent is done. This section includes segments of the trail with over a 30° slope. In contrast, the second section is less demanding with a calm descent with low slope. There is only one point where you can have certain access to water along the route: the El Canelo water stream located halfway through the route, 80 mt from the main trail. This little detour to the water stream is well signalized. The trek ends back in the Parque Ingles sector, after walking along the last segment that intersects with the El Bolson trail.
7 Tazas-La Leona RouteThis route covers a distance of 1,6 km and has an expected time of 1 hr, being the most emblematic and famous trek of the park. The famous 7 Tazas and the La Leona waterfall are its main attractions, a mandatory stop for visitors. The beautiful water wells of turquoise-colored water can be observed from 2 viewpoints, one on the high ground and the other closer to the wells. The viewpoint to the La Leona waterfall allows for spectacular sights of the waterfall surrounded by cliffs and dense vegetation. This circuit is located next to the vehicle road, before reaching the Parque Ingles sector. It is possible to walk or hitchhike to the circuit's starting point from Parque Ingles (3,5 km), in case you don't have a car. Another point of interest is the Velo de la Novia (bride's veil), a 50 mt water jump located next to the vehicle road that leads to the park. Like in the previous case, hitchhiking is an alternative in case you don't have a car.
Precautions and Recommendations
1. Best season: November to April. The park receives many visitors between January and February, therefore it is recommended to visit it in December or March, although the limited public transportation options have to be considered.2. Water: In case of doing the Chiquillanes rout, it is recommended to resupply your water bottle in the El Canelo water stream, only certain source of water along the trail.3. Food: Although there is a warehouse in the Parque Ingles sector, products are more expensive. It is recommended to buy food in the Molina supermarket.4. Gear and clothing: Bring adequate boots or trekking shoes to do the Chiquillanes or El Bolson routes. If you want to do the El Bolson route in January or February, bring a tent in case the refuge is full. Bring warm clothes as well, since temperature can drop significantly during the night. Bring a swimming suit in summer, since there are places suitable for bathing in the river.5. Physical condition: The El Bolson and Chiquillanes routes have a medium physical difficulty, being somewhat demanding, but also relatively short and in good conditions. The high slope in some sections are the main obstacle.6. 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 well cared for!