Hiking Huerquehue National Park + Huife Hot Springs
We head southeast in the direction of Huerquehue National Park, located at the foothills of the Andes, 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón.
The hike starts easy but after a short distance the trail becomes more demanding and sometimes steeper, but is still considered a relatively easy hiking level.
We have arrived at the first lookout point where the views of Villarrica Volcano and Tinquilco Lake are absolutely stunning; here you’ll find great photo opportunities as well as chance to reenergize with a snack. As we continue hiking, our guide will point out some wild flora of the area (i.e. mutisias, orchids and alstroemerias), and if luck is on our side, we can spot some birds that live in the forests of Nothofagus, such as chucao tapaculo, black-throated huet-huet and the magellan woodpecker among others.
Once we reach 1000 meters above sea level we begin to see the first araucarias trees. Soon we will walk through a mixed forest with many of these trees, considered to be a living fossil and a national monument for their exceptional characteristics.
We have hiked around 2½ hours when we arrive at the first lake called Chico (small), with its clear waters reflecting the image of hundred of araucarias and snow-capped peaks. 15 minutes later, we arrive at Lago Toro (Bull Lake). Here we eat our well deserved picnic lunch and spend some more time taking pictures or simply resting. We can watch the breathtaking landscape and spot some of the birdlife that inhabits the shores of this lake, such as the Andean duck.
Following the break, we keep going through an easy terrain and visit the third lake called Verde (green) which is the last attraction of our hike. Now we can commence a two-hour decent by the same trail to the parking area. After the hike, we’ll go visit the fantastic Huife Hot Springs.
We leave the national park and drive 30 minutes through a scenic rural road to visit and unwind at Huife Hot Springs, which will be the perfect end to this active day.
The thermal center is located by the Liucura River and is surrounded by stunning native forests. The place offers three outdoor thermal pools at different temperatures, a good restaurant and a cafeteria. In addition, the center also includes massage and beauty therapy services for an additional cost. In this place you can enjoy the scenery while relaxing in the therapeutic thermal waters. It is highly recommendable to change pools because varying the body temperature stimulates blood circulation, i.e. from hot to cold water, but if you feel brave enough, we encourage you to go into the cold waters of the river Liucura and then jump back to a hot pool. Return to Pucón at 7pm.