This relatively small park was created in 1939 to protect one of the last stands of Araucaria pines (Monkey Puzzle trees) found outside the Andes. The 6,849 hectares of Nahuelbuta are located on the coastal mountain range at an altitude that varies between 950 and 1565 meters (3000 and 5100 ft). The geography of this park is different from most because it is made up of deep canyons and jagged peaks of granite, unlike the crumbly volcanic rock of the Andes. The major attraction of Nahuelbuta is definitely its forests. As you may know, the unique Araucaria pine has been known to grow up to 50 meters (165 ft) and live to over 2000 years old. To walk along a stream under the shade of such ancient trees is truly an inexplicable experience. The are also large stands of southern beech and other trees in the park as well as a diverse array of fauna (deer, foxes, puma, vultures and woodpeckers). The average temperature of the park is 13 degrees Celcius (58 F), so be sure to bring a warm jacket and rain gear along with sturdy hiking boots.
Many people enjoy taking a tour by car along the more than 32 kms of roads that weave throughout the park. For the more adventurous visitor, there are also 15 kms of hiking trails and footpaths. Cerro Anay and Piedra del Águila (a four km hike from Pehuenco) are both peaks above 1400 meters that offer excellent views to both the Andes range and the Pacific Ocean.
There are CONAF campgrounds at both Pehuenco and Coimallin that charge US$7 per site. The CONAF visitors center is located at Pehuenco and offers ecological information about the park and trail info. The nearest gasoline, phone, food and first aid services are located 35 kms away in the town of Angol.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The park is located over 100 kms north of Temuco and is 57 kms NW of Victoria along the Camino de Inspector Fernandez a San Gregorio dirt road via the town of Angol. It is easy to find transport to Angol. Buses leave Angol for Vegas Blancas, 7 kms from the park, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Sunday there is an early morning bus (7 am) from the Angol terminal directly to the park.