Lanin Volcano – Lakes Huechulaufquen and PaimĂșn
A full day tour to visit two beautiful lakes, escortedÂ all the wayÂ by the imposing silhouette of Lanin Volcano with its always snowcapped summit.
The route that leads from San MartĂn de los Andes, passing through JunĂn de los Andes and along the Huechulafquen to reach the shore of PaimĂșn is one of the most authentic of the lakes region. Still safeÂ from mass tourism, that route hosts an active Mapuche community that is responsible for most camping sites and markets and access to renowned sites for fly fishing. Also, it is the starting point for trekking trails with a wide range of difficulties.
The total journeyÂ is 112 km. (one way). The first 50, until just beyond Junin de los Andes, areÂ paved, on Route 40. Then, just before crossing the bridge over the river Chimehuin you have to turn left to Provincial Route 61, gravel, leading to HuechulafquenÂ lake .
The road is very picturesque, winding along the river, among forests in gallery.
About 17 km. after the turnoff you get to the nascentsÂ of the river Chimehuin, a paradise for fly fishermen who come from around the world to practice this sport here.
From this point, the road continues along the northern shore of Lake Huechulafquen, with beautiful views of this veritable sea of ââfresh water on the left and the imposing Lanin volcano on the right. Each bend gives a new panoramicÂ point. DriveÂ slowly and don’t Â miss the photos!
At this point it begins the Lanin National Park and little later you will find a modern visitor center, with information about the natural area to visit.
The routeÂ continues, becoming a bit more narrow and winding. Towards the lakeshore there are several areas of organized and rustic camping, also places selling crafts and food, some teahouses and places to eat. CaĂ±icul Bay, Raquithue, Dos BahĂas, PuertoÂ Canoa and PiedraÂ Mala are some of them. Most are run by members of the Mapuche community of the place.
In Puerto Canoa there are some tourist services, three inns, a catamaran that offers lake excursions (in summer) and a natural interpretation trail “El Bosque”.
A little later you get to La Union, where the Huechulaufquen lake meets the PaimĂșn. There is a beautiful chapel with a somewhat strange architecture for the place and very well decorated.
Continuing along the road two kilometers you will reach the area Piedra Mala, from where you have the first view of the lake PaimĂșn. Also you have the departing point of the path to Cascada El Saltillo, a walk well worth it. FromÂ this waterfall of about 7 meters high in the Andean forest, you have a beautiful view of the Huechulaufquen, Epulaufquen and PaimĂșn lakes, the latter not visible from the coast. The peculiarity is that the visitor can be placed behind the waterfall and get this view through the curtain of falling water. Actually, something unique.