Chiloé National Park is located in Chile.
Flora and fauna
There is a bus that arrives here from Castro that makes several trips a day. Be sure to check the return bus schedule before you leave.
You can rent a horse from people that live within or near the park.
This place is home to some of the Valdivian temperate rain forest.
Cole Cole Trek
An apparently popular hike in the park is the trek to Cole Cole. The map and guardaparques will tell you that there is a "sendero" ("trail") to Cole Cole; however this is very misleading as there is no real trail, cars may travel most of the route, and there are people, dogs, and livestock living nearly throughout (in short, it more closely resembles a random stretch of coastline than a national park). Nothing is marked but the route is approximately as follows (GPS coordinates in WGS84):
- Starting at the park administration where the bus lets you off, get to the beach. Probably the best way is to take the signed Conaf trail immediately from the administration. You can also walk up (north) on the road through town. About a kilometer after the bridge you can get to the beach on your left, or you can cut across cross-country anytime after the bridge.
- Follow the beach for about 7 kilometers until you come to a river. Just beyond the mouth of the river there is a road that goes over a hill, and a sign that says "Indigenous community," "Refugio Cole Cole," etc., with icons showing hiking, camping, etc. This is the only indication along the route that your are going the right way.
You can ford the river near the mouth at approximately S 42 32.306´ W 74 09.196´ (there may be a harmless but barking dog on the other side); there is also a bridge at approximately S 42 32.650´ W 74 08.986´, but it may be more difficult to get to the road over the hill from here.
- The road goes over the hill and down to the beach, follow until you cannot follow the beach further, you will see a road to the right which leads to a field (watch out for dogs, probably harmless). Across the field is a family´s house with a couple of picnic tables in the yard at S 42 31.762´, W 74 10.149´. They charge 1000 pesos to camp as of December 2008. The señora can give you water, which may well be the only non-salty water on the trek. There also may be workers travelling to Cucao who can give you a ride back in a car.
- At the fence to this house is a horse trail to the left which climbs over the mountain. Follow the horse trail roughly following powerlines up the mountain. At one point a trail splits to the right to go to a house 100 meters away; stay left and in 50 meters you will cross a wooden gate (S 42 31.157´ W 74 10.625´).
- The trail continues roughly following powerlines, and descending a bit you arrive at a open grassy area at S 42 30.918´ W 74 11.152´. You can see a houses a couple hundred meters to your left and the beach in the distance to your right (coordinates). This beach is Cole Cole.
- You have at least two options to get to Cole Cole (coordinates S 42 30.543´ W 74 11.010´), probably neither is the official "trail":
- Most direct: follow the road/trail downhill to your right roughly toward the beach. Soon after take a smaller trail to your left. You will arrive at a grassy area at sea level where there may be cows grazing, where you can easily get to the beach to your left, crossing a small creek.
- You can also walk past the house to your left up the hill. When you reach the top of the hill turn left and follow the small trails down to the beach. There are nice views from here but it may be a sheep/horse grazing area.
- Once on the beach the refugio Cole Cole is jut a few hundred meters up (don´t be fooled by the crummy shack, the refugio consists of several apparently new buildings). There are also campsites near the refugio. Water from the river is a bit salty.
Even if the guardaparques say it´s free to camp a man may come up on horse in the evening or morning to collect money from you 1000 or 1500 pesos per person.
As of December 2008, the trail to Anay is in disuse and extremely difficult/dangerous to take (lots of bushwhacking and lots of downed trees to hit your head on). However there are still wooden bridge / trail improvements so it is possible to follow the trail. In it´s current state it would probably take 2.5 hours to walk the 5 km to Anay. Note that according to guardaparques there actually is no Refugio at Anay.
There are some people that offer cabins or you can camp.
Very nice lodging place at a local farmer's house with friendly family, the ideal place for backpackers. Situated in Cucao. See their page:
You can camp in designated areas or in the land of residents who will charge you 2.000 pesos to camp (US$4).
This southern part of the park is best for hiking along the shore, in fact no decent maps are provided by the national park service, so you must hike along the shore. Absolutely beautiful, although you got to watch out for rains and storms, which though rare in the summer do occur.