March 13, 2018
On a cloudy day with some drizzle we opted not to do a boat trip. Instead we tried the Alerces trail from Petrohué village in Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. The track first runs through the open brush and then loops around along the lake back to town.
The trailhead is a little difficult to find. The CONAF office is located on a road behind the Pioneers Museum. They prefer you to sign in and sign out when doing the trails in this region, however there is no fee. For the trailhead follow the signs to the free parking – estacionamiento gratis– and the camping ground beyond.
Here you will find a trailhead with a map of the trails. Paso Desolación heads to a point on the Osorno Volcano, or you can do a loop that runs up towards the volcano and the cuts over towards the lake and back down the beach. Though we tried to do the later, we did not find the right track over to the lake.
Our big mistake was using the local dogs as a guide. At a wide open space with a sign that warns of forest fires there is a well-used trail that heads in the direction of the lake. We took this track towards the lake and think that this was our mistake. We should have continued further up the trail towards Osorno.
The track we took towards the lake forked and we used the dogs to help us choose which direction. This was a bigger mistake as we ended up in a thick jungle. We realized our error too late as we were too far in to head back. We really needed a machete to get through the tangle of vegetation.
We though we were saved when we hit a wash heading down to the lake but soon we were faced with a steep drop off that we couldn’t pass. The slopes on either side were very steep and thick with vegetation. Finally, after trying several different ways, we found a path someone had used before that ran along the steep side of the wash and finally down to the sandy bank of the lake. Certainly a route I would not recommend.
The way back to town along the lake shore was easy to follow.
In clearer weather the trail would have good mountain, volcano and lake views. On a cloudy day like today I focused on the flora and got some good pics of the local flowers and berries. It was an enjoyable walk despite the jungle experience.