Hornopirén National Park (Chile)

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Hornopirén National Park (Chile)

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Hornopirén National Park is located in the Palena Province of Chile's Los Lagos region. As part of the Andes chain, the park contains rugged mountains, lakes, and unspoiled Valdivian temperate rainforests. Glacier-carved mountains and active volcanoes dominate the park.

Hornopirén National Park

Hornopirén National Park is located in the Palena Province of Chile's Los Lagos region, also known as Region X. As part of the Chilean Andes, the park contains 482 sq km (186 sq mi) of rugged mountains and unspoiled Valdivian temperate rainforests.

Its name comes from Mapundungún and means "Snow Oven," a reference to the imposing Hornopirén Volcano that crowns this landscape, although not within park limits. Hornopirén National Park forms part of the Bosques Templados Lluviosos de los Andes Australes Biosphere Reserve.

Glacier-carved mountains and active volcanoes dominate Hornopirén National Park. It includes glaciers comprising an area of 30 sq km (12 sq mi). The Yate volcano stands at 2,187 m (7,175 ft) above sea level, and the Hornopirén volcano stands at 1,572 m (5,157 ft) above sea level.

The three main bodies of water in Hornopirén National Park are:

  • Pinto Concha Lake, 4.75 sq km (2 sq mi), is the most visited attraction in the park

  • Inexplorado Lake, 1.5 sq km (1 sq mi), is one of a series of lakes that form the Blanco River basin

  • Cabrera Lake, 1.55 sq km (1 sq mi)

Distinctive blue and green hues characterize these lakes due to glacial till suspended in their waters.

There are six main rivers, and the Negro River is a significant river system within the National Park. The rivers are surrounded totally or partially by millennial Alerce, also known as larch forests.

Route of Parks

Hornopirén National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800 km (1,700 mi) "Route of Parks" that stretches from Puerto Montt in the north to Cape Horn in the south.

Spanning 17 national parks, the Route of Parks of Patagonia encompasses one-third of Chile and protects over 11.8 million hectares (28 million acres).

Route of Parks map

Chile's Route of Parks map - Thompson Conservation

Flora and Fauna

The Alerce tree is the second oldest tree species on the planet. The pristine Alerce forests cover an area of about 97.41 sq km (38 sq mi), which comprises approximately 35 percent of the vegetation cover of the park.

In addition to the Alerce, Hornopirén National Park features many other tree species, including Coigüe, Mañío, Luma, Tepu, and Tineo, as well as Lenga trees at its higher altitudes.

The park has about 25 mammal species, including native and exotic species. The cougar, kodkod, lesser grison, chilla fox, American mink, coypu, pudú, and Chilean huemul are among them. In addition, the National Park is home to 18 threatened species.

There have been 123 species of birds registered in the park, including the Chucao Tapaculo, the Hued Hued, the Black Woodpecker, the Kingfisher, and the Quetru Volador.