Heading out of Puerto Montt, the Carretera Austral hugs the shore of the Reloncaví fjord, skirting wide mud flats and empty beaches. Some 40km down the road – just beyond the Puente de Lenca – a signed track branches left and leads 7km to the southern entrance of PARQUE NACIONAL ALERCE ANDINO, also known as “Chile’s Yosemite”, where you’ll find a small Conaf hut, a ranger station and a camping area. The park was created in 1982 to protect the region’s ancient and rapidly depleting alerce forests, threatened with extinction by intense logging activity. Almost 200 square kilometres – half the park’s land area – are covered by the massive, millenia-old alerces, mixed in with other native species like coigüe and lenga. This dense covering is spread over a landscape of steep hills and narrow glacial valleys dotted with dozens of lakes.

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