As you travel east along the road to the Argentinian border, a left fork onto a poor dirt road some 30km from Villa Huilquilemu leads 27km to the mountain village of Vilches Alto and from here to the entrance of the RESERVA NACIONAL ALTOS DEL LIRCAY, 2km beyond. This is an extremely beautiful part of the central cordillera, with a covering of ancient native forests and fantastic views onto surrounding mountain peaks and volcanoes streaked with snow. The road is difficult to pass in winter months, so the best time to visit is between October and May. The hiking trails here are among the best in the region. Close to the entrance, an information centre has displays on the park’s flora and fauna and the area’s indigenous inhabitants, whose traces survive in the piedras tacitas (bowls used for grinding corn) carved out of a flat rock face a few hundred metres away along a signed path.