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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Chile features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: exploring the otherworldly landscapes beyond Santiago

In pictures: exploring the otherworldly landscapes beyond Santiago

Santiago has transformed itself over the past decade, with a burgeoning food scene and thriving nightlife to boot. But the city's real drawcard remains its oth…

15 Sep 2017 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…

02 Mar 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month