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Altos de Lircay National Reserve, in the Andean mountain skirts of San Clemente (Vilches Alto), is an ideal place for nature lovers and outdoor activities, hiking, horseback riding, and connecting with nature.


The 121-km² reserve offers an attractive setting that borders the north bank of the River Lircay. This place is one of the cheapest for this kind of activities. Locals also offer stays very cheap and very good quality, internet access, tourism guide, horseback riding and relaxation areas.

Vilches is a small community to the east of the town of San Celemente that serves as a gateway to the Altos de Lircay national reserve. It has several campgrounds, posadas (inns), and a grocery store.

Created in 1996 has a rich flora and fauna, consisting of a vegetation hualas, raulíes, laurel, cypress and huillipataguas range and an animal population that includes species such as parrots tricahue, black woodpeckers, eagles, thrushes, quail, pumas, doves and condors.

During walking, you can see remnants of a culture extinct: The Indians Pehuenches. You may appreciate "the stones of the cups, bigs rocks where the Pehuenches used the stones´s holes for food preparation.

Moreover, since the reserve can access the "Sendero de Chile", a route that allows a walking tour or horse to enjoy areas of natural beauty as "Deer Valley", "The Brickwork" and "Volcano Big Headed".


Temperate Mediterranean. On the coast the temperatures are moderate and there is a 6-month dry season in the north and four months in the south. In summer, maximum temperatures are 19 °C and 30 °C, while in winter the minimum is 7 °C.


Entrance fees, as of May 2021:

  • Foreign adult 6,000 pesos; youth 12-17 3,000 pesos; children free
  • Chilean adult 3,000 pesos; youth or disabled adult 1,500 pesos; over 60, under 12, and disabled youth free

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

The unit is 66 km east of Talca, passing through San Clemente, of which 50 km are paved and 20 are gravel. Traffic is maintained all year round, although in winter this can be hampered by snow in the last 4 km of the journey.

By bus[edit]

There are 4 buses daily (Mar-Dec) running from Talca at 07:15, 12:00, 13:00, and 14:50 (as of May 2021).

Get around[edit]


  • Flora and fauna
  • Attractive landscape


Horse riding, mountain biking, mountaineering, climbing, river kayak, picnic, contemplation of the flora and fauna, photography.


The main hiking trails here are:

  • Laguna del Alto – 4 km, 10 hr. Path partly under the native forest of oaks, coigües and ñirres and high Andean steppe reaches the lagoon, after a steep climb and similar descent.
  • El Enladrillado – 7 km, 11 hr. It reaches a plain of large fractured rocks, which resemble large bricks. A few hours further takes you to a great chain of volcanoes including the Descabezado Grande, Cerro Azul and Quizapú (which erupted in 1932).
  • La Playa to Valle del Venado – 13–18 km, 3–4 days. This trail runs partly under native forest, which includes lengas (the northernmost in the country). It reaches the Claro river after a few hours of hiking, where it is possible to cool off without risk. Finally, the Venado valley is reached, crossing a little before arriving through an old cypress forest of the mountain range.
  • Antumahuida – 350 m, 20 minutes. Environmental interpretation trail, all under native forest, with information panels ends in a spectacular viewpoint towards the Lircay river and the Morillo hill.
  • Retrofit – 850 m, 1 hr.

Buy, eat, drink[edit]


  • Antahuara campsite (mountain sun) in the reserve 800 m from the administration.
  • Campsites and posadas in Vilches

Go next[edit]

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