between Talca and Chillán
the international pass road keeps following Río Maule to
Argentina. Beyond the La Mina police station lies a resort complex
by some hot springs, as well as a bridge which is suitable for
put-in. Before you leave, take a look around Laguna del Maule
located further up. From the put-in, Río Maule takes off
at Class V+ down towards La Mina.
The next section
to where the river joins the reservoir is Class III to IV, and
very scenic. Beware: the river has been turned into a canal in
order to pump water in two places. Before you get to the Colbún
lake, you will pass spectacular falls dropping 80 m over basalt
rocks into a lagoon.
portion of Río Maule, which winds its way slowly through
the plain between two mountain ranges west of the Panamericana,
is well suited for canoes. This is where the Chilean canoe championships
are held every year. Put-in is at Talca into Río Claro
coming from the north and flowing into Maule further to the southwest.
It is followed by a railroad line all the way to the coast, but
there is no road. Theoretically you could stop anywhere, flag
down the train, and ride it back to Talca.
The last section
before you get to Constitución does not have much of a
current anymore. Plan on two days for the entire length.
Ancoa receives its water through a tunnel from Río Melado.
From Linares, take the road to El Peñasco. A logical input
is where the water from the Melado surges from the tunnel into
Ancoa. Starting here, the river is Class IV and V, and there are
two portages. The gradient on this section is about 19 m/km. For
take-out, use the dam or the bridge after it. If you follow the
road up the valley all the way to its end, you will get to Refugio
you can do fascinating tours into the surrounding area, e.g.,
in Los Bellotos National Park: Waterfalls, lakes, horseback riding
and rafting in the midst of practically virgin jungle.
that wends its way through one of the wildest sceneries in Central
Chile like a turquoise snake, can also be accessed from Linares.
The bluish-green lagoons, the cypress forests and granite walls
are a little reminiscent of Yosemite National Park in the US,
just not as well-known. A poor road follows the river and ends
at a horse ranch under construction. From this road, the various
sections up to the confluence with Ancoa can be explored easily;
Class III to IV - a kayaker's dream!
the real kayaker's paradise starts with this high water volume,
bluish-green river northeast of Chillán. There is a good
road from San Carlos to Los Sauces via San Fabián de Alico,
with good spots for camping along the river. This section is Class
III with two passages of Class IV and interesting bends; the gradient
is mild at 8 m/km. Starting with Nahueltoro bridge it gets easier,
and the valley becomes wider.
If you want
to, you can rent mules at Los Sauces for having your boats carried
further upriver to explore the upper reaches. A gorgeous, three
to four day trekking tour leads to Laguna Trucha mountain lake
- a real insider tip.
In the famous Siete Tazas of Río Claro
rivers described here are an extract from the guidebook.