Salto las Chilcas and Salto Torbellino

  • Chile Patagonia: Laguna del Laja NP, Salto las Chilcas and Salto Torbellino, Salto las Chilcas and Salto el Torbellino, Walkopedia

Key information: Salto las Chilcas and Salto Torbellino

    • In Araucania's Laguna del Laja NP visit the beautiful Salto las Chilcas and Salto el Torbellino, cascades formed as the subterranean waters of the Rio Laja spill out from porous volcanic rock into open air.
      • A serene interlude, seemingly far from the hydroelectric development of its surrounds, this short and straightforward walk is well worth a brief detour.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating79
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest0
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating79

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 1hr
  • Level of Difficulty: Straightforward


The waterfalls of the Rio Laja are the most visited attraction in the Biobio Valley of Araucania region: however, fortunately for visitors to Laguna del Laja NP, the most famous are the Salto Laja, near the old Pan-American Highway and far downstream from here. Hidden in this small national park are the Salto las Chilcas and Salto el Torbellino - upstream alternatives with none of the commercial hype surrounding Salto Laja. 

From the Conaf (Chile's national forestry commission) hut, the park's administrative centre, the cascades are just an hour return walk, on an easy path. The first you will reach, and viewable from a basalt platform, are the Salto las Chilcas (take note of warning signs, the Lonely Planet guide warns that this natural platform is cracked, and likely to collapse at any time). 

Taking the left hand path from here leads down a short path to a ridge from which you can watch the thundering progress of waters spilling over the Salto el Torbellino. Fauna here is gorgeous, make the most of greenery and pretty wildflowers before the short return walk and a longer trek into the wilderness landscape of the Volcan Antuco Circuit. 

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Laguna del Laja NP walk page.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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