Nahuelbuta National Park

3 December 2016 

Where is located Nahuelbuta National Park? What to see? Nahuelbuta National Park is located in central Chile, along the border lines of La Araucania and Bio Bio regions, not far from the cities of Angol and Canete, which are conveniently connected by road from Temuco and Conception. The Nahuelbuta park is the heart of the Araucaria araucana's place of origin and is home to many old trees that cohabit with southern beech and other endemic species.

Track to Nahuelbuta Dirty road to Nahuelbuta
Farm in Chile

How to get to Nahuelbuta? Nahuelbuta National Park has several entrances: the easiest and with the track in better conditions, is probably the entrance near Angol, a town that is a couple of hours drive from Temuco Airport in central Chile.

The trip from Angol along the unpaved track requires about one and an half hour: although the road is in good conditions, the tight curves and the steep climbs suggest to use a suitable 4x4 car.

One of the most spectacular place in the Nahuelbuta National Park is "Piedra del Aguila" lookout point, which can be accessed by a 4 kilometer trail through the forest, among very old trees of Araucaria and Nothofagus. The trail is quite easy, not very steep and starts from a small parking lot not far from the Angol entrance to the park.
Nahuelbuta La Araucania
Bio Bio region in Chile Central Chile landscape
The Piedra del Aguila viewpoint in Nahuelbuta National Park, offers a spectacular view of the valleys between the mountains which are considered to be the place of origin of the Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle) tree.
Nahuelbuta park
The Araucarias of Nahuelbuta Park in Chile, among young specimens and adult trees that assume the typical umbrella-shape. The Araucaria (Araucaria araucana or Araucaria imbricata) is more commonly called "monkey puzzle tree".
Nahuelbuta National Park
Pedra del Aguila Araucaria trees in Chile
Photos of Araucaria araucana trees near Piedra del Aguila lookout point in Nahuelbuta National Park. In their natural habitat, the monkey puzzle tree assumes a rather different shape compared to what we are used to see in our gardens, as adults, after hundreds years of age, tend to lose most of the branches along the lower part of the trunk, with the foliage limited only to the top of the tree. This happens mainly because of the competition with other trees, that suggests to keep the leaves only where they are best exposed to the light and not in the shadow of other trees.
Adult Araucaria
The distribution of Araucaria araucana in nature is limited to the regions of Maule, Bio Bio, La Araucania and Los Rios in central Chile and, although it has been exported around the world since the end of the 18th century, the plant is still classified as Vulnerable (VU) because its place of origin is threatened by frequent fires, volcanic eruptions and deforestation. Although the trees will certainly survive among private gardens of other countries, it would be nice to see them in their natural habitat still for long time.
Monkey puzzle tree Monkey puzzle trees
Araucaria araucana Araucaria imbricata
More pictures of Araucaria araucana, also improperly called Araucaria imbricata and commonly known as monkey puzzle tree.
From Pedra del Aguila viewpoint, several trails gives the opportunity to hike among secular trees (sometimes millenary) of Araucaria and southern beech (Nothofagus).
Trunk of Araucaria Araucarias
Mixed temperate forest
An example of a mixed forest composed of Araucaria and Nothofagus trees.
Trunk of monkey puzzle tree Forest of Araucaria
Forest of monkey puzzle tree

The very dense forest, with many lichens-covered trunks of Araucaria and Nothofagus trees.
Bark of Araucaria
The trunks of Araucaria, when not covered by lichens, give the opportunity to better observe the bark of these trees, which is rather thick and forming a kind of huge mosaic.
Very old Araucaria
Araucaria in natural habitat Araucarias in Chile

Pictures of monkey puzzle trees, emerging from the forest in search of sunlight.
Southern beech

The Nothofagus (southern beech) is another "protagonist" tree in this beautiful forest of Nahuelbuta National Park, in Chile.
Araucaria foliage
A trunk of Araucaria with the foliage limited to the upper part only, because more exposed to the light.

The trunks of the Araucaria and other parts of the trees, covered with yellow lichens.
Lichens on a trunk
Millenary monkey puzzle tree Millenary Araucaria
A thousand-year-old tree of Araucaria araucana, with a trunk over 2 meters in diameter and 50 meters high.
Lizard Spider
Some animals of Nahuelbuta: a beautiful green lizard and a large threatening spider.
Young monkey puzzle tree
A young Araucaria, perhaps a dozen years old, along a trail in Nahuelbuta National Park.
Angol Angol, Chile
Because of its proximity, the town of Angol could be the ideal base for those wishing to visit Nahuelbuta National Park. The buildings are very low and generally made of wood, as this region of Chile is the place where the world's strongest earthquakes occur (the largest recorded earthquake in the world occurred near here in 1960 and reached the magnitude of M9.5).
Millary Inn Angol Millary Inn
Where to stay in Angol? Although the tourism is still not very developed in the region, you may always count on some small hotel, like the Millary Inn.

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