Lake Rancos Green Secret Lake Rancos Green Secret – Futangue Park

Lake Rancos Green Secret

By Octavio Salinas

 

With landscapes blending imposing mountains and virgin forests, the Parque Futangue reserve is one of the most amazing protected areas in southern Chile. The park’s extensive and well´linked trail network makes it a paradise for lovers of trekking and like in the open air.

Lagoons, rivers and crystalline waterfalls, evergreen forests and spectacular lava fields are the beating heart of Parque Futangue, an old-growth forest conservation project covering 13,500 hectares that dates back to 1997 and the opening of the first trails out to unexplored areas of the Valdivian rainforest in the Andean foothills of Chile’s Los Rios Region.

Touristic development

After becoming part of the Fundación Ranco project in 2006, in order to ensure future development and make it easier to receive private donations, Parque Futangue began to develop its tourism services and open up to the nature-loving public. It bow boast an impressive trail network including bridges and walkways covering over 100 km and running through landscapes marked with old-growth forests, mountains, lakes and rivers. The trails are open year-round and are apt for trekking cycling, and horse-riding of even kayaking.

Besides these types of activities, the park is also an excellent spot for fly-fishing, as its several crystalline lagoons are home to large populations of both rainbow trout and brown trout.

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna abound in this biodiverse landscape, and the park can even make the claim that it contains around 70% of the known South American temperate forest plant species, most belonging to the Valdivian Rainforest habitat. In the park’s upland areas, the vegetation is dominated by tree species such as the lenga, the ñirre, the notro and the canelo andino, while the lowlands are populated by oaks, laurels and ulmo trees, among others at-risk species.

Of course, special mention has to go to the fungi, especially in autumn and spring, when the humidity and temperature are just right for fungi of all shapes, colours and sizes to bloom.

Animal lovers should bear in mind, too, that the park is home to species including the puma, pudú and monito del monte: a tiny marsupial endemic to these kinds of forests, considered a “living fossil” as it is the most ancient marsupial in the world and comes from an order that has largely been extinct for millions of years. The forests also house myriad amphibians including the iconic and highly endangered Darwin’s frog.

In terms of birdlife, the park boasts many of southern Chile’s most iconic birds, such as the hued-hued, the chucao, the fio-fio and the bacl woodpecker -the largest woodpecker in South America-, as well as the condors that are easily spotted soaring overhead in the upland areas of the park.

Activities for each season

Parque Futangue is open all year round, and each season has its own charms. For example, in winter visitors can hike on snowshoes among glistening white forests, while in spring the fishing is fantastic.

Summer is the best time for trekking and autumn is great for photography thanks to the trees’ spectacular colours.

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