Parque Nahuelbuta was the first forest we visited in Chile. It’s a coastal range that is home to both the last virgin stand of Araucaria (Monkey Puzzle) trees and quite possibly the oldest Araucaria tree in the world. Walking through a forest of these trees feels a bit like being in a Dr. Seuss book. We camped a night in the forest and the next day carried a picnic up to Eagle Rock lookout. From there we could look down on the canopy of the Araucarias; and with a scan of the horizon we could see a dozen volcanoes to the east and the Pacific to the west.
Eighty km into the Andean foothills east of Chillán is a little ski area called Termas de Chillán. On our last morning there we were able to take a short hike into the forest to check out a waterfall.
Well south of Chillán is Huilo-Huilo nature reserve. We didn’t dive deep into the forest but the glimpses of it from the top of the incredible one-with-nature hotel filled us with gratitude.
The final forest we visited was in Chiloé, the second largest island in South America. We stayed on a farm in Chiloé called Los Senderos de Chepú (the trails of Chepú). The Don of the land had cut a trail system through his old growth forest. Of all the forests, this one reminded me most of the Cascades. But that had to do more with the amount of moss and lichen than with the types of trees and plants.