Vincente Pérez Rosales National Park includes some of the most beautiful scenery in the Lake District. Situated about a 45 minute drive from Puerto Varas it is easily accessible from town as well as the Puerto Montt Airport. We visited parts of the park both at the beginning and the end of our visit to the region. The first week in March we had beautiful clear blue skies but on our return 10 days later rain and low clouds persisted in the mountain tops. For this post I will be combining drives through the park made during both visits.
Also in Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park check out the following posts:
Saltos del Petrohué
The Saltos del Petrohué (an impressive cascade down the Petrohué River) is one of the most iconic vistas in the Lake District and was packed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, late in the summer the Petrohué river was running lower than we had seen it in the past and the harsh light was directly behind the volcano.
Despite the less than ideal circumstances it’s an easy 45 minute drive from Puerto Varas, running along Lake Llanquihue through manicured lawns and gardens with large trees and views of Volcano Osorno.
Drive from Osorno to Petrohué
On a pretty day with changeable skies alternating between rain and sun, sometimes at the same time, we took the back roads, from Orsorno to Ensenada and on to Petrohué.
The scenic drive is on good roads through tidy pasture land and then wraps around Lake Llanquihue where it enters Vicente Perez Rosales National Park.
The way should have volcano views, but on a rainy day the best we got was conical clouds at the top of the Volcano Osorno that exactly encased the peak.
Closer to Petrohué the river sparkled a beautiful blue-green in the sunlight, one of the reasons you come to this area. We had a mix of clouds and sun the rest of the day, with the mountains never really clearing. Looking at the weather forecast I don’t expect to see the top of anything during our 2 day stay in Petrohué.
Drive from Petrohué to Ralún
Before heading back to Puerto Varas we drove out towards Cochamó.
Even with the hilltops obscured by low clouds it’s a pretty drive through the forest. Just past Ralún the road runs along the Reloncaví Sound.
We had driven this road more than a decade earlier in spring (December) in pretty much the same rainy conditions. I don’t know that they have any other kind of weather here. We went only a short ways past where the paved road ended, about half way to Cochamó from Ralún, before turning around to make our way back to Puerto Varas.
On the way back rain clouds began to shrink leaving larger and larger holes of blue. At one point near the road back to Petrohué we actually saw a good part of the volcano with the cloud around the peak shaped like the upper pyramid of the volcano. You could almost pretend it was snow.
Continuing on from Petrohué to Puerto Varas via Puerto Octay
Since the weather was improving we decided to take the long way around the lake via Puerto Octay to Puerto Varas. This would complete the drive around the lake that we had started on March 4 to the Saltos del Petrohué (see above).
This road passes through Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park between lake Llanquihue and Volcano Orsono. The clouds quickly obscured the volcano again but still it’s a scenic drive, first through the National Park and then through open pasture lands.
For links to the posts in this series visit the Lake District and Chiloé page.