Puyehue National Park (Parque Nacional Puyehue) Landscape Scenes and Plants

December 2004

The Puyehue region of the Lake District is dominated by volcanism, with young cone-shaped snow-capped volcanos contributing to the geology and geomorphology of the Andes Mountains near the border with Argentina.   The Rio Gol Gol flows generally west, with several beautiful waterfalls, filling Lago Puyehue east of Osorno.   The vegetation consists of temperate rainforest, dominated by Southern Beech (Nothofagus dombeyi and Nothofagus nitida).   There are few roads into the park, one two-laned highway (Route/Ruta 215) providing access to Argentina a several kilometers to the east.
The Lake District was not significantly colonized by the Spaniards because of the fierce defense of the Lake District by the native Araucarans. Volcanic eruptions and disease had lowered or kept the populatation size in the region relatively low.   The most recent volcanic eruption in the Lake District occurred on 24 May 1960 on Cordón del Caulle, which is part of the Volcán Puyehue stratovolcano.   Cordón del Caulle, which is located on the southwest flank of Puyehue, has erupted seven times since 1893.
To protect this part of Chile for colonization by Argentinians and other forces, in the mid-1800s the Chilean government actively promoted settlements by largely European immigrants, mostly Germans, to populate the area after the volcanos had settled down.   This area was and is an important dairy industry for Chile, with tourism ever increasing.   It is interesting that relatively few Chileans visit the Lake District on their vacations, preferring instead to flock to the beaches west of Santiago.

All photographs copyrighted by David L. Magney 2004.

Links to other Puyehue [pronounced: Pu-hay-way] Area Photos
Puyehue Photos 2
Puyehue Photos 3
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Photographs of Landscape Scenes of the Puyehue National Park

A typical village grocery store in the Lake District west of Puyehue N.P.; the nearest place to purchase groceries (Entre Lagos).   The city of Osorno is further west, on the Pan-American Highway.

A volcano in the park (Volcán Puyeue), often with its summit in the clouds, is located on the north side of the Rio Gol Gol.   Volcán Puyeue (also spelled Puyehue) reaches a maximum elevation of 2,236 meters, and is considered active.

Forest scenes (consisting of southern temperate rainforest), including trees such as Ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia), Coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi), Maitén (Maytenus boaria), Picha-picha (Myrceugenia planipes), Repu (Rhamphithamnus spinosus), Tiaca (Caldcluvia paniculata), Olivillo (Aextoxicon punctatum), Tepa (Laureliopsis philippiana), Fuinque (Lomatia ferruginea), Avellano (Gevuina avellana), and Tineo (Weinmannia trichosperma).   Many of these are present is the photographs below.

Salto de Los Novios, one of many waterfalls on the Rio Gol Gol, the major river flowing through Puyehue N.P.; this one immediately adjacent to Route 215.

Salto del Indio, another of many waterfalls on the Rio Gol Gol.

A female Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) and her three ducklings can be seen in the center of each of the four photos, with zoomed-in cropped portions showing them better (but grainier) below.   Mottled black and white ducklings (3) can be seen near their mother.   This species of duck nests near, and forages within the rapid currents (torrents - hence its name) of the Andes rivers such as the Rio Gol Gol.

Another, smaller waterfall, on a Rio Gol Gol tributary, I think is called Salto La Princesa.   The trees here include: Coigüe, Notro (Embothrium coccineum), Palo Colorado (Luma apiculata), Repu, Olivillo, Maqui (Aristotelia chilensis), Ulmo, Fuinque, Mañio Hembra (Podocarpus nubigena), Picha-picha, Avellano, and Tepa.

Fuchsia magellanica, Chilco or Chilca, Palo Blanca (Bushy Fuchsia) - Onagraceae (Evening-primrose family)

Calceolaria cf. crenatiflora, Zapatito or Zapatilla - Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family).   Moss-covered bank and ledge beneath the waterfall, and habitat for the Zapatito.

A weathered tree trunk in the waterfall plunge pool.

Alstroemeria aurea, Liuto Amarillo or Amancay [Alstroemeria] - Alstroemeriaceae (Alstroemeria family)

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