Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine National Park

Rio Clarillo National Park, Metropolitan Region

Rio Clarillo National Park, near Santiago de Chile.
Image: JC Outdoor Chile on YouTube

   Rio Clarillo was declared a National Reserve in 1982. Over the years it became a focus of visitors, receiving more than 100,000 people per year. As of September 2020, it can be visited as the first National Park in the Metropolitan Region, very close to Santiago.

The re-classification of the reserve was part of the proposals of the National Forest Corporation (CONAF), an institution that manages the National System of State Protected Wild Areas (SNASPE). 

In this way, as of September 2020 Chile has more than 18 million protected hectares, distributed in 43 National Parks, 45 National Reserves and 18 Natural Monuments, not for nothing in 2019 Chile was awarded as the World's Leading Green Destination by World Travel Awards.

Main Features of Rio Clarillo National Park

Rio Clarillo National Park, Metropolitan region, Chile.

The protected area is located in the foothills of the Pirque commune, southeast of Santiago, just 45 km. from the center of the Chilean capital and 23 km. from Puente Alto. It comprises 13,185 hectares with altitudes ranging between 850 and 3,500 meters above sea level. Its main attraction is Clarillo River, which supplies water to the nearby communities of Pirque and Puente Alto.

The place is key since it is one of the last areas with sclerophyllous forest near Santiago, it is a refuge for the Cipres de la Cordillera (Austrocedrus chilensis, an endangered species), Olive trees, Quillayes (Quillaja saponaria, an endemic tree of Central Chile) and Hawthorns, as well as home to many birds and mammals like Condors, Foxes, etc.

Three types of ecosystems are present in the place: the high Andean steppe, the Andean scrubland and Sclerophyllous forest, which has strongly diminished. Scientists from various universities come to Rio Clarillo to study ecosystems.
The new National Park has a total of seven trails, with an extension of 20 kilometers, for hiking and other two of 4 kilometers are planned. In addition, Rio Clarillo is a park considered inclusive, where there is infrastructure for people with special needs. It has equipment such as circuits, bathrooms, picnic areas, viewpoints and access to the river in El Maiten area. You can also go trekking and walk the trails to take pictures.

How to Get There

It can be visited all year round. Arrival is by land from Santiago following Avenida Vicuña Mackenna to the south. Arriving at the Puente Alto commune, Vicuña Mackenna changes its name to Avenida Concha y Toro, you have to continue until it ends at a T-shaped crossroads. Turn right and continue for about 2 kilometers where the detour to Rio Clarillo is signposted, towards the El Principal sector. Follow the signs to the reserve.  
You can also get to the "Plaza de Puente Alto" metro station and take the bus "Pirque - Río Clarillo", which will leave you two blocks from the entrance. 

Summer, when the area is highly visited, is very hot, with more than 30º C. It is important to hydrate well and protect yourself from sun damage.

Contact Information

2475 Pio X St., Providencia Commune, Santiago de Chile.
Phone: (+56) 2 2328 0339