Between Lago Todos Los Santos and the Estero Reloncaví is an orphaned little lake high up in the mountains that makes for a perfect day trip from Cochamo, Ralun or Puerto Varas. You can even take a kayak up there if you’re feeling adventurous.
We were tipped off by a local who we gave a lift to one day that it was a long walk but worth it. Twice we tried to get there and twice we failed (once we were worried the car would get stuck and the next time we ran out of light), so this time we planned to go up with time for a picnic at the lake and in good weather.
If you take a turning off the V-69 just after the Petrohué Bridge marked Cayutué a long road winds up the mountain. It seems to be used for logging, whether legally or not I don’t know. Eventually the road comes to an end near a little farm, where you can park up and start walking. The path is obvious, even if it is sometimes a small stream or just mud. It is used by the local huasos to move their cattle up and down so it is well maintained and is probably how Cochamó would have looked before tourism.
We followed the path to a ford near the lake, which took about an hour. As the river was quite high we decided to head straight to the lake, which was only about 50m away. After an aborted paddling attempt (it was too cold), we walked back up barefoot to a fallen tree that crossed the river and used that to get to a larger beach and some grass.
We constructed a rudimentary bench from a log and a couple of stones and looked out over the glassy lake with views to Volcán Puntiagudo and the surrounding peaks whilst eating our picnic.
That down we went further around the shore and found a couple of fishing boats and a large area that had obviously been cleared on purpose. Just then we saw some huasos on horseback with their dogs so this confirmed our suspicions that this was the winter pasture for the local cattle.
Their tracks led us back into the forest and to another ford that was too strong to cross on foot so we found some debris a bit further upriver and balanced our way along it to safety.
On arriving back at the car we were greeted by some beautiful lenticular cloud formations in front of Volcán Yates.all on we were back home by 5pm in time to get the fire going before the wind and the rain set in.