Hidden Alerces at Park Lahuen Nadi

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  • Alerce trees

  • Alerce tree trunk

  • Alerce tree canopy

If you have ever been to the South of Chile you would have heard about the Alerce trees. Have you ever taken the road from the Puerto Montt airport to Puerto Varas? Then you have passed the park of Lahuen Nadi. Unlike parque Alerce you don't need to walk 5km to see a tree, here you can view them 2 min from the entrance.

Most of the trees are relatively young here around 1600 years old but they are still humongus! The oldest living Alerce is around 3,640 years we unfortunately do not have a lot of information on these trees. Many of the older houses especially of the Puerto Varas area are made from the devastating logging of the 19'th century. Due to the logging it's impossible to tell just how old these tree can get currently, but it's widely believed they are the second-longest living trees on Earth. Currently the oldest trees alive are around a trunk diameter of 4.26m, but Charles Darwin reported finding a specimen 12.6m in diameter.

Lahuen Ñadi is not heavily advertised in the local media and hence not many people visit it. But by far its been the most beautiful "forest" of Alerce I have seen, you enter the park from the road that takes you to Puerto Montt from the Airport. A short 5 min drive through some farmland on a dirt road and you arrive at the reception the park. It's only 1500 pesos and you are free to explore the Alerce or Fitzroya cupressoides better known to botanists.

The route through the park is a raised wooden walkway, keeping you out the soggy marsh below and helping protect the trees from too much disturbances from its visitors. The trees tower above you and the just keep appearing in more and more numbers as you walk along. Its very surreal as these trees are pretty hard to find in South America.

All in all I walked away with a big smile on my face having the opportunity to have seen such giant wonders of South America.

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