From the Cisnes  junction, the Carretera Austral zigzags over the 500-meter Portezuelo Queulat as it enters the 154,093-hectare Parque Nacional Queulat, which rises from the ocean fjords of Canal Puyuhuapi through nearly impenetrable evergreen forests that, except on a few well-kept trails, deter all but the most resolute hikers. Beneath snowcapped summits, meltwater cascades off bluish hanging glaciers into frigidly limpid rivers that have cut deep canyons en route to the sea.
Queulat’s accessibility has made it a popular destination for those exploring the Carretera Austral, but most see only a sample of its attractions. Many visitors come to enjoy the fishing in particular, but Queulat could be a poster child for climate change—as late as 1837, its hanging glacier came within 100 meters of the sea, but that distance is now 7.8 kilometers. Much of this change dates from a 1960 flood.
At Conaf’s new and informative Centro de Información Ambiental at Sector Ventisquero, rangers provide guidance on hiking and other activities. Visitors can also consult with rangers at Guardería Pudú (the park’s southern entrance) and Guardería El Pangue (its northern entrance).
Conaf collects a US$3 admission charge at Sector Ventisquero only.