Futaleufu Guidebook
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Kayak Chile:
An Online Whitewater Guidebook to Futaleufu River

As whitewater kayaking on the Futaleufu River becomes more and more popular the need for information about the rapids on the Futaleufu River has become greater and greater. With this in mind, the Expediciones Chile guide team developed this online Futaleufu River Guidebook for whitewater kayakers making the journey this sacred river valley.

One of the things we felt to be important was the incorporation of real geographical information in the Futaleufu guidebook, as people are not familiar with the Futaleufu or the order of its rapids. Therefore our Futaleufu guidebook was developed in two parts. The first is a "Futaleufu Interactive Map " which will let you locate any rapid on the Futaleufu in real space as well as the put-in and take-out locations. The other is the "Futaleufu River Whitewater Guidebook Wiki" which contains detailed information about the rapids themselves.

Futaleufu River Valley Interactive Map:

To find a rapid or put-in/take-out location on the Futaleufu River, click on the banner below. Use the drop down menus to bring up the section of river you are interested in and double-click the mouse. This will show you the location of the rapids in relation to one another. For information about the rapid, click on the displayed link in the drop down box which will take you to the Futaleufu River Guidebook Wiki. (Macintosh users please use Firefox.)

Interactive Futaleufu River Valley Map

Futaleufu River Guidebook Wiki:

To find information about any rapid on the Futaleufu River you can access the Futaleufu River Guidebook Wiki by clicking the banner below. Here you will find detailed descriptions of the rapids, diagrams, photos, video and information about the best lines and potential hazards.

Futaleufu River Guidebook

Other Rivers in the Futaleufu Region:

The Espolon River:

(Rafting, Kayaking, Floating, Fly Fishing, Adventure Trails: trekking, sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking & horseback riding)

From the Lake Espolon to the confluence of the Futaleufu, this aquatic paradise is nothing short of spectacular in beauty. It runs from the Lake Espolon to the village of Futaleufu . From here the river continues its journey until it enters the Futaleufu River two miles downstream from town. In the summer this river runs between 800 and 2000 cfs. Imagine water the color and clarity of the ocean surrounding Tahiti . The Espolon originates in the pristine mountain lake, Lago Espolon and plunges through the awe-inspiring, un-runnable “Cascades of Espolon”. At the base of the falls, the river transforms into a tame Class 2 river for the next 5 miles heading towards the Adventure Center with numerous deep clear pools, white sand beaches and very manageable rapids. This is an excellent river for first time rafters or sit-on-top kayakers as well as for fly fishing. The water is so transparent it feels as though you were hovering over the river bottom on a magic carpet. A trail from our lodge winds through the trees near the river where you see the numerous swimming and fishing pools teeming with brown and rainbow trout.

The Azul River

(Rafting, Kayaking, Fly Fishing, Adventure Trail: trekking, mountain biking, hiking & horseback riding)

This river joins the Rio Futaleufu, 22 kilometers downstream from town under the shadow of the Tres Monjas peaks. The riverbanks are lush and green with ferns, which contrast with the soft, white-sandy beaches. This glacier-fed river can range between 600 to 2000 cfs, depending on rain and snowmelt in the mountains. This is a great warm-up for the Class kayak and raft 3/4 trips. The Azul is one of the great alternate rivers in Cjile when the Futaleufu is running too high. Technical and defined, the Rio Azul takes its name from the aquamarine water color.

The Chico River

(Kayaking, Fly Fishing, Adventure Trails: trekking, mountain biking, hiking & horseback riding.)

This tributary near the Argentina border runs through a national reserve for the Huemul which are small native deer. Mountain ike and horseback riding trails take you through this remote valley along the border. The small river enters the Futaleufu River near the border with Argentina upstream from town. We have walked sections of it and need to scout more before we plan a first descent with correct water levels. This is Class 3/4, with possibilities of unknown falls.

The Palena River

(Whitewater Kayaking, Sea Kayaking)

About one hour from the village of Futaleufu lies the Rio Palena. The Palena originates in Argentina and cuts a clear path all the way across Chile to the Southern Pacific Ocean . The entire river is traversable by expert sea kayakers and it contains mile after mile of class II/ III whitewater rapids. Whitewater kayakers will primarily be interested in the upper section which contains some significant class III/III+ rapids. This is a river we frequently visit with our class II/III trips and our kayak school students.

The Tigre River

(Whitewater Kayaking)

A tributary of the Rio Palena, the Rio Tigre lies to south of the village of Palena . Like the Palena, the Rio Tigre originates in Argentina with headwaters in some high alpine lakes. The class III section is about 10 kilometers long ending at the confluence with the Rio Palena. The upper section of the Rio Tigre is Class V where the river is known as the “Saltos de Tigre”. This is a river we frequently visit with our class II/III trips and our kayak school students.

The Michimahuida River

(Whitewater Kayaking)

Off the side of Volcan Michimahuida lies the class IV-V Michamahuida River . To kayak this river flows must be just right as it drops steeply through a narrow gorge. The river can be run in one day or over a span of two days with a bivouac between. Above the Class IV/V section is a class II/III section that is suitable for beginner kayakers at most water levels. Be sure to check out the Amarillo Hot Springs on your way in or out of the Michimahuida Valley.

Sections and Rapids of the Futaleufu River:

Upper Futaleufu Lower Futaleufu

Mini Canyon

Infierno Canyon

Las Escalas Valley (II)

False Zeta (IV)

Zeta (V plus)

Throne Room (V plus)

Wild Mile Section


Futaleufu Bridge to El Macal

Middle Futaleufu El Macal Section

School House (III)

Asleep at the Wheel (IV)

Pillow Rock (III play feature)

Terminator Section

Khyber Pass (IV)

Himalayas (III plus)

Isla (III)

Surf Wave (III)

U-Turn (III)

Avalanche (III)

Rodeo Hole (III play feature)

Freighter Rock (III)

El Macal (III plus)

Other Kayak Chile Itineraries: Class II/III Kayak Chile Week. Class III/IV Futaleufu River Valley Week. Class IV/V Kayak Futaleufu Week, Patagonia South Kayak School and Patagonia Kayak Safari.

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