Cachapoal River

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Quick Facts

General Description

The Cachapoal River is located in the O'Higgins Region, Region VI of the Republic of Chile. The Rio Cachapoal is generally not known as a whitewater river except for the small section of class II/III whitewater between the Termas de Cauquenes and Sauzal.

Most of the Cachopoal River is devoted to heavy industry and electrical production. On it’s northern banks, to the east of the city of Rancagua, lies the worlds largest underground copper mine, called “El Teniente” and owned by the Codelco corporation. The principal dam on the river is located at Coya near the confluence with the Rio Coya. The most important dam is in the region is located on the Rio Pangal, an upstream tributary of the Cachapoal River. These dams were built in 1911 and 1921 respectively to supply electricity and water to the copper mine. In 2004 they were sold to Pacific Hydro of Australia along with all of the water rights to the Upper Cachapoal River. Pacifico Hydro plans to further develop the Cachopoal River despite the environmental disaster it caused on the Tinguiririca River to the immediate south.

The river section between these two dams is often dry, as water is diverted for electrical production and use by the copper mine. However, if it is caught at the right time, reports have are that it can supply a good class IV/V run for about 6 miles (10 km).



River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

Real-time Steamflow Data

Cachapoal Reporting Stations:

  • 06008005-4 Cachapoal Pte Termas
  • C06008009-7 Canal Sauzal en Puente Termas

Upper Cachapoal and Pangal Reporting Stations:

  • 06002001-9 Cortaderal Cachapoal
  • 06003001-4 Cachapoal 5 km a. Jta Cortaderal
  • 06006001-0 Pangal en Pangal

Rapid Descriptions


Put-Ins and Take-Outs

Rio Cachapoal River:

  • Put-in: Put-in at the bridge where Ruta H35 crosses the Cachapoal River.
  • Take-out: Take-out roadside in the little village of Sauzal.


From the Pan American Highway (Ruta 5), just south of the city of Rancagua take Highway 35 (Ruta H35) toward the town of Coya an the Termas de Cauquenes. Locate the take-out in Sauzal and put-in at the bridge before the hot springs.

Maps & Outside Links

  • Maps:

Copyright & Terms of Use

  • Copyrights: (Copyright © 2006, Expediciones Chile) All photos, maps, diagrams, text and computer code is the copyrighted property of Expediciones Chile with all rights reserved.

  • Terms of Use: Any type of reproduction, republication, or re-transmission for commercial use is prohibited without the expressed, written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users of this Wiki guidebook may print copies of the text, images and diagrams for personal river running use only. Users may not alter the diagrams or text without expressed written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users must read and acknowledge the disclaimer before printing. Printing implies acknowledgment of the disclaimer.


  • Disclaimer: Under no circumstances should paddlers substitute the information and diagrams in this guidebook for their own sound judgment on the river and their collective experience running rivers. The diagrams, maps and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get to Chile or Argentina. They are not to scale and nor are they completely accurate. Water levels change, rocks move around, landslide debris can enter the river at any time making the diagrams obsolete. Expediciones Chile also reserves the right to update these diagrams and descriptions at any time as we find better ways to illustrate and discuss the rapids. Use this guidebook at your own risk.

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