Duqueco River

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Quick Facts

  • Class: IV/V with portages
  • Distance: ~18 miles (30 km) possibly less due to hydroelectric diversions
  • Average Gradient: 75 feet/mile (14 m/km) - greater up top
  • Maximum Gradient: saltos/waterfalls
  • Temperature: cold, glacial snow melt
  • Water Quality: excellent, turquoise blue
  • Character: drop pool, portages, lowhead dams, rapid flow changes, expect manmade debris, hazards and hydroelectric diversions
  • Nearby Rivers: Laja River, Queuco River, Bio Bio River - Upper

General Description

In January and March of the year 2000 the Rio Duqueco was formally inducted into the Hydroelectric Basin of the Bio Bio River with the completion of the Peuchén and Mampil hydroelectric stations. The construction of these two dams now makes the Duqueco River an iffy and questionable whitewater run that should be approached with some caution. The Rio Duqueco is likely to be de-watered in some areas (due to hydroelectric diversion) as well as having manmade debris in the riverbed. However, the roads along the river are greatly improved which will facilitate scouting where possible.

The run on the Duqueco River used to start at the confluence of the Rio Aillen and the Rio Quilaquiti which is now a impoundment reservoir (Bocatoma Las Juntas) that feeds water to the Peuchen hydroelectric station. About ten kilometers down the river from the Peuchen hydroelectric station lies the Mampil hydroelectric station. The combined power stations supply Chile’s electrical grid with 150MVA, equivalent to almost 650GWh a year. The two dams and hydroelectric stations were built and owned by Iberoamericana de Energia IBENER S.A.. Visit their website to see the latest pictures of the river, diversions and hydroelectric stations.


Scout everything on this river, there were mandatory portages before the dams were constructed, so expect more of them with the dams and diversions. Also, the typical method of road construction is to dispose of the rock material in the river. Look-out for sharp rocks and potential sieve areas.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

There are no gauges on the Rio Duqueco to get real-time streamflow data. To give you an idea of what to expect:

  • The Peuchen hydroelectric station has a maximum capacity of 36 cm/s (1270 cf/s)
  • The Mampil hydroelectric station has a maximum capacity of 45 cm/s (1590 cf/s)

Anything over these figures is likely to be in the riverbed.

Rapid Descriptions


Put-Ins and Take-Outs

  • Put-in: The old put-in was at the confluence of the three rivers (Rio Aillen, Rio Quilaquiti, Rio Duqueco) which is now a impoundment reservoir (Bocatoma Las Juntas). It might be possible to put in below the dam providing there is flow, otherwise this section will need to be skipped. Try to find a put-in further down, where there is water.
  • Take-out: The old take-out was one of the two bridges crossing the river going to the town of Canicura. This is below most of the hydroelectric works. Scout to find your best take-out option.


From the city of Los Angeles (Pan American Highway, Ruta 5) head east on the highway (Ruta Q45) toward the town of Antuco and Parque Nacional de la Laja. About 13 kilometers from the Ruta 5 you will come to the intersection of Ruta Q561 heading toward the town of Quilleco. Continue through Quilleco, past the town of Canicura until you come to the Rio Duqueco River. Look for the two bridges that cross the Rio Duqueco, (possible take-out spots). To get to the top of the river and the upper diversion reservoir you will need to take the road on the south side of the river.

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

Camping is available in the Nacional Reserva Ralco and in the Queuco River Valley above the town of Cauñicú. The road along the Rio Queuco leads to the Copahue Pass over the Andes to Argentina and gets some traffic. Other than that there are sporadic camping areas and cabins to rent along the Biobio River. If you decide to camp riverside on your own, it is recommended that you camp near someone’s house and have them watch your stuff while you are off on the river.

Maps & Outside Links




MOP Scalable Road Map

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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