Yeso River

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Quick Facts

General Description

The Yeso River begins in the high Nevado Cordillera of the Andes Mountains directly to the southeast of Santiago de Chile. It is one of the three main tributaries of the Maipo River and serves as a water source for Metropolitan Santiago. The river is an excellent creek boat destination within an hour’s drive of Chile's capital city. Much of the river runs along the canyon road so it is easy to scout.


The Rio Yeso is very steep in sections and requires much scouting, unless you happen to hook-up with the locals who have the river wired. The gradient of the river is not constant with a mixture of class IV and V rapids. The rapids just above the take-out are considered the most difficult and sometimes are paddled as a section on their own. The rapids above the runnable section are considered class V+/IV.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

The flows of the Rio Yeso are moderated by a lake at the top which helps keep the flow pattern and temperature somewhat pedictable. Typically the Yeso is high in November, December and January with melt water from the Andes snow-pack. More reasonable water levels can be found later in the Summer. Estimated flow on the Yeso River is between 500-2000 cfs (15- 57 cm/s).

Rapid Descriptions


Put-Ins and Take-Outs

  • Put-in: From the Rio Yeso Bridge head left, up-stream, toward the dam, along the Yeso River and scout the Class V canyon you will be paddling through. Above the canyon is a class IV stretch of river before the Yeso picks up gradient again further upstream. Put-in at the top of the canyon, or on the class IV lead-in stretch to the canyon.
  • Take-out: The Rio Yeso bridge that serves as the put-in for the class IV-V Middle Maipo Section.


From Santiago de Chile head southeast, up the Rio Maipo Valley to the village of San Jose del Maipo. The drive will take you about an hour. From San Jose del Maipo head up the valley for another twenty kilometers until you reach the village of San Gabriela and the Rio Yeso bridge. Head up the the road following the Rio Yeso toward the Termas del Plomo.

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

There are numerous places to stay in the Rio Maipo River Valley, but the most famous is the Cascada de las Animas Eco-Resort. They have tenting or luxury cabin options depending on your personal preference. Cascada de las Animas is located in the town of San Alfonso, north of the Rio Maipo River, on the right side of the main valley road traveling away from Santiago.

Maps & Outside Links

  • Maps:
  • Outfitters & Lodging:

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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