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Coyhaique, its Six Ponds and One Elizalde

Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio

The Patagonian mountain ranges shelter large water bodies among mountains we may appreciate as we follow amazing circuits. A tour starting at Coyhaique set us in the local geography and its charms.

Six-Pond Circuit and Lake Elizalde in Coyhaique

We all have a dose of adventure in our souls. Many of the circuits in Coyhaique demand that inner concern from visitors in order to get deep into the winding almost unexplored paths in the area.

The imprint left by volcanoes and glaciers gave shape to a sequence of lakes and ponds that, in turn, offered humidity to the soil. Therefore, we came across green grasslands, thick woodlands and cascades that marked ancient slopes.

There are few settlements along this perimeter, but plenty of natural life without any more additives than those offered by Nature. Behind each hill, several roofs with smoky chimneys and animals grazing would provide a unique kind of placidity.

We covered the circuit by car, setting out from the center of the City of Coyhaique following Simpson Avenue towards the river bearing the same name. We crossed a suspension bridge and appreciated the strength of the wind on the rock. Piedra del Indio (Indian’s Rock) is a rock formation shaped by the action of the wind.

Six-Pond Circuit and Lake Elizalde in Coyhaique

We continued towards the Teniente Vidal aerodrome and, at the first fork, 12 kilometers away from Coyhaique, we turned left into a detour posted by a sign reading CEA. Four kilometers ahead, we reached the area called Six Ponds.

Simpson Valley appeared before us. It was impressive, with its snow-capped mountains in the background, even if the winter was long gone. The vegetation was scarce. From the heights, we could see the water bodies we were searching for: the Six Ponds.

It would be surprising if we could see something else farther ahead. But this was already stunning. We got off the car to behold it for a couple of minutes and remember it for ever.

Afterwards, the narrow road continued and the vegetation grew thicker to both sides. We saw very green vast grasslands and animals grazing. It was the best recipe to slow down from our urban lifestyle.

Six-Pond Circuit and Lake Elizalde in Coyhaique

Making the Right Choice

Each turn in the winding road was a surprise itself. Thus, a denizen fixing the fence around his house, a cascade and a group of cows grazing and feeding their calves appeared before us.

As it was the summertime, several venues offered their production of fine fruit, homemade jams, honey and farm products for sale. We tasted some of them and chose delicious jams to take home.

A young couple carrying small backpacks proved that there were countless trails to enjoy hiking and get a better view of the hills or search for the way to one of the many waterfalls in the surroundings.

Six-Pond Circuit and Lake Elizalde in Coyhaique

When at the following sign we had the choice to continue towards Lake Elizalde, we did not think it twice. Before setting out, we had received strong recommendations to see its crystal-clear waters, its vast surface and its very high coastlines.

We had heard it was a paradise for anglers. We did not intend to fish but we did want to make sure the trout caught there were as precious as everyone said. Furthermore, we wanted to know if there was a chance to go for a ride on a motorboat.

The path bordered the lake completely and we could observe some trails for horseback rides or hiking. We could see the abrupt cliffs and the vegetation reflecting on the waters below, creating a duplicate image.

At the pier, several motorboats were ready to set sail and we heard one of the passengers say: “The Elizalde is so generous that you always return home with some trout caught in its waters”.

Six-Pond Circuit and Lake Elizalde in Coyhaique

A river called Boca de León (Lion’s Mouth) ends at the spot bearing the same name, giving shape to a vast beach with grassland areas and local trees. Several families were having a picnic near the pier.

We confirmed the possibility of hirng boats, bicycles and horses both in the campsite and in the inn. It was also possible to go on a lake tour starting at the Fishing Association facilities.

We had covered 33 kilometers from Coyhaique up to the shores of Lake Elizalde. Most of this road was a gravel path. However, on our way back, we had the chance to take a shorter route, mostly paved.

We had our award, as we got to see a very beautiful settlement with wooden constructions called El Blanco. Immediately afterwards, we found the road that led us back to Coyhaique following Route 5.

Early that day and before setting out, we had been eager to see something new. Our aim had been more than accomplished and we were astonished by such an impressive view made up by the lake circuits in Coyhaique.

Six-Pond Circuit and Lake Elizalde in Coyhaique
Welcome Chile - Outings in Coyhaique
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All day in the summer. Bring supplies.

Useful Data

Bear in mind

It is essential to have a good map of the area as some of the forks are not sign posted or signs are illegible.
There are cabins, campsites and fishing association facilities.
Visitors may rent boats, bicycles and horses at the campsite and the inn in the high season.

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