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GPT13 (Laguna Icalma)

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* Start Date to Finish Date (use Format YYYY-MMM-DD) / Duration in Days / Hiking or Packrafting / Travel Direction (SOBO for Southbound or NOBO Northbound) / Chosen Route and/or Option Name (RR for Regular Route) / Names or Alias

Summary with remarks to route that are considered useful for other hikers and packrafters. Include alerts, suggestions and personal perception of attractiveness and difficulties.

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Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions

Season 2025/26

Season 2024/25

Season 2023/24

  • 2024 Mar 14th to Mar 15 / 2 days / Hiking / SOBO / RR, Var F, Var A / Michael and Kasia

An easy section even though we took 2 days to do it. We left Liucura around 14:00. It looked like it would be possible to camp on the near side of the foot bridge around km 1.94 if one didn't want to stay in Liucura. Going through the pine plantation we found a bunch of fresh callampas mushrooms (Suillus luteus) which we collected. We camped at (-38.70318, -71.10882). There was a dirt road heading down the direction of the river with no fencing. We found a flat spot on grass close to the river.

The next day we arrived in Icalma. The weather was sunny but very windy. Fords were easy. Just before and just after the ford at [16.6/1100] there were nice flat grassy areas that would be good camping spots. We passed a minimarket at (-38.77203, -71.24454). In Icalma there were three shops. The Almacén ECCA had a good selection with good prices. There is another shop across the street and a third on the road toward the border just before the school. The third store also had a good selection of stuff. Heading out the way of the border just a bit we found a family that rented us a “cabana” that they were in the process of renovating for 20.000 CLP. It had hot water in the shower. From there we walked to the border to renew our visa.

  • 2023-03-12 // 1 day // Hiking // NOBO // beginning of VAR A + VAR F + RR // Quentin Clavel

Started from icalma, this section was easy to follow and not a must do on the GPT, I understand the attractive rate, but still enjoyable, just smooth and easy.

Rio Biobío was easy to cross, and I'm glad the RR pass threw this crossing to continue on a smaller track than the biring gravel road, who's parrallele.

You'll finish the section in a kind of pampa, that reminded me some hard moments aha !

I decided to do a daybreak in liucura. It's a very small area, but as there's the chilean border control here, you can find accomodations, minimarkets and restaurant.

I spent two nights in hospedaje la Normita. 15K CLP per night, you'll have a apartment for you, with private shower and toilets. The WiFi is weak it's a shared connection from the phone of the (nice and kind owner : her name is Norma), so when she's not around, no WiFi.

But if you have to choose, maybe it's better to make a break in icalme instead of there, even if I left with my resupply and after a good rest.

  • 2024-01-12 / 1 day / Hiking / NOBO / RR / Hermann & Coline

This trail was short (one day), easy (plains) and therefore pleasant (one's enjoys even more the views).

We arrived at Icalma, after having gone to Temuco. I do not recommend to do the same, since there was no bus after Melipeuco and we had to hitchhike on a paved road with just a few cars going in our direction.

We slept at a camping in Villa Ilcama, but had no view on the lake due to the cabañas inbetween. There are other campings on the way to the river Rucanuco, which seemed better.

The plains were really nice looking at the end of the day, the river Bío Bío was okay to cross (water no higher than knees) and the RR easy to follow. We just shouln'd have left it before the Bridge {13} [2.0/1022], because this "shortcurt" was... very muddy.

We camped nearby the bridge, where one's can bath and swim with the chilians in the afternoon, when the water is warmer than in the morning.

The shops are small in Liucura, but we found varied food (cans, bread, sauce in poder, vegetables, meat, bread etc) – no bottle of gas, though.

  • 2024-Jan-12/ 1 day / Hiking / SOBO / RR - {13-F} - {13-A} / Lilian

Honestly, i love this section. Easy to walk and follow, relax my body in a still exercising status. Some nice views, especially Volcán Batea Mahuida and Icalma Lake! The whole way peaceful and no worries.

Bridge[0.5/1036] : after crossing, look like some possible camping spots beside some trees at downstream.

Bridge[2.0/1022] : a beautiful bridge! A locked gate with barbed wire after crossing. No need to climb, stand beside the gate and turn back, look at right side of the bridge. A broken hole beside the fence corner, easy to go through.

{13-B} of course is shorter, but it go through private area, avoid of right of way dipute, better follow RR.

Km7.55 : small stream flowing, maybe will dry up.

Km7.75 : another locked gate with barbed wire. You can open the top of gate, remain the lock there, then push down the gate for some gap to a big step over. (Remember to close the gate, otherwise the owner may change the position of lock)

Km11.6 : flat spot can fit 2 tents beside some trees, walk 50m more is a nice flowing stream.

Km14.8 : excellent view point of Volcán Llama, Sierra Nevada, Volcán Batea Mahuida, also the beautiful valley of Río Biobío. ( I'm not sure the snow mountain at the right side of Volcán Batea Mahuida is Nevados de Sollipulli or not.)

Ford[16.1/1100] : crossing of Río Biobío, river breaks into 3 parts here. Above ankle, just ankle and up to knee. Easy. Camping spot on grassland with fire ring before the crossing, flat spot on the island, and some camping spots surrounded by trees after the crossing.

Km19.85 : nice bus stop, good place stay away from sun, rain and wind. ( I didn't see any bus until the end when I'm walking on Friday)

Km20 - km20.1 : road going beside a pine tree forest. Look like is a good spot for stealth camp. Flat and privacy.

Km20.8 : bus stop looks like small cabin, a board said it made by 45,600k CLP (I'm not sure the price is for all bus stop in this line/area, or only this one). But i think no people using it, the chair inside are super dusty.

Km23.65 : a stream flowing good, i think this stream would not dry, have some "two fingers" size fish swimming in it, but upstream have some cabins, it is a risk to collect water here. Some flat spots nearby, this is the last place can wild camping, after here will become a commercial area, lot of paid campground and cabins.

Km25.2 : junction of {13-F} and RR. I take {13-F}+{13-A} because i want to resupply in Icalma.

{13-F} km0.4 : (-38.77186, -71.24484) good shop with lot of food for resupply, also have some sporty warm clothes (most of them is Columbia).

Km1.2 : (-38.77791, -71.24697) tiny shop for tortilla.

{13-F} join to {13-A}.

{13-A} km25.7 : (-38.78516, -71.26117) excellent view point of Icalma Lake, climb up to the tiny hill on the right side, just 3min!

Information in Icalma :

Shop1 (-38.81222,-71.28290) : small, lot vegetable but not much other food. Have frozen pizza.

Shop2 (-38.81003, -71.28553) : medium, just like the shop in Antuco. I resupply here, super friendly.

Shop3 (-38.81092, -71.28449) : tiny, not much thing inside.

Shop4 (-38.81174, -71.28576) : looks medium, i didn't go inside.

Shop5 (-38.81204, -71.28661) : looks small, i didn't go inside.

Shop6 (-38.81073, -71.28094) : looks small, i didn't go inside.

Shop7 (-38.81041, -71.28187) : looks small, i didn't go inside.

Ferretería (-38.81074, -71.28444) : no gas canisters, no tape.

Food truck (-38.81131, -71.28434) : their french fries is a good size. Also lot of restaurants nearby.

I don't find 230g gas canisters in Icalma.

Lastly, i stayed at Cabañas Anyely (-38.81643, -71.29265), about 800m west of Icalma center. Sleep in a big cabin that can fit 5 people, not a cheap price for 1 people, but good deal if you are 2 or group. The main reason i stay here, they are happy to receive the resupply box(shoes and socks) that i sent from Santiago about 1 month ago and hold it for me. Also they accept i have a flexible date to stay. They are very happy when i arrive, also share some roast goat to me! Next day we go for a picnic nearby too (of course driving), we have a happy day there! I love them! They are so nice and friendly!

If you want to stay here, Google Map have their information, you can call them or whatsApp them. I use Chilexpress for the delivery and the address is shown in Google Map.

FYI : Volcán Batea Mahuida is a nice side trip, surrounded by lot of volcano(at least 8), you can find some (car+hiking) tour in Icalma. Also it is possible to renew visas at here, close to Argentina border.

2023 21 dec / 1 day / (hitch)hiking main road / SOBO / Frans

This section didn't seem that interesting, and busses probably daily around noon going South. Since there is only 1 road going South, I decided to walk this road and try to get a ride. After 7km, and prob 7 cars going the wrong direction, the first one came in from behind and offered me a ride to Icalma which I happily accepted.

Plenty of campsites and cabañas in Icalma, nice lake to swim, and some minimarkets with all the basic food options.

Season 2022/23

Season 2021/22

Season 2020/21

Season 2019/20

  • 2020-Feb / Hiking / NOBO

Hitched from Icalma to Liucura. The section does not seem particularly interesting. Possibility to wildcamp near the river in Liucura. Some small shops in pueblo.

  • 2020-Jan-25 / 1 day / Hiking / SOBO / RR until the lake, then OH / Martina & Ivo

Nothing to add to Matus' remarks :-) From Icalma we walked to Villa Pehuenia, Argentina, to renew our visas. We were able to avoid almost the hole road and walk on nice trails.

  • 2020-Jan-13 / 1 day / Hiking / SOBO / RR until the lake, then optional #002, 6 and 7 to the village / Matus & Anna

Regular trail until the lake, then optional #002, 6 and 7 to the village. It took us 1 day. Trail/road are in good condition. River crossing without problem. Optionals were busy with traffic. Icalma village is pretty busy during weekend. Accomodation, tienda and resturant available. Tienda has pretty decent supplies. If you are traveling from Lonquimay don't ask in tourist info center about buses. Aparently they don't have a clue. We spent hours hitching after they advices.

  • 2020-Jan-17 / 1 day / Hiking / SOBO / RR / Tom & Maddie

Easy section, all roads in good condition and we didn’t run into any issues. Though the first bit after the bridge appears to be designed to avoid crossing paths with the private property owner. Nice enough to walk through but would recommend hitching if you have limited time. Good resupply in Icalma.

  • 2020-Jan-28 / 1 day / Hiking / SOBO / RR to Div 85 then crossed the Bio Bio / Frank

RR to Div 85 then I crossed the Bio Bio. Easy as water levels are low now but pick your spot as parts are deep. Continued on alternative routes South of Bio Bio & on South shore of lake. At least 3 shops in Icalma. Continued to Lake In/Out Camp $. Paid 10000 CLP to stay in a shed there as weather was poor. Camping will normally be a better option. No shops after Icalma.

Season 2018/19

Season 2017/18

Season 2016/17

Resupply and Accommodation

  • 2024 March - the shop marked provisiones that also sells clothes had 230g gas recharge canisters for 2900 CLP, but not the screw top type.

Resupply and Accommodation in nearby Towns

Resupply and Accommodation along the Route

Transport to and from Route

  • 2024 March

Bus Icalma to Melipeuco Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6:15 AM Sunday 14:30 PM

Bus Melipeuco to Icalma Monday, Wednesday, Friday 18:00 PM Sunday 18:00 PM

Bus Erbuc (does not go through Melipeuco) Icalma to Temuco Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday 15:00

Temuco to Icalma Monday, Wednesday, Friday 07:30 Sunday 09:00

Buses UB Icalma to Victoria Monday, Wednesday, Friday 06:15

Victoria to Icalma Monday, Wednesday, Friday 17:15


Bus Lonquimay - Liucura 12:00 and 15:30 from Terminal (Mondays to Saturdays)

Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues

Links to other Resources

Retired Section Article GPT13 - Laguna Icalma