The Upper Cautín and Biobío
From Victoria, 58 kilometers north of Temuco on the Panamericana, a smooth and scenic two-lane highway parallels the branch railroad that once ran from Púa to Curacautín, Lonquimay, and the upper Biobío, a little-visited and underappreciated area north of Parque Nacional Conguillío.
Blessed with its own native forests, rushing rivers, and volcanic grandeur, the upper Biobío is, along with Conguillío, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve declared to protect its remaining araucaria stands.
In addition to the main road, this area is also accessible via a shorter paved alternative that heads northeast from Lautaro (30 kilometers north of Temuco). From the upper Biobío, it’s also possible to loop back around on good gravel roads to Melipeuco (Conguillío’s southern gateway) or back to Temuco.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition