Chile’s national flower, the copihue (Lapageria rosea), flaunts its autumn blooms in the deciduous lowland forest of Cerro Ñielol, a 90-hectare reserve that rises barely 200 meters above sea level on the north side of Temuco . Several short trails thread among the park’s mixed woodlands of roble (Nothofagus obliqua, one of Chile’s many southern beeches) with either laurel (Laurelia sempervirens) or olivillo (Aextoxican punctatum).
Cerro Ñielol’s forest is also an historical site—under the shade of the so-called La Patagua del Armisticio, in 1881, Mapuche leaders finally acceded to the founding of the city. For most of its 65,000 yearly visitors, though, it’s a place for weekend picnics and similar recreation, though Conaf also maintains a Centro de Información Ambiental (Environmental Information Center) here. Sernageomin, the national mining service, operates a vulcanological observatory, but it’s not open to the public.
Reached by strolling north on Prat from the Plaza de Armas for about one kilometer, Cerro Ñielol charges US$1.30 admission per pedestrian, US$0.35 for each child and US$1.30 per car. Hours are 8:30 a.m.–11 p.m. daily.