Rio Enco

Rio Enco

Kurt Casey

Oct 22, 2009

Like the beads of a lapis lazuli necklace, Lagos Riñihue, Panguipulli, Neltume and Pirehuico are linked together by the Rios San Pedro, Enco, Neltume, and Fuy. For beginning kayakers, the Enco is a good place to practice the basics of ferry angles, eddy turns, bracing, and rolling, with little manuevering required in the wide-open rapids. At high water, you’ll find some glassy surfing waves to shred. Rafters will enjoy this placid float amidst beautiful surroundings where vegetation, not rock, lines the river. The low profile summits of Volcáns Mocho (2422 m) and Choshuenco (2415 m) loom in the distance. Stay away from the river in January. The obnoxious, biting black flies, colihuachos, have a voracious appetite.

From Lanco, 763 km south of Santiago, drive east to Panguipulli on CH 203. Travel on a gravel road around the north side of Lago Panguipulli to Choshuenco. Continue south and put in where the river exits Lago Panguipulli. From Pucón take the shortcut south to Lago Panguipulli via Villarica and Lican Ray. To find the take-out, drive 11 km downstream to a point where the road descends to river level. Turn right at an obscure pull-out just above the inlet to Lago Riñihue.

Like the nearby Rio Tolten, the Enco is another fisherman’s. On a summer day you are likely to find wooden dorys navigating its course with intrepid fisherman casting from their decks while a guide manouvers the boat.

The class 2 river can be run year round with high water in winter and spring months. Flows can reach 4000 CFS but with gentle gradient of 16 FPM, this 10 km stretch provides for a relaxing float on big blue wave trains.