Rio Pangue

Rio Pangue

Kurt Casey

Dec 16, 2010

Most people think of the Bio Bio River drainage and envision the three large dams choking a once magnificent river. While true, smaller volume, free-flowing, whitewater opportunities are still abundant in the Bio Bio watershed. Once such gem is the Rio Pangue which has remarkably easy logistics.

This creek run flows of the Southern flank of Volcan Callaqui (3164 meters) and is easily reached from ruta 5 and the city of Los Angeles. Follow paved highway Q-61-R 42 km to Santa Barbara then continue east another 52 km to town or Ralco. From here it is 2.7 KM further east to the takeout bridge on Rio Pangue. Turn left and follow gravel road up to the put-in. 7.7 KM upstream you reach a serious set of cataracts which we chose not to run. Below this are several class 5 rapids followed by non stop class 4 to take out bridge. Carefully scout and/or portage the first two rapids as they feed into undercut walls.

The river is best run in maximum spring and early summer flows so September to end of November. Ideal flows are 10 to 25 cubic meters per second (300 to 750 CFS). The water is ice cold and crystal clear. On sunny days you look over your shoulder while boating and have great views of Callaqui Volcano. Due to non stop action the run can be completed in just over an hour.

Put–in elevation is 750 meters and takeout at bridge is 450 meters. Average gradient is 39 meters per kilometer or just under 200 FPM.

If you want to see river on 1:50,000 topo the map is called Bio Bio 042

Other nearby rivers include the Queuco, Lomin, Ralco, Chavalquin and Duqueco.