San Pedro River

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Quick Facts

  • Class: III+ / IV-
  • Distance: 16 k (10 miles)
  • Average Gradient: (10 ft / mile)
  • Maximum Gradient: unknown
  • Temperature: 20 C (70 F)
  • Water Quality: Clear, Electric Blue
  • Character: Drop Pool
  • Nearby Rivers: Enco River, Neltume River, Fuy River

General Description

The San Pedro River flows out of Lago Rinihue and makes it way to the Southern Pacific Coast at Valdivia, Chile. The whitewater section of the river is only about 16 k (10 miles) long and it is a great introduction to big water paddling for which Chile is famous. The Rio San Pedro offers some of the greatest play waves and play holes in Chile. The water is usually very warm with an amazing electric blue color. When in the Panguipulli area the Rio San Pedro is not a river to miss!


The Rio San Pedro offers a big water kayaking experience that many North American and European paddlers may not be used to. Some of the constrictions can produce Futaleufu size waves and large retentive whirlpools. The take-out is in a steep gorge that requires climbing and teamwork to exit. On rare occasions jet-boats will ply the waters of the San Pedro at high speeds. Be alert for their presence; you will hear them before you see them.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

Typically the Rio San Pedro runs around 150 cms (5000 cfs) average, with minimum and maximum flows between 90 cms and 210 cms (3000 cfs to 7000 cfs).

Rapid Descriptions

Baptismo de San Pedro: (Baptism of Saint Peter) Scout on the right. Baptismo is the biggest drop on the San Pedro River and offers the perfect introduction to big water paddling in Chile. Look for the approaching horizon line and roar of the river about midway down this 16 kilometer run. Baptismo is an intimidating looking rapid but the run is a straightforward down the middle shot. Stay in the center wavetrain and avoid the nasty wave-hole on river-left that is present at most levels. After Baptismo, paddlers will encounter two more rapids of lesser size and intensity than Baptismo that are not named.

Put-In and Take-Out

  • Put in: Put in river-right on the shore of Lago Rinihue. Ask permission of the land owners.
  • Take out: Take-out river-right, downstream of the bridge, east of the village of Malihue. The gorge is very steep so excercise caution.


To paddle the San Pedro River you will need to drive south about 10 kilomters from the town of Panguipulli. Panguipulli ies between the larger cities of Los Lagos to the southwest and Villarica to the northwest in Chile. San Martin de Los Andes in Argentina is the closest city coming from the east. Map: Los Lagos

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

For places to stay check out the town of Panguipulli. Their tourism office website will help you with lodging or camping:

Maps / Outside Links

  • Maps:
  • Outfitters:
Expediciones Rucapillan

Copyright & Terms of Use

  • Copyrights: (Copyright © 2006, Expediciones Chile) All photos, maps, diagrams, text and computer code is the copyrighted property of Expediciones Chile with all rights reserved.

  • Terms of Use: Any type of reproduction, republication, or re-transmission for commercial use is prohibited without the expressed, written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users of this Wiki guidebook may print copies of the text, images and diagrams for personal river running use only. Users may not alter the diagrams or text without expressed written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users must read and acknowledge the disclaimer before printing. Printing implies acknowledgment of the disclaimer.


  • Disclaimer: Under no circumstances should paddlers substitute the information and diagrams in this guidebook for their own sound judgment on the river and their collective experience running rivers. The diagrams, maps and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get to Chile or Argentina. They are not to scale and nor are they completely accurate. Water levels change, rocks move around, landslide debris can enter the river at any time making the diagrams obsolete. Expediciones Chile also reserves the right to update these diagrams and descriptions at any time as we find better ways to illustrate and discuss the rapids. Use this guidebook at your own risk.

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