Tigre River

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Quick Facts

General Description

The Tigre River river origantes in the high lakes of Argentina before it crosses into Chile. In the border region the Tigre is a class IV river with some good class V rapids interspersed before it plunges through a steep gorge and un-runnable slot canyon. After emerging from the canyon the river is known by the name, Saltos de Tigre, for its numerous waterfalls. Upon nearing the village of Palena the Tigre mellows out to a great and scenic class III+ intermediate run.


  • Upper Tigre: Relatively un-explored. Difficult to exit or rescue. First descent in 1998. Use caution.
  • Middle Tigre: Large waterfalls/saltos and unexitable slot canyons. Class V+/VI. Unrunnable.
  • Lower Tigre: A relatively safe run that can get rocky and shallow at lower water levels. Be alert for sweepers.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

The Tigre is a river that needs rain and runoff to be worth paddling. It has no substantial lake or glaciers above it to guarantee flows. The best way to gauge if the Tigre is runnable is to observe similarly rain dependent rivers in the region. If they are flowing the Tigre River probably is also. Normal flows in the Lower Tigre, after a good rain, average around 1500 cfs.

River Sections

  • Upper Tigre (Class IV/V): The Upper Tigre runs from the Argentine border to the un-runnable gorge section that starts of the Middle Tigre. The Upper Section starts with class III/IV rapids but quickly builds to Class V and V+ before hitting some huge 30+ meter waterfalls.
  • Middle Tigre (Class V+/VI): Also known as the "Saltos de Tigre" is an unrunnable section of waterfalls and slot canyons. Where the Middle Tigre emerges from the slot canyon a class V+ waterfall section begins before the river mellows out into the Lower Tigre.
  • Lower Tigre (Class III+): The Lower Tigre starts after the last major drop on the Middle Tigre and is a spectacular Class III+ run that goes all the way to the Palena River confluence.

Rapid Descriptions

Not described.

Put-Ins and Take-Outs

Upper Tigre:

  • Put-in: Put-in along the road just past the Argentine border.
  • Take-out: Arrange for a custom horseback take-out with the local farmers.

Middle Tigre:

  • Most of this section contains high waterfalls and un-exitable slot canyons. Expert creek boaters might take an oxcart or pack horse up the Middle Tigre (Saltos de Tigre) as far as they dare before putting in.

Lower Tigre:

  • Put-in: Put-in just above the town of Palena where the road follows the river along a wide shallow bend. You can attain and reverse eddy hop for a distance upstream until you come to one of the first large drops.
  • Take-out: Take-out roadside on river-right, just past the bridge that crosses the Tigre.


Lower Tigre:

Access the lower Rio Tigre from the backroads, south of the village of Palena.

Middle Tigre:

From behind the village of Palena, starting at the put-in for the Lower Tigre, there are oxcart trails that follow the Saltos de Tigre.

Upper Tigre:

The Upper Tigre can be accessed from the road that runs along the border with Argentina. Put-in along the road. Take-out before the unrunnable Middle Tigre using horses from local farmers.

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

In town lodging at the Expediciones Chile Lodge.

In town lodging at the Expediciones Chile Lodge.

The Rio Tigre is best paddled as a part of a visit to the Futaleufu River Valley in which there are numerous places to lodge and camp. However, many of these places change ownership, email addresses and telephone numbers frequently. We recommend that you check the Futaleufu municipality website for the most up to date and complete information: www.futaleufu.cl Check under the "Servicios" section. Frommers Guidebooks also does a good job of keeping their information accurate and current. See: Frommers Futaleufu.

Maps & Outside Links




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. Read more: Copyrights

  • Terms of Use: Users of this Wiki guidebook may print copies of the text, images and diagrams for personal river running use only. Any type of reproduction for commercial use is prohibited without the expressed, written permission, of Expediciones Chile. Read more: Terms of Use


  • 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. This guidebook is based on Expediciones Chile's twenty years of experience running rivers in Chile. However, the diagrams and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get here. They are not to scale and nor are they completely accurate. Water levels change, rocks move around, trees and strainers fall into the water, landslide debris can enter the river at any time making the diagrams and descriptions obsolete. Expediciones Chile also reserves the right to update these diagrams and descriptions at any time as we find better ways to illustrate the rapids. Use this guidebook at your own risk.

    Read More: Disclaimer
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