Natural Park Quebrada de Macul – Cascada San Juan

The Parque Natural Quebrada de Macul has beautiful natural trails, full of trees, rivers and fauna, that can be enjoyed alone, in group or with your family. It is a free park easily accessible from Santiago and how close it is from you depends on where you are.

Schedules in Preparation Stage

Tuesday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. up to the maximum capacity of 250 persons. Departure 3:00 p.m. Groups of up to 10 persons.

Weekends and holidays: same hours until the maximum capacity of 450 people. Groups of up to 10 persons. Only people from phase 3 communes onwards.

This park is administered by the Municipality of Peñalolén, as it is located in this commune. It can be accessed by bus, taxi or by car. If you arrive by bus, you must walk about 20 minutes from the bus stop to the park entrance. Upon arrival, you must register your entry and indicate the route you will follow. If you go by car, it has parking.

About the Route

The route consists of several trekkings of various difficulties and durations, the shortest is the one that takes you to the San Juan Waterfall or Cascada San Juan.

If you don’t want to walk a lot, then there is a detour to the right, a little after passing the dry bath, which leads you to a large area called “Los Quinchos Recreational Zone “. There, you can have a good and chill next to the river without much walking and surrounded by beautiful trees.

But, if you want to go to the waterfall, I recommend you to keep walking, since it is not a difficult trek. It will take you between 2 hours and 2 and a half hours to get to the waterfall. Also, if you want, you can take the previous detour and, after spending some time there, continue your path to the waterfall.

You will pass by the Mirador de la U and you will have to continue advancing until you find a detour to the right that goes down and in which you will pass next to a large rock. Just follow the path and it will guide you there.

The San Juan Waterfall is around 10 meters high. There is a path that passes the river and seems to go up a steep and slippery route, which leads to what everyone calls “The Second Waterfall” and where you must hold on and trust the roots of the trees to avoid falling. It is not a recommended path, as there is a risk of collapse and it is much more complicated. It is not signposted and it is restricted.

First photo: In the 2nd Waterfall (this route is restricted). Second photo: Testing my skills (whatever you do, do it carefully)

To follow the route to the San Juan Waterfall or others within the park, there is an application called “Parque Quebrada de Macul”. It also has a panic button that you can use in case of emergency.

Alternatively, there are longer and more difficult routes such as: Mirador Altas Cumbres, Agua de Maqui, Alto de Potrerillo, Portezuelo La Montura and La Cumbre del Cerro La Cruz. You could also access the Sierra de Ramón from here.

Keep in mind that you cannot camp, smoke, make fires, drink alcohol or bring any pets, as they can spread diseases to native fauna. Avoid feeding wildlife and take your waste with you. Let’s keep the place as good as possible.

Enjoy and have fun!

How to get to Quebrada de Macul Park?

Gogle Maps: Parque Natural Quebrada de Macul.

How to arrive by bus to Quebrada de Macul Park?

You can take several buses, including: 506, 507, 510, 511, 516 and several of letter D. The easiest way not to get tangled up is by entering “Parque Natural Quebrada de Macul” in Google Maps and following the suggested routes or arriving by metro to Grecia station and taking any bus that goes to Avenida Diagonal Las Torres. From there you should walk 1.5 km to the entrance of the park.

How to arrive by vehicle to Quebrada de Macul Park?

At the end of Avenida Grecia, you must turn right onto Avenida Diagonal Las Torres. You will pass by the Bahai temple and the Adolfo Ibañez University sector. A little further on, you will find a half moon and a booth that indicates the entrance to the park. As a reference, usually, there will be many cars parked in this sector.

Author’s Additional Comments

This was the second trek that I did in Chile and I really enjoyed it. I arrived alone and ended up joining two guys who made soup with new ingredients for me. So, I tried mussels for the first time.

As I was walking towards the waterfall, and since the park was not very busy because it was a weekday, I came across a fox. When I told the boys, they told me that it was rare to run into one there and the truth is, at the time, I did not know what to do. I just saw something in the distance approaching, it seemed to be a dog, but when I saw the tail and the shape of the muzzle, I knew it was a fox.

Everything was very fast and I did not want to move and scare him away. I tried to remove my backpack to take my camera, but gave up. When he looked into my eyes I felt as if he saw inside my soul, a magical moment of connection in which I felt one with him and with everything that surrounded us.

Once he knew that I was not a danger to him, he stopped to say goodbye by looking at me one last time and quickly disappeared into the bushes.

From that meeting, I was left with a blurry cell phone photo and I learned that I should always walk with the camera on my neck, although sometimes it hits your chest in an annoying way, instead of carrying it in the backpack. It was the first time I saw one, but not the last.

So, dare to connect with nature, visit new places from time to time and receive pleasant surprises. Remember that sometimes travel is about ourselves and about opening ourselves to new things, letting go of fears. Happy journey!

General Data
Maximum height:
1390 m
Cumulative elevation gain:
+/- 500 m
Total distance:
8.5km (aprox.)
Rivers, waterfalls, viewpoints, trees and native fauna.
Drinking water (in the waterfall and in Maqui waters), dry toilets, camping area, parking.
Restricted hours of the trails see.
It is not allowed to: camp, bath, smoke, make bonfires, drink alcohol or bring pets.
Visiting Hours
Normal schedule:
Monday to Sunday: 8:00 a.m. at 7:00 p.m. (summer) and 8:00 a.m. at 6:00 p.m. (winter)
Entrance Fee
Link of interest

Asociación Parque Cordillera: rules and restrictions

General information and restrictions for covid here

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