The raw beauty of this national park is best appreciated on foot, and there are several hikes that can easily hold your attention for a day or two.
The Sendero Interpretivo El Tepual, a short 1km nature trail built with tree trunks, branches and short footbridges, loops through dense, gloomy forest. The Sendero Dunas de Cucao starts from the visitor center and heads 2km through a remnant of coastal forest to a ocean viewpoint and a long, white sandy beach.
Day hikers can follow the coast north on a 3km trail to Lago Huelde or a shorter 1.5km trek to Playa Cucao, a roaring Pacific beach. The most popular route is the Sendero Chanquín-Cole Cole, a 25km hike (about five hours one way) located along the coast, past Lago Huelde to Río Cole Cole. Lots of people set out to make this hike and back in one day, but nobody usually makes it further than the indigenous settlement at Huentemó (admission CH$1500). The hike extends another 8km north to Río Anay, passing through a stand of arrayán (Chilean myrtle). Keep in mind, you take the gravel highway about 6km past the visitors center before it dead-ends on the beach. Cucao is your last chance to pick up supplies, although you will find better prices and wider selections in Chonchi or Castro.