Volcán Llaima, which erupted as recently as 1994 and has shown constant, but not dangerous, low levels of activity since 2002, is the brooding centerpiece of Parque Nacional Conguillío. The 3,125-meter (10,200-foot) monster, one of the continent's most active volcanoes, has altered the landscape—much of the park's southern portion is a moonscape of hardened lava flow. But in the 610-square-km (235-square-mi) park's northern sector, there are thousands of umbrellalike
araucaria pines, also known as monkey puzzle trees.
The Sierra Nevada trail is the most popular for short hikes. The three-hour trek begins at park headquarters on Laguna Conguillío, continuing northeast to Laguna Captrén. One of the inaugural sections of the Sendero de Chile, a hiking and biking trail, passes through the park. Modeled on the Appalachian Trail in the United States, the project will eventually span the length of the country. Completion is expected around 2010. Heavy snow can cut off the area in winter, so November to March is the best time to visit the park's eastern sector. Conguillío's western sector, Los Paraguas, comes into its own in winter because of a small ski center.