TREKKING - HIKING IN PATAGONIA
Every city in Patagonia has its own attractions to lure Trekking fans, ranging from the variety of the cordillera to the unsuspected nooks of the plains. Just to name a few: the mountains in Bariloche, the paths in Tierra del Fuego National Park, the southernmost point of the world, or the De la Luna Valley (Moon Valley) in General Roca.
Santa Cruz: El Chaltén and surroundings
This town is known as the "national capital of Trekking". The paths for walkers which can be taken from the town itself are varied, including glaciers and lakes. For example, the De los Tres Lagoon, which lasts 4 hours.
Caviahue: paths and cascades of Agrio River
This 4-hour trip allows you to reach the cascades and the mouth of Copahue Volcano, among other places. A clear mountain area, with araucaria forests.
Esquel: Los Alerces National Park
A stretch of thick jungle in the middle of the cold mountain range. Strange formations of larches, millenary trees of great height.
Perito Moreno Glacier
A unique excursion: walking over the ice of the magnificent glacier which is considered the eighth wonder in the world. Special equipment and guide needed.
South bank of Negro River
The capricious drawings that rain has carved on the rock of the plain have a particular beauty at various points of this water flow. The journey proposed starts from Cipolletti.
Villa La Angostura: "Arrayanes" Forest
This walk, which starts at the port in Villa La Angostura, takes 3 to 4 hours. You get to the mythical forest which inspired Walt Disney for his film Bambi. The return trip can be done aboard a catamaran.
Trelew: Ameghino Dam
This artificial dam in the middle of the province of Chubut can only be reached by car or by coach. Once there, activities are limited only by your imagination: climbing, water sports and, of course, various walks.
San Martín de los Andes: Ibis Vantage Point
An easy and entertaining walk which skirts the hill against which the city leans. Climbing, walks through thick woods and the constant and wonderful view of Lake Lácar.
Junín de los Andes: Lake Huechulafquen
One of the most beautiful places in the province of Neuquén. Ideal for walks without losing sight of the peak of Lanín Volcano.
Ushuaia: Tierra del Fuego National Park and other paths
Enjoy trips among lengas, falls and lakes in the southernmost National Park in the world.
General Roca: "Valle de la Luna" ("Moon Valley")
One of the most beautiful places in the Patagonian plateau. Truly a moon sample in the Argentinean south.
TREKKING - HIKING IN BARILOCHE
Bariloche Adventure Travel & Tours...
In San Carlos de Bariloche and its surroundings, the traveler will have the extraordinary opportunity of flirting with the byways of a real Garden of Eden.
At each step of his way, he will explore thrillingly mysterious woods, serenely deep valleys and majestic mountain ranges, in short, places of indescribable beauty that will leave a lasting imprint on his soul.
The main objective of his walks will then be for the visitor to find hidden spots, panoramic lookout points and other places inaccessible to vehicles, with the simple aim of enjoying nature to the full.
In the surrounding area of Bariloche there are complex networks of mountain climbing slopes and mountain refuges, most of them established decades ago by the Club Andino Bariloche, one of the oldest and most important mountaineering clubs in South America.
Some treks start in the forests and continue up to the rocky summits; others start at the edge of the mountain chains themselves. In every case, you are able to view the Andes in all their splendor.
Excursions for the general public are on mountains averaging between 1,900 and 2,200 meters height. For enthusiasts of the beautiful Patagonian woods, there are also excursions to get to know about the varied local flora.
They involve treks along mountainsides, treks to refuges and between refuges, and longer trips with intermediate camping grounds stopovers.
These last use some mountain refuges that are minimally conditioned cabins, consisting of a bedroom, a kitchen, a dining room and restrooms.
To get to them, you have to tackle trails and slopes that have been hacked through the forests and mountains themselves.
There are currently seven refuges in operation around Bariloche. Each has its special features and different levels of difficulty in access.
Also, for those who prefer easier and quieter options, there are trails where you can get a close-up look at the forests and you get the best panoramic views.
The Trekking excursions are adapted to the features and interests of the trekkers. They last from a couple of hours to several days. Physical fitness requirements also vary. Although almost all the circuits used for Trekking make you healthily tired, some of them are not recommended for those who are not in good physical condition.
This activity can be practiced along the Manso and Limay rivers on organized treks with experienced guides. Difficulty levels vary from II to V (the highest).
The best time of year to practice Trekking in San Carlos de Bariloche for climate reasons is from November to April.
If the traveler is new to the game, he must be made aware that he must NOT go out on his own without hiring a Professional Mountain Guide or, alternatively, join the numerous groups of the GEDA (Club Andino Bariloche associated group) that has been organizing Trekking activities for 18 years.
Do not forget that the security regulations are meant to be followed, and that the mountain is climbed more with your heart than with your feet.
Mt Bella Vista
You go through a wood and get to a point where there are practically no obstacles to a spectacular view of the Cordillera. An excellent excursion for the whole family, if the children are over 12. Medium-level difficulty, with a steep ascent, this excursion takes between 3 and 4 hours.
This is a September to May excursion. From the summit there is a view of Mt Catedral, Ñireco, Blanco and Meta. This is an excellent chance to walk all day with your family and, in the case of more adventurous people, to climb the Mt Meta, Confluencia and/or Pontoneros. An easy, 3-hour walk.
The excursion consists of taking the Robles-Catedral chairlift, from which there is a walk along the slopes lasting 3 hours. There are visits to lake Schmoll, and also to lake Toncek, where the Frey refuge is located. There are some excellent views. The lakes offer the possibility of a "dip" on hot summer days. A middle-difficulty, 4 hr. walk.
The ideal trek to return pleasantly tired without having had to undergo unpleasant ordeals. Woods and pebble tracks. A slightly difficult, 3 hr. walk.
Of incomparable beauty, this 2,000 meter high mount is accessible by vehicle up to its very foot (80 kilometers from Bariloche). There one can hire horses for part of the ascent and go up a steep track for 3 hours to the Otto Mailing refuge. This is at the foot of a glacier. Difficulty level: medium to high.
This trek should be done with guides, because it involves walking over the high crest of the Andes. It gives one the satisfaction of crossing the Cordillera "almost entirely on foot" over the Argentine-Chilean border. Most of the distance is done on foot, although there are short stretches by boat, crossing lakes, and by bus on the Chilean side. It is a somewhat demanding adventure, due to its duration (14 days total time) and the physical effort, although visitors will not be obliged to do the whole crossing, and may choose a shorter version that lasts a shorter time. Trekking time daily is around 5 to 8 hours.
Otto Meiling Refuge and Mt Tronador
This excursion starts at Pampa Linda (90 kilometers from Bariloche). The summit of Mt Tronador is the border line between Argentina and Chile.
Crossing the Castaño Overo river, one gets to the ravine leading to Lake Frías through the De las Nubes Pass. This trail is followed up to the Otto Meiling Refuge, set up by the Club Andino Bariloche, at 2,000 meters altitude (this is Patagonia's highest built construction).
On the second day, one walks over the snow to De la Motte Peak (2,550 meters). From there one returns to the refuge, and in the afternoon starts one's return to Pampa Linda, and then to Bariloche.
Berghof Refuge - Mt Otto (1,200 meters above sea level)
You have three options for getting there: From km 1 of Avenida De los Pioneros, from km 2, going up Cipresales street, or lastly from km 4.5 along José Ingenieros street.
Trekking time to this refuge is 1½ hours, and the height difference is 450 m. the Berghof can take 40 people and has food services and a kiosk.
Just as in the case of the Neumeyer and López refuges, you can get here by car. Another highly recommended way is by traveling in a car or line bus up to km 5 of Avenida De los Pioneros, where the lower platform of the Mt Otto cableway is located. In its comfortable cabins one arrives at the rotating coffee house at the top, enjoying a beautiful view all the way.
Later on, one comes down the vehicle road towards Melipal neighborhood. Further on, through the forest, you get to the Nordic and Biathlon ski runs, that are used in winter. There you will be able to make out the small ski refuge, near the military mountain refuge. Looking towards the valley you will see the entrance gate and the sign indicating the Berghof refuge. That is where Otto Meiling, the patriarch of Argentine Andean mountain climbing, had his private home.
The excursions go along the eastern slopes of Mt Otto and include a mountain lunch and typical tea with cakes in the afternoon. You can visit the Hapsburg Rock, and other places on the mountain. You can also take a rock climbing course.
The Berghof Refuge consists of a large dining room, a kitchen and a pantry, and bedrooms on the upper storey. It is built almost entirely of wood. Together with it there is another smaller refuge called the "Tábano" (horse fly). Further down, we can see Otto Meiling's private home, which was recently converted into a mountaineering museum. From here, one can descend along the roadway, first to Piedras Blancas and then to Bariloche.
Mt López Refuge
The ascent to this refuge is at the base of Mt López. The trek starts at Arroyo López, before crossing the bridge, on the left side and beside a kiosk, where there is a very heavily used and well-signposted trail. There are several pronounced slopes, and after going through an area of bushes and back into the forest, there is a fork in the trail. The left side is less steep and easier than the right side.
You get to López Refuge (1,600 meters above sea level) after an approximately 3-hour walk. This refuge offers the best view of Nahuel Huapi lake and the surrounding area. The pink-painted refuge can hold up to 100 people. The upward trek lasts three hours, and one can do side treks to other nearby peaks, even getting to the Laguna Negra Refuge.
Afterwards, one can go on to La Hoya (1,850 m) and Turista Peak (2,050 m), where snow can be found even in summer. This is a stony area beyond the upper limit of vegetation. One goes on through snowdrifts, mountain streams and beautiful basalt needles of rock with the backdrop of the imposing rock walls of the mountain. There is an excellent view from the top (2,200 m).
The descent can be made along the same ravine, up to López stream, to take the path back to Bariloche. The walk to the Mt López refuge is one of the area's most famous treks. This excursion takes about 3 hours and is not very difficult.
It is well marked out and can be done without a guide. You can also get as far as the refuge by vehicle.
San Martín Refuge - Lake Jacob
The walk up to the Refugio San Martín (on the shore of Lake Jacob) can be done in a two-day excursion. You start it in Villa Catedral (using Robles Catedral or the cableway), you climb to the top of the hill and continue along the crest of Catedral, leading to the so-called "football (soccer) pitch", and then descending to Rucaco valley.
After that, you climb to the Brecha Negra Ridge, where you have a view over the refuge and the lake. On the following day you can pay a visit to Los Témpanos Lagoon and return to the refuge. In the afternoon you go down by Casa de Piedra valley, go through the woods and cross the river by the same name over the suspension bridge. You get to Puesto Bóez, and from there to the vehicle track, and that is where the excursion ends.
From Colonia Suiza you can also get to San Martín Refuge. Once you cross the cement bridge over Arroyo Casa de Piedra, and after about 500 m, you find the signboard indicating the start of the trail on the left.
The San Martín refuge, on the shore of Lake Jakob is at 1,600 meters above sea level and has capacity for 80 people. From this point you can also take different walks and excursions. The upward trek lasts 6 hours.
Emilio Frey Refuge
The Emilio Frey Refuge is located at the foot of Aguja Frey, at 1,700 meters above sea level, on the shore of Toncek Lagoon, with its cold, green waters surrounded by rock towers and spikes.
This excursion lasts two days, and starts at Villa Catedral. You take the Robles chairlift up to the Punta Princesa coffee house/snack bar. Your trek will follow the crest of Mt Catedral. On the way, we can regale ourselves with a magnificent view of Nahuel Huapi National Park's Cordillera.
On the afternoon trek you descend to Toncek Lagoon and the Emilio Frey Refuge.
After breakfast on the following day you climb Bara Peak, then descending along the ravine to Valle de Van Titter, going by Piedritas Refuge, to finally get back to Villa Catedral and return in a van to Bariloche.
Italia Refuge (or Manfredo Segré) - Negra Lagoon (1,750 meters above sea level)
From Colonia Suiza, along Route Nº 237 you get to the track starting some 300 meters east of the bridge on Provincial Route Nº 79 over Goye Stream. The beginning of the trail has a signpost, and the whole trail is clearly marked and signposted.
Italia Refuge is located on the shore of Negra Lagoon and the hill by the same name. It accommodates 60 people and has kitchen services, a dining room and a kiosk. From that point one can climb Mts Negro, Bailey Willis and Marino, and trek to the López and San Martín refuges and also to Pampa Linda. The climbing time is 5 hours.
The refuge is surrounded by a veritable tangle of dark rock mountains that offer the chance of varied treks to other refuges and climbing expeditions on sheer rock walls.
Neumeyer Refuge - Challhuaco Valley (1,250 meters above sea level)
Only 18 kilometers from the city center and on a special trail one discovers a tertiary era valley, perfectly rounded and eroded, and ideal for practicing all kinds of mountaineering activity. In winter one can walk here in boots, or on back-country or mountain skis, or snowshoes.
During the whole of winter one can get here with 4-wheel rive vehicles. People can also get here even with ordinary cars, leaving them with a parking lot caretaker who lives in a caravan trailer, and who will also arrange your trek to Neumeyer Refuge or will request a special Rover-type vehicle to take you to the refuge.
In summer, you can walk along the seven signposted ravines. There are also tracks for Mountain Biking. You can get here by vehicle from November through May.
At the Neumeyer refuge you can program half-day or full-day excursions.
Automobile tour, Mt Ñireco/Challhuaco run, Villa Horrible/Challhuaco run, Challhuaco/Ñirihuau, track along Challhuaco Stream, Challhuaco/Ñirihuau along the Botella stream.
There are also nighttime torchlight (flashlight) excursions. During these you can visit frozen lakes and obtain very special views from lookout points.
In short, this refuge has all that is indispensable for the visitor's comfort: a bedroom, hot showers, heating, etc. What is more, all this is in a pristine natural environment with the charm of a fairy-tale house in the woods by the stream and a woodpecker full forest.
Bariloche Foundation Trail
To do this excursion, the starting point is "Bariloche Foundation", along the old trail linking Llao Llao with Colonia Suiza. On this trail one skirts the shores of Lake Moreno, with views of Mt López and Goye and De las Cabras Island.
On this trail you will find campfire sites with all the necessary items to have a good rest. After about one hour's walk, the Circuito Chico trail appears again, leading to Lake Escondido, with its warm water and campsites.
Continuing along this trail, you will get to a point a few meters from Lake Nahuel Huapi, where you will have a view of Mt Capilla, the mouth of López Bay and Tristeza Arm; after that you will return to the highway and finish the circuit.
López Bay Trail
You leave from the Alun-Nehuen hotel, on López Bay. Crossing over a small bridge, you walk some 50 m. along the beach to the access point to the trail, that is around 3 kilometers long for the round trip. This is a perfectly safe excursion for trekkers.
This excursion can be done two ways: Ascending to Mt Campanario (1,049 m. high) by the chairlift at kilometer 16 of the Llao Llao Road, or walking up along the ravine.
If you leave the coffee and refreshment house located at the summit, you can go along the trail that heads back to the base of the hill, coming to a point where there is a spectacular view of Nahuel Huapi National Park.
Mt Otto Trail
You leave the rotating restaurant on the hill (1,045 m high), reaching Hostería Piedras Blancas by land. From there you can see the Andes Cordillera and Lake Nahuel Huapi among other interesting sights. Continuing your descent, you will get to a sharp curve, and 1,600 meters beyond that, to Avenida De los Pioneros.
The whole length of this excursion is 3,5 kilometers, and it takes around 1 ¾ hours. It ends when you get to the paved highway, 2 kilometers from Bariloche city.
TREKKING - HIKING IN CALAFATE
Calafate Adventure Travel & Tours...
The opportunities for Trekking in El Calafate are varied and all include unforgettable views of forests, steppes, lakes and mountains. Only insurmountable natural obstacles curtail the practicing of this sport.
Trekking is a sport for all ages (from 6 to 80) and for it all you need is proper footgear and clothing and certain precautions (solar filter, sunglasses, a cap, insect repellant, etc.).
A first option is a walk to Nimes Lagoon, in the outskirts of the town, to do bird watching and fauna spotting, or a walk around Lake Argentino and/or a crossing on foot to Solitaria Isle ("Lonely Isle").
A second option would be Trekking in Los Glaciares National Park, where different itineraries and authorized camping grounds are available. Each of these itineraries can be organized jointly with boat excursions.
The excursions available for Trekking in Los Glaciares National Park are of different duration and difficulty levels. Those that include a visit to Perito Moreno Glacier are among the best.
Mini - Trekking on ice
The entrance to Los Glaciares National Park is 49 kilometers from El Calafate along Provincial Route Nº11. From there one goes on for another 22 kilometers up to the wharf at Bajo de la Sombra .
The Park contains 47 glaciers, the most important of which are Viedma Glacier, Upsala Glacier, Onelli Glacier, Spegazzini Glacier, Mayo Glacier, Frías Glacier, and the so-called "eighth wonder in the world", Perito Moreno Glacier.
Further north one can also visit Torre, El Chaltén and Fitz Roy mounts.
This is therefore an exceptional and fascinating opportunity to walk on the surface of a glacier. This sport in open to everyone, because it is does not involve major efforts or skills.
The excursion starts when the tourist sets sail in a large, covered, inflatable boat to cross the Rico Arm, from Magallanes Peninsula to the opposite shore, where one lands to cover a stretch of a couple of hundred meters on foot along the coast to the southern edge of Perito Moreno Glacier.
Once there, the traveler will clip metal spikes to the soles of his shoes for a walk along the surface of the glacier. On the way, deep blue water-filled cracks will appear, and automatically the traveler will learn how to keep balance while walking over the ice on spiked shoes. As the summit nears, impressive landscapes will unfold before his eyes, just begging to be photographed.
Here one is recommended not to pollute the environment by smoking, making fires or leaving litter.
After the mini-Trekking, one returns on foot through the forest, where there are large-trunked specimens of lengas and ñires several hundred years old.
Near the wharf there is a bungalow where refreshments can be taken before starting on the trip back. When weather allows, the boat sails quite close to the face of the Moreno Glacier, enabling one to judge its real size.
One should always be accompanied by a specialized guide. If you travel in your own vehicle, you must arrive in time. Be sure to take your own food and wear sneakers or boots.
TREKKING - HIKING IN PUERTO MADRYN
Puerto Madryn Adventure Travel & Tours...
Far from the "madding crowd" of the major cities, and deep in the steep winding trails that score the varied landscape of Chubut, Puerto Madryn offers its visitors an incredible range of options for enjoying nature on foot.
The national parks and protected areas of this Patagonian region have become unbeatable scenarios to explore countless different options.
From the shortest and simplest ones - such as the information trails for flora, fauna and cave paintings that are ideal for beginners - up to the most demanding ones that include rocky tracks on the banks of Cordillera rivers, for those trekkers who have plenty of experience with difficult climbing conditions.
The Andes Cordillera is the ideal venue, with its altitude of over two thousand meters, gentle climate and enchanting and unique scenery.
Peaks, high waterfalls and natural climbing walls are the permanent targets of the adventurers that find in this vast and diverse territory the ideal place to live their adventures.
The only indispensable requirements for this adventure are: the right footwear, information about the route to cover, and a wish for adrenalin.
Fourteen kilometers from Puerto Madryn city lies the ideal circuit for Trekking: the Punta Loma fauna reserve.
This reserve was created on September 29, 1967 by Provincial Law N°697. It was one of the first fauna reserves of Chubut province's conservation system.
To get there, one walks southeastwards, along Boulevard Almirante Brown, up to the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia. There one will find a gravel track leading to the sea lion colony
On the reserve, there is an observation deck placed on a hillside overlooking Golfo Nuevo, where one can watch proceedings in the colony of "single-furred" sea lions.
After visiting the reserve, and if you are still fresh enough to go on, three kilometers further you will find the Cerro Avanzado beach, a formation displaying among its strata fossil remains of oysters and other marine invertebrates.
The scenery here on the rocky slopes is one of the best to be had in the gulf.
The return to Puerto Madryn can be made along the natural pathways following the coastline. This is an excellent chance to discover the beaches of El Pozo, Paraná, Punta Este and Káiser.
Travelers must remember that Punta Loma reserve can be visited all year round, simply remembering the timetables of low tide.
The information trails are guided by university students specializing in natural science and related disciplines.
Each excursion, taking about an hour from the city, is supplemented with informative material such as sketches and diagrams of the places to be visited.
Each of the circuits combines the harshness of the arid steppe with the riches on the seashore; plateaus, dunes, canyons that lead onto the Golfo Nuevo, all of them topographical features that will illustrate for the visitor the complex geological history of northeastern Chubut.
TREKKING - HIKING IN SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
San Martin de los Andes Adventure Travel & Tours...
TREKKING TO VERDE LAGOON
An ideal trek is the day-long excursion to Verde Lagoon.
The foot of Mt Chapelco (1,200 meters above sea level), 20 km. from the city is the starting point of the trek.
You can get to the top of Mt Teta using elevation devices. With the Cableway you get to Antulauquen (1,600 meters above sea level); after that you take the quadruple chairlift to Graef refuge, and then a third lift that will get you to the crest of Cerro Teta, where your trek to Verde Lagoon starts.
You will go through a lenga forest up to Pradera del Puma and Mt Mocho. Vegetation disappears and mountain flowers appear between the rocks. After about an hour and a half of Trekking you will get to the Portezuelo (1,795 meters above sea level). There you will see a unique view of the whole Cordillera in a breathtakingly splendid panorama, with all its snowcapped peaks including the Lanin, Villarrica and Punteagudo volcanoes, woods and waterfalls, making this the ideal spot to take a rest and enjoy the landscape.
You start a winding descent down a gully to a ñire forest where the trail totally disappears, necessitating the services of a local guide.
From there you will start a climb up to the intermediate area of Cerro El Castillo, a massif that ends in a plateau. Here you will see fallen trees and the barbas del diablo (devil's whiskers) that latch on to the bark of the trees, showing us that the air is pure.
Finally, after a walk of around 15 minutes through the woods, Laguna Verde appears before our eyes, sheltered from the wind by the woods around it. Born from meltwater, it has a characteristic oval shape and measures 250 by 100 m. We skirt it on the left shore, reaching the other end, where a green sward spotted with fallen logs and campfire sites invites us to have a well-deserved picnic lunch. Our rest should not last too long, to prevent our bodies cooling off too much. For the return trip, it is better for us to continue walking down the slopes of Chapelco rather than take the elevation media.
TO MT COLORADO
Leaving San Martín de los Andes along National Route Nº 234 towards Junín de los Andes, you will get to a left fork, next to the "Virgen de la Montaña" roadside shrine.
There you will take National Route Nº 48 (all gravel track) to start your trek. Seven or eight kilometers further on you will go through the Pampa del Trompul and after another four kilometers you will see on your left the rock by the same name, at 800 meters above sea level Almost in front of you, across the road lies Cerro Colorado. The summit is easily spotted from a distance due to its red color and conical shape.
There are different pathways for ascent. Time to the summit is two and a half hours, at an average climbing walk rate, the difference in level from foot to summit being 1000 m.
In summer, the surrounding area is crimson, due to the flowering of the notros. In fall, this forest gets a spectacular reddish hue that is worth recording on film.
Another species that we find during our walk is the bush version of the ñire.
When close to the summit we go through some heavily snowed-over areas, making it necessary to remember that if you do this ascent in October or November, you should take with you all the necessary equipment such as climbing sticks (you can use straight branches for this purpose) and gear such as leggings and waterproof ski pants, etc.
Once at the top, you will discover a surface of red volcanic rock from which you will obtain an impressive view of the whole of Lake Lácar on one side, Lake Lolog on the other, and the immensity of the Andean Cordillera with its snowcapped peaks.
Total descent time is about 5 hours.
TO THE "ISLITA"
Without being in tip-top physical condition, you can still enjoy Trekking around San Martín de los Andes, because only 5 km. from the city center you can wander along winding trails to the "Islita" (Little Island).
You leave Plaza San Martín, walking along the street by the same name towards Lake Lácar. One street before reaching the lake, you must turn right onto "Juez del Valle" street, i.e., westwards, and head for the stream crossing on the little wooden bridge.
The track starts on a dirt trail to Mt Bandurria. Here you can see the magnificence of deep blue Lake Lácar with a backdrop of the Andes Cordillera.
Once on Mt Bandurria, you can take a few minutes' rest, enjoying a spot of bird watching, looking at the nests in the surrounding crannies, as well as admiring the splendor of the snowcapped mountains on the other side of the lake in an amazingly harmonious natural environment.
Then, once you start off again, you will come to a wooden gate leading to Mapuche territory, more specifically the lands of the Curruhuinca Community.
In their village, you will be able to sample their delicious fried cakes, talk to the locals and take photos that will relive these memories.
Now you come to a fairy-tale "postcard" view: a small beach opposite a mound of land only ten meters offshore over the cold waters of Lake Lácar - you are looking at "La Islita".
If you do this trek in summer, be sure to take along a bathing costume to enjoy the crystal-clear lake waters on a short swim to the island.
Here you can not only rest your feet and legs, but also your mind and soul. You can have a refreshing snack of cookies and fruit to recover your energy from this gentle trek, and after regaling your sight and committing this spotless fairy-tale view to memory, it is time to return before nightfall.
As well as a canteen with water, fruit juice or soda, or conversely a mate set, you will need the will to walk around, because this place was meant to be enjoyed. The ideal time for this walk is early in the morning or right after lunch.
ASCENT OF LANIN VOLCANO
To get to the base of Lanín Volcano (1,000 meters above sea level), you will have to leave the city of Junín de los Andes (40 km. from San Martín de los Andes) and there take the access route to the Mamuil Malal or Tromen International Pass, Provincial Route Nº 62, that opens up to the left a few meters past the Chimehuin River bridge crossing.
To climb the summit of the volcano, you will have to spend the night in some refuge. Lanín Volcano with its 3,776 meters above sea level offers three mountain refuges on its north face: two army refuges, at 2,300 meters above sea level and 2,450 meters above sea level, and another one built by the "Club Andino Junín de los Andes" at 2,600 meters above sea level.
You can also opt to camp out on the previous night at the Tromen wilderness camping ground, next to the Park Rangers' Cabin and Lake Tromen. If not, you can also get there first thing in the morning to start the trek. The sooner you start, the sooner you will get to the refuge to rest.
It is recommended that you do this trek accompanied in every case by a mountain guide. Even though it is a very popular excursion, we must not underestimate its dangers. One has to know the different trails and have experience on the mountain, and only an expert mountain guide can provide this skill.
Once you almost have Lanín Volcano at your feet, you will find the Gendarmería Nacional (Border Guard) post and the Park Ranger's office.
Here is where you have to report your intended climb to the summit.
Lanín Volcano summit is blanketed by a glacier with 80 m-high walls but, as this is an extinct volcano, its crater is buried under a huge mantle of eternal ice.
The Park Ranger keeps a record of all the climbers that attempt the volcano's peak, registering their names, I.D. and addresses. He also checks all the gear to be used in the ascent before authorizing your access to the volcano. Some of the indispensable and recommended Items are: clamps, pickaxes, sleeping bags, insulation materials, climbing boots (good footwear is a must), sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm, warm clothing, mountain climbing tackle, a first-aid kit, energy-giving food, etc. Another of the requirements is that one of the climbers must take along radio equipment. In the case that guides are used, they will take along their own.
The climb begins along the so-called fishbone, a glacier-produced formation. After an hour or two, one gets to a triple circuit fork:
You will take five to six hours to get to your chosen refuge. It is very important to drink a lot of water.
- The Direct Circuit, going along the fishbone, is the steepest and most difficult of the three. Even so, it is frequently used to get to the 2,450 m. altitude refuge.
- The "channel" is very dangerous because of the large amount of loose pebbly gravel that you have to walk over.
- The "mule track" is the easiest way, and the one that is taken by most climbers.
On this trail you will find the first refuge at 2,300 m.(capacity 15), getting to the second, belonging to the "Club Andino Junín de los Andes" (CAJA), at 2,600 m.(capacity 8 or 9). The latter is one of the most popular refuges. The third (RIM 26 Viejo) refuge is located at 2,450 m.(capacity 12 or 13 with room for one more in a pinch) on the first of the three circuits.
The next day, and the sooner the better, you will start your ascent. Here is where you will use the clamps and the pickax, because ice starts, according to the time of year of your climb, as from 2,500 m.
Getting to the summit may take six or more hours of climbing. At the
summit, all your senses will be tuned in to the immensity of the surrounding
landscape: the Villarica and Mocho volcanoes on the Chilean side,
the Tronador and Osorno volcanoes to the south, and between the two
the Cerro Puntiagudo. To the north, the Llaima volcano, and looking
down, Cerro Peineta. You will also see Tromen, Huechulafquen and Paimún
lakes, and on a very clear day with high visibility, you will just
make out the Pacific coastline.
LANÍN VOLCANO SOUTH WALL - HUECHULAFQUEN - PUERTO CANOA
- Lanín Volcano: South Wall Trail
- Trail to "El Saltillo" Waterfall
- Trail to Aila Village - Las Termas
LANÍN VOLCANO: SOUTH WALL TRAIL
This trail is divided into three stages: 1st , 2nd and 3rd
1st Stage: from Puerto Canoa to the Base
You go along Rucu Leufu Stream, offering a singularly attractive view of imposing Lanín volcano standing guard over a cypress forest. After going through an araucaria forest, we continue along the trail until we find ourselves in a densely vegetated high forest of coihue and lenga ending in lenga achaparra
da. Here there are excellent panoramic views of Huechulafquen, Epulafquén and Paimún lakes, the Los Angeles mountain range and many hills.
The ascent is to 1,400 meters above sea level
DURATION: There 4 hrs - Back 3 hrs.
TIMES: You must leave the Puerto Canoa park ranger cabin before noon, returning from the "base", before 5.30 p.m.
REMEMBER: You must register in the Puerto Canoa park ranger's office.
2nd Stage: to the former C.A.J.A. refuge
After getting to "La Base", you will continue towards the summit. This stretch is more difficult because it is steeper. The refuge, at 2,400 meters above sea level offers spectacular panoramic views, especially southward on Mt Tronador and on Chosuenco Volcano in Chile.-
DURATION: From Puerto Canoa 8 hrs - Back 7 hrs.
DIFFICULTY: Medium - High
TIMES: You must leave the Puerto Canoa park ranger cabin before noon.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Do this climb in company if you can.
Sleeping bag (eiderdown or similar).
Trekking or double boots (not ordinary sneakers).
Warm clothing, waterproof gear, dark glasses, sunscreen, first-aid kit, heater (camp type gas heater), gloves.
3rd Stage: To the summit
In general, you overnight at the refuge, continuing in the morning.
MODE: ice climbing (technical)
DURATION: From the refuge, about 8-10 hrs.
DIFFICULTY: Very high
TIMES: You must leave the refuge before 4 a.m.
REQUIREMENTS: Experience with ice climbing. Carrying with you the indispensable gear (clamps, ropes, pickaxes, technical accessories, a helmet, ice screws, etc. - maximum size group - 4 people)
RECOMMENDATIONS: being permanently on the look out for rockfalls.
"EL SALTILLO" WATERFALL TRAIL
From the Piedra Mala camping ground on Lake Paimún, we start the trail that goes to the waterfall. After around an hour of walking we get to the falls that are about seven meters in height, an ideal place to enjoy all the pleasures of the woods.
DURATION: Two hours to get from Puerto Canoa and two hours back
DIFFICULTY: Medium to low
RECOMMENDATIONS: no camping or lighting fires. Contribute to upkeep by taking away your garbage. Do not leave the trail. If you think you may be lost, don't "lose your cool" as well - return the way you came. For safety's sake, advise the park ranger about your climb.
AILA VILLAGE- LAS TERMAS TRAIL
From the village of Aila to the bottom of Paimún, you will find yourself in a high forest of many tree varieties, including: coihues, radal and cypresses, and a low sparse undergrowth of caña colihue, maqui, and rosa mosqueta, from this point onward we will find a forest of ñire, coihue and radal, with lanes of caña colihue. If we step onto the highway (free access) we will see several interesting views: Fondo del Paimún , an excellent view of the Lanín volcano and also of the old sawmill ( Rumas de Leña).-
MODE: Trekking trail
DURATION: 7 hrs.
- Aila Village to Fondo del Paimún - 1 ½ hours
- Fondo Paimún to Route Nº 62 - 3 hours
- Route - Camping ground - 1 ½ hours
- Halt to eat and rest - 1 hour
DIFFICULTY: Most of the way there is a slope of less than 20º, with some ups and downs.-
Heater (as lighting fires is forbidden)
Waterproof gear (in case of rain)
VHF equipment if you have it, tuned in on the National Park frequency.
LAKE LOLOG - VERDE LAGGON
PUERTO ARTURO - VERDE LAGOON TRAIL
MODE: Trekking trail
DURATION: 19 hrs.
DIFFICULTY: From Rincon de los Pinos onward a 40º slope, and from Portezuelo del Cerro Huanquihue to Verde Lagoon between 20º and 30º.-
- Puerto Arturo - Auquinco circuit - 6 hrs.
- Auquinco - Rincon de los Pinos - 6 hrs.
- Rincon de los Pinos - Portezuelo 4 hrs.
- Portezuelo Cerro Huanquihue - Verde Lagoon - 3 hrs.
Waterproof gear, windproof anorak
Tent (Sleeping bag, mattress)
For three days you will be far from any supply and assistance facilities (carefully calculate the amount of food you are taking with you)
If you lose your way, keep calm, return the way you came and look for the trail.
It may rain and the temperature may drop. Keep a clothes change and anything else you need to keep dry in nylon bags.
Contribute to upkeep by taking your garbage away.
Do not light fires.
Before occupying a refuge, open all the windows and door for ventilation.
Puerto Arturo - Auquinco trip
This is one of the Lanín National Park's most beautiful areas. The park ranger will register your information for security reasons. Leaving Seccional Puerto Arturo on Lake Lolog, you will find yourself in a high wood of raulí and colihue, two trees that are found together only in this National Park. After walking three hours, you will get to Playa Bonita to lunch and then walk up the ravine. To get to Auquinco where you will spend the night, you will have to walk three hours longer.
Auquinco - Rincón de los Pinos stage
A five to six hour walk. Leaving the refuge, we cross a small mallín, from there we take the left trail, fording the Auquinco river, and after crossing another mallín, the trail turns into a wide vehicle track formerly used for transport of timber. When we get to the second fording spot in the Auquinco, we should look out for the right side trail leading to the Rincón de los Pinos refuge, where we will spend our second night.
Rincón de los Pinos - Verde Lagoon stage
This time, we will enter a different kind of forest, where araucarias predominate. This tree was a staple for the native peoples, who used its highly nourishing pine seeds as a main food item. At a particularly fine two-forked specimen we will have a view on the Rincón de los Pinos and the Huanquihue 150 m-high waterfalls. Crossing the fording point, we will start the spiral ascent to the Portezuelo, where after crossing the sand deposit, we will find ourselves in a special landscape of black volcanic sand called El Escorial, a result of the recent eruption of the Achen Ñiyeu volcano. After crossing, we will go down through the forest to Laguna Verde, and on the way will see how the forest is gradually encroaching on El Escorial, in a transition forest environment of mixed lenga, including notros, chacay and caña colihue. After walking 6 hours we get to the road going to the Termas (Thermal Springs).
HUA HUM CIRCUIT
Mt MALLO TRAIL
From Nonthué we take the trail to Mt Mallo (1,941 meters above sea level), that includes a demanding slope that requires about 4 hours of walking through high forests of coihues, raulí, cypresses, and lenga alta y achaparrada. When we leave the lenga behind us, we follow the cart tracks that are unprotected from the wind and covered with patches of snow.
MODE: Trekking trail
DURATION: 8 hours from Hua Hum (there and back)
7 hours from Nonthué (there and back)
DIFFICULTY: From the start it is a constantly sloping trail going from 20 to 45°.
Hua Hum - beginning of trail: 1 ½ hours.
Beginning of trail - Lenga achaparrada: 3 ½ hours.
Lenga achaparrada - Summit: 1 ½ hours.
Canteen with water and food
Sunglasses with UV filter
Do not run down the slope (in case of sprains)
No camping or lighting fires allowed
If it is cloudy or becoming overcast, postpone your outing due to lack of visibility.
Contribute to upkeep by taking your garbage away.
TROMEN - LANÍN VOLCANO CIRCUIT
LANÍN VOLCANO: NORTH WALL TRAIL
North Wall trail (3.776 meters above sea level)
This trail is divided into two stages:
1st Stage: from park ranger's refuge to the mountain refuges
MODE: Trekking trail
DURATION: 4 to 6 hours
TIMETABLE: You must leave the park ranger's cabin before 2 p.m.
The trek starts near the park ranger's cabin, after crossing a lenga forest behind the Gendarmería post.
Where the vehicle road ends, you go along a foot track crossing the Turbio stream, onto the "fishbone", a name given to this stretch of trail thanks to its strange surface resulting from lateral glacier action. The ascent continues, and after a right turn becomes suddenly very steep.
From here the least risky ascent route is:
The mule track: You take the right fork: it is well signposted and has a gentler slope. The duration of the trek from the base up to the army refuge (B.I.M. 6) is 4 to 5 hrs, and
6 hours to get to the C.A.J.A. refuge or the old military refuge (R.I.M 26).
The capacity of the refuges is:
- R.I.M.26: (2,450 m.), 20 people - this refuge is similar to a tin tent with a cement flooring and no services: there is no water, cooker or firewood, obliging us to take mountain heaters with us. If you use the camping gas small canister type heater, they are only useful if filled with propane/butane high mountain type gas.
- C.A.J.A.: (2,660 m.), 10 people - dirt floored, this refuge is in poor condition and has no services (as with the previous R.I.M. one)
- B.I.M.6: (2,350 m.), 15 people - cement flooring, tin roof, no services (as with R.I.M.)
- Always to register with the Río Turbio ranger before climbing.
- Take along the right mountain gear (you can rent it at supply stores in Junin and San Martín de los Andes).
- Let the ranger know when you return.
- Take your garbage back with you.
2nd Stage: From the Refuge to the Summit.
- Be physically fit.
- If you are a beginner, use the services of a guide authorized by "Administración de Parques Nacionales".
- Attempt the summit only if weather conditions are good
- On the way down not to slide in a sitting position because there are rocky outcrops and crevices that can give you bruises and/or fractures.
- Do not eat the food provided at the refuges, because it is for emergency purposes only.
MODE: ice Trekking
DURATION: 5 to 7 hours
TIMETABLES: It is important to make an early start (4 to 5 a.m.) enabling one sufficient daylight to climb to the summit and return to the refuge. Also the snow will be hard, making it more efficient to use your spikes.
From the C.A.J.A. refuge you have to go along the staked-out trail or, in the case of snow, along the nearest flat surface to the ravine.
There it is a good idea to stick to the right side during your climb, until you get to a rock wall that must also be climbed on the right.
From that point onward in summer you can walk on the rocks without using spikes. On the hill before the summit there may be snow and ice towers inducing you to go up the left side. If the weather does not allow you to get to the summit, desist and try again on another occasion. The summit is only halfway along the way, and you should take care not to run down from it because a slip may cause you a lot of trouble. A simple sprain in this location would mean advising and mobilizing key personnel and equipment of rescue teams, with the risks and consequences of this type of rescue work.
Climbing conditions vary according to weather and time of year.
OBLIGATORY GENERAL EQUIPMENT
SPECIFICALLY OBLIGATORY EQUIPMENT
- Warm clothing (pail-type anorak and trouser covers, cap and gloves)
- Trekking boots (rubber soled and if possible high on the leg), or else double boots.
- Sunglasses with UV filter or goggles
- Sunscreen with UV filter and lip balm
- Energy-giving food and a heater (propane/ butane, liquid fuel)
- Sleeping bag and good quality insulation (below zero resistant)
- Frontal torch (flashlight)
- Communications equipment (the best is VHF with a frequency of 155,675, and 1 or 2- pack)
- First aid kit with medicine, bandages and band-aids.
ASCENT BY THE NORTH FACE, WITH ICE OR SNOW
- "Piolet" or climbing sticks
- Use of a helmet
- If you were able to successfully insert your spikes in the snow on the summit, advise those that follow you on the ascent.
Summer season (Nov/April)
Winter season (April/October)
- Trekking (walks): Trekking to the refuges
- Mountaineering: ascent to the summit by Tromen (north face).
- High mountaineering: ascent to the summit by south face.
- The ascent to refuges is considered as a Cordillera activity.
- The ascents to the summit are considered high mountaineering activity.
- Cordillera activity requires the use of a climbing stick, spikes and radio communications equipment.
TREKKING - HIKING IN USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO
Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego Adventure Travel & Tours...
Trekking lovers will find in Ushuaia a countless number of alternatives, including the possibility of discovering a whole new Tierra del Fuego. To start with, Tierra del Fuego National Park offers a varied choice of excursions, which combine walks around the forest with ascents to strategic spots from which one can appreciate the impressive scenery of mountain peaks, lakes, rivers, peat bogs and forests.
The existence of dissimilar paths allows the traveler to hike short and long distances with different degrees of difficulty. The majority of these paths are already marked out and it is possible to obtain guides showing updated maps with the different routes.
More adventurous travelers may decide to combine different alternatives offered within the National Park or visiting the chain of valleys beyond the Mt Martial, which are dotted with lagoons and flanked by breathtaking mountains and glaciers.
Each walk can be easily turned into a photographic safari from which to take memorable snapshots of the outstanding wild nature. Tierra del Fuego National Park, the Beagle Channel and the Antarctica are some examples of unforgettable landscapes to be captured in detail. Trekkers can choose among the conventional outings or tailor-made their own tours in order to satisfy their particular preferences.
All walks can be carried out during the high season (October to March) and fares are subject to changes. The different alternatives include transportation, guide, food and equipment, if needed (raincoat, backpack, etc.)
Some of the best options are:
Pampa Alta Track
The track, hidden among "coihues" and "lengas", allows travelers to connect "Río Pipo" and "Ensenada" camping grounds. On reaching Pampa Alta, one will be able to appreciate a panoramic view of the Beagle Channel.
Difficulty level: Medium
Length: 9 kilometers
The route linking the "Ensenada" camping ground with the Lapataia area represents a good opportunity to get to visit the coastline of Tierra del Fuego. The path goes along the edge of the Ensenada and Lapataia bays.
Difficulty level: Medium
Length: 6.5 Km (one way)
XXIV Border Marker Post Track
The path, which can be reached from the camping ground close to Lake Roca, skirts around its coastline. From the lake, which is originated in the glaciers, travelers can reach the XXIV Border Marker Post with neighboring Chile.
Difficulty level: Medium
Length: 4.5 kilometers (one way)
Guanaco Peak Track
The uphill path allows trekkers to reach Guanaco peak. From the top of the hill, which is 970 meters high, one can appreciate most of the Fueguian mountain range.
Difficulty level: High
Length: 4 kilometers
This path is across the Cormorant Archipelago, along the banks of Lapataia and Ovando rivers. It is ideal for bird-watching.
Difficulty level: Low
Length: 3 km. round trip.
Black Lagoon Track
A picturesque penetration path leads to Black Lagoon, surrounded by extensive peat bogs.
Difficulty level: Low
Length: 1 kilometer for the whole circuit.
CIRCUITS IN LAPATAIA BAY
Lapataia Vantage Point Walk
This path allows direct access to Lapataia Bay through "lenga" forests. From the vantage point, one can enjoy a panoramic view of the bay.
Difficulty level: Low
Length: 1 kilometer (one way)
Peat Bog Walkway
An exceptional alternative to visit Lapataia Bay. Trekkers may go deeper into the "lenga" forests, walk along an abandoned beaver's habitat and appreciate the impact of these rodents on the environment. Further ahead, after walking round a peat bog, one reaches National Route N° 3.
Difficulty level: Low
Length: 2 kilometers (one way)
Alvear Range Track
The path runs along peat bogs deeper into centenarian "lenga" and "coihue" forests, to finally reach the Esmeralda Lagoon, surrounded by the Alvear range.
Difficulty level: Medium
Length: 6 km
Ojo del Albino Glacier Track
This path is normally chosen to reach the Esmeralda Lagoon in the Tierra Mayor valley. Once the lagoon has been reached, there is another track leading to its main tributary, in the Ojo del Albino Glacier. One can walk over the glacier with the special equipment provided and thus get to Beban vantage point.
Difficulty level: High
Length: 10 km
Tristen Pass Track
This valley located in the heights connects the Tierra Mayor valley with the basin of Lake Fagnano or "Kami". It is located east of the Mt Krund. Tristen river is born in the lagoons found in Tristen Pass forming a deep canyon near National Route N°3.
Difficulty level: High
Duration: 2 days.
End-of-the-World Peaks Track
Ascend north of the hills surrounding the city, from the top one may appreciate the most breathtaking panoramic views of the area. The excursion starts in the borders of the city ("Mirador del Beagle" area). From there, one goes up to Mt Del Medio, Margot lagoon and Mt Roy.
From there, descending towards Martial Glacier, one gets to the "Club Andino Ushuaia " shelter and then downhill to the ski lift base.
Difficulty level: Medium
Duration: 8 hours
Glaciar Track - An Ice Adventure
This trek involves climbing a crevasse in order to appreciate the glacier from its top. Leaving from the ski lift base, past the "Club Andino Ushuaia " shelter and then back to the point of departure.
Difficulty level: High
Duration: 7 hours
Martial Glacier Track
An exceptional opportunity to go for short walks. Leaving from the "Club Andino" ski track, 100 meters ahead one finds the back ski slope until reaching Martial Glacier ski lift base. From there, along the glacier's ski track up to the "Club Andino Ushuaia" shelter. From there, a path leads to the foot of Martial Glacier.
Difficulty level: Medium
Duration: 1 day