SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
LANIN NATIONAL PARK
This name, applied to the National Park and its lake derives from the Mapuche word "lanín", meaning "dead rock". With a total area of 379,000 hectares, it was created in 1937 with the purpose of preserving its natural ecosystems and landscapes, for example the Andean-Patagonian forests, with species such as the pehuén, raulí and the roble pellín, that are only found in Argentina in a reduced-size area of the Neuquén Cordillera, framed by a beautiful mountain and lake environment.
Lanín National Park is in the southwest of Neuquén Province, Argentina; bordering on the west with Chile and on the southern tip with Nahuel Huapi National Park.
It possesses a large lake basin holding 24 glacial lakes, a unique southern Andes Cordillera landscape feature, and several mountain ranges that become lower towards the east, blending into a smoothly undulating topography.
It includes a number of lakes and voluminous rivers that empty into the Atlantic Ocean, except those in the Lake Lácar basin, which all flow into this lake, which in turn empties into the Pacific Ocean via the Hua Hum river. Among vegetable species worth noting is the pehuén or araucaria (monkey-puzzle tree), and among its fauna the pudú, the smallest deer in the world.
With its conical tip sheathed in permanent snow, Lanín volcano towers 1,500 meters or more over the other peaks in the area. Its 3,776 m height reigns supreme over the mountain landscape from every angle.
The northern half of Lanín National Park, between the Ñorquinco and Huechulafquen lakes, is dominated by the pehuén, a magnificent tree of the pine family that can reach 45 meters in height. Its seeds are not only eaten by many animals, but also are a staple diet item for the Mapuches and other local inhabitants to this very day.
In the sectors with rainfall over 1,500 mm a year there are examples of Valdivian forest species. That is where the coihue attains its maximum splendor. The roble pellín forests are another typical flora phenomenon in this Park, appearing significantly in the north and southwest areas. Together with this species we find the raulí, a native tree with great forestry value.
In general, due to South America's being cut off from the rest of the world for a considerable length of time, many species and their families developed locally and have now become exclusive to this region. In particular, the emergence of the Andean Cordillera brought drastic environmental changes to this area, contributing to the creation of different biomes (natural areas or regions), accentuating the diversity even further.
The Park is open all year round, and is worth visiting at any time of the year
Entrance fee: $ 5.
Tromen area (at the foot of Lanín Volcano)
- El Bosque interpreted trail: 45 minutes long. It starts at Puerto Canoas and offers an interesting chance to take a short easy trek.
- Mt Chivo climbing trail: 3 hours of climbing, starting from Cañicul Bay and then going through a colihue cane forest that merges into a forest of coihue trees.
- Trail to the El Saltillo Cascade: it takes 35 minutes to cover, starting from Piedra Mala. It is gently sloping.
- Trail to Paimún: 3 hours there and back, from Piedra Mala.
- Trail to the southern face lodge of the Lanín volcano (2,300 m): it takes 7 hours of walking from Puerto Canoa, and is a real test of ability due to the dense vegetation and strong slope of the track.
- Trail to Paimún refuge (1,700 m): it is a 5-hour climb from the start of the trail.
The following circuits of the Tromen area offer medium to high difficulty level, due to which you must previously know about this area or be accompanied on your trek by an authorized Park Administration guide.
- Trail to the "Mirador" (Vantage Point): You get a view of Tromen lake and Lanín volcano. Duration: 30-45 minutes one way, low-difficulty level trekking.
- Trail to the source of the Malleo river and Tromen lake: to the lake, the distance is 4 km, at low difficulty level.
Villa Quila Quina Area
- Quillén trail along the Las Magdalenas Valley: the trek is along an old, no longer used wagon trail through transitional valleys, araucaria forests and high mallines. Total distance is approximately 50 km and it lasts 2 or 3 days.
- Huechulafquen trail: the trek is along the slopes of Lanín Volcano, crossing it at an altitude of about 2,000 m. It lasts two days, and ends at Puerto Canoas, on the western tip of Lake Huechulafquen.
- Ascent of Lanín Volcano: the trail leaves from the vicinity of the park ranger's cabin where the climbing gear to be used is checked. You are recommended to obtain information from National Park offices before attempting this climb.
Lácar - Queñi Area
- Trail to the carbonated mineral water spring: access is from the jetty of the Villa on a vehicle roadway, a distance of some 800 m to the spring.
- Trail to the Arroyo Grande Rapids: a foot trail takes you 500 meters from the access to the Villa up to the rapids.
The stream will lead you through forests of oak, cypress and coihue.
- Interpreted El Cipresal trail: it leaves from the banks of the Arroyo Grande, near its mouth. It goes through a venerable cypress forest, with a signposted description of the importance of the local vegetation and its importance to mankind. The length of the trail is around 800 m.
Arrayán Circuit: 22 km long, with beautiful views of Lake Lácar and the hills around San Martín de los Andes.
Catritre Beach: 4 km from San Martín de los Andes, arriving at a campsite with nautical sport facilities.
In the southwest of Neuquén province, Departamento de los Lagos (Lake Area).
When one can go
All year round.
El Escorial, Lahuén-Co thermal waters, Lake Tromen, Lake Rucachoroi.
Huechulafquen, Villa Quila Quina
Aluminé, Junín de los Andes, San Martín de los Andes, Villa Traful, Villa La Angostura and Bariloche (Argentina). Pucón, Villarrica, Valdivia, Temuco and Osorno (Chile)
How to get there
You get there from San Martín de los Andes along National Route N° 234. By air, local flights arrive at the Chapelco airport, 24 km from San Martín de los Andes. Towards Chile, three mountain passes link with the Park: Paso de Carirriñe, along Provincial Route N° 62, Tromen Pass, along Provincial Route N° 60, and Río Hua-Hum Pass, along Provincial Route N° 48.
San Martín de los Andes city, at the edge of the National Park, has its access along National Route N° 234. Local flights arrive at Chapelco airport, 24 km from San Martín de los Andes.
Within the Park, there are three mountain passes linking with Chile: Carirriñe Pass, along Provincial Route N° 62, Tromen Pass, along Provincial Route N° 60 and Río Hua-Hum Pass, along Provincial Route N° 48.
Sport fishing, and on some lakes, nautical sports, excursions and camping.
Annual rainfall reaches 1,800 mm. The rainiest month is June, with snowfall from May through October, and the driest month is January.
Predominant winds are from the west, fluctuating in summer between 15 and 25 km/h.
Climate: cold wet Cordillera. Average winter temperature 4 ºCelsius, with snowfalls between May and October. Average summer temperature 20 ºC.
The National Parks Administration is located in San Martín de los Andes, a city offering lodging in hostelries, cabins, etc. Another option for lodging and eating is Junín de los Andes and the other surrounding areas.
Camping grounds with bathtubs, hot water showers, barbecues and general stores are available on the Piamún and Huechulafquen lakes, there are also 15 free or organized camping grounds (without facilities) in different locations within the protected area.
Interesting facts for the visitor
Lodging in the National Park
- In the park lakes you can do sport fishing of salmonid varieties with a permit from National Park authorities (check the annual fishing regulations).
- On some of them, nautical sports are allowed.
- There are Mapuche reserves nearby. Mapuche craftsmanship is famous for high quality textiles and silverware.
- The gravel tracks crisscrossing the Park, lead to various interesting spots such as El Escorial, the residue from a colossal eruption of the Ayen Niyeu volcano, the thermal waters of Lahuén-Co, Lake Tromen at the foot of Lanín volcano, or Lake Rucachoroi.
- The many different options for treks along the trails in this protected area are varied in difficulty.
Ten Rivers & Ten Lakes Lodge
Circuito Arrayán Km. 4.
Tel: 11-4522-7754 Cell: 911- 4473-9348