PATAGONIA NATIONAL PARK
Patagonia Park was created less than 5 years ago. This park is the core of the new Route of Parks of Patagonia, and the major conservation project between Chile and Argentina, protecting 790,000 acres (320,000 hectares) in both countries.
This territory sets the scene for high quality eco/adventure activities, as well as natural interpretation of steppes, forests, unique rock formations and alpine terrain.
CHILE CHICO, CHILE AND LOS ANTIGUOS, ARGENTINA. THE GATEWAYS COMMUNITIES
The towns are located on one of the largest lakes in South America known historically as Chelenco but now referred to as Lago General Carrera in Chile and Lago Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Chile Chico (little Chile) is a small mining and agricultural community with a population of 2,500 inhabitants, just slightly less than of Los Antiguos. The area is an oasis in region with its uniquely warm, lake-influenced microclimate which allows small farms to grow fruit and other produce.
The towns are connected by a paved road of 8 kms. which extends beyond the towns, and provides one of the most attractive routes in Patagonia, with spectacular views of the immense and captivating Chelenco Lake.
ATTRACTIONS IN PATAGONIA NATIONAL PARK – CHILE
The Park on its Chilean side has two gateways to its attractions:
CHILE CHICO – EL FURIOSO
- If you are in Chile Chico you must hike the circuit Valle Lunar – Cueva de las manos (native paints cave). This is a walk through unique rock formations of approximately 5 hours, distant 30 km from Chile Chico (Km. 25, Route X-753).
- You can camp at the Camping del Silencio besides Jeinimeni Lake and walk about 4 hours to La Gloria Pass, to get to the most recognized view of the Park. It’s a long day, where you must wade rivers. (Km. 60, Ruta X-753)
- From Jeinimeni Lake, you could hike for 3 days to – Chacabuco Valley. You walk through the lenga forest on the north side of the park, getting to La Gloria Pass to descend to Valle Hermoso and then to the Patagonian steppe in order to get to Camping Casa de Piedra.
- From El Furioso entrance, close to Mallin Grande Village in the northen area of the park. There is a bicycle trail that reaches Route X-83 towards Paso Roballos. It allows to cycling a loop from Chile Chico, connecting with Route 41 on the Argentine side. It is a spectacular trip for Bikepackers.
VALLE CHACABUCO – COCHRANE
- The Museum and Visitor Center of the Patagonia Park, in the Chacabuco Valley. The valley is a natural corridor, which has been rewilding from a cattle ranch sinde 15 years ago. Today you can appreciate the steppe and wetlands as they were originally, with abundant fauna around the X-83 route with a spectacular landscape.
- Walk along the Lagunas Altas trail and other shorter circuits in the Valle Chacabuco administration area.
- Admire the immensity of Lake Cochrane from the Douglas Tompkins Lookout or from some of the trails in Tamango.
ATTRACTIONS IN PATAGONIA NATIONAL PARK – ARGENTINA
The Park on its Argentine side has two gateways to its attractions:
La Ascensión is a historic Patagonian Estancia (ranch), close to Los Antiguos along Route 43. You can visit the facilities completely adapted to receive visitors, considering camping areas to access the Buenos Aires Plateau where you can find the Macá Tobiano, the endemic bird symbol of the park, in addition to many native fauna.
From La Ascension you can hike short trails to Buenos Aires lake, as well as a long hike up to the top of Lago Buenos Aires Plateau, where you have a spectacular view of the entire area. There is a dome on the way to spend the night if you want.
CAÑADÓN DEL RÍO PINTURAS (Pinturas River Canyon)
Farther from Los Antiguos, in this is the area of the park you can find Cueva de las Manos. One of the most recognized archaeological sites in Patagonia. A place declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, with a great concentration of native paintings, from different periods and considering various forms and techniques.
There are several options to visit it, such as accessing from Bajo Caracoles in order to arrive directly to the area for a guided tour.
Another option is to access through the park entrance, from La Posada de Los Toldos. From there, you must drive for 20 minutes to Cerro Guanaca to begin the walk from the Chinchillón hill. You will hike for 30 minutes to get to the native paits and wait your time fot the guided tour. At the end of the visit, you will have to return through a short but steep hike, to the parking area where you can walk to Cerro La Guanaca.