Adventure in Argentina’s Natural Routes: The Best Activities for a Rush of Patagonian Adrenaline

Imposing and perfectly designed across the country, the Natural Routes (La Ruta Natural) offer an infinite range of possibilities for nature lovers. Mountains, volcanoes, deserts, and seas make up the amazing landscapes, but there is also something to make your heart beat fast: adventure tourism, another of Argentina’s attribute.

Three Natural Routes strategically located, three alternatives to explore a unique world in a white and turquoise territory: Patagonia. One with snowy peaks, infinite steppes, glaciers, and the top-notch gastronomy. Another attracts thousands of tourists per year, and, with each visit, doubles down the bet. Chubut, La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro, and Santa Cruz make up the Steppe Route, the Southern Patagonia Route, and the Andean Patagonia Route. What does this natural trio have in common? That, in addition to superb panoramic views, every corner offers activities for restless travellers.

Hiking through Forests and Mountains

The speciality of the house. Southern Argentina is an expert on this subject: it has plenty of trails to wear out your shoe soles. Lagoons, white elevations, forests, and glaciers unfold across different provinces, creating the most coveted scenarios of all. On the Steppe Route, Laguna Blanca National Park (Neuquén) is a strong option, with a 700-metre interpretive route, where the vegetation of the steppe takes the leading role. At the end of the walk, a lagoon full of birds waits for curious travellers: the perfect place for lovers of wildlife watching. Another option is the El Escorial geological trail, which enables hikers to step on volcanic sand during 50 minutes. On the other hand, La Pampa offers dreamlike panoramic views on the Piedra Movediza trail, one of people’s favourites in the area thanks to its incredible vistas. If your internal compass points towards Santa Cruz, the Petrified Forests of Jaramillo National Park protects one of the most important fossil plant deposits in Argentina and can be toured on a 2-kilometre palaeontological trail.

The Southern Patagonia Route also has its ace up its sleeve: Los Glaciares National Park, one of the most significant in the country. Inside, thousands of ice masses give one of the most spectacular shows with shades of light blue and white. The Perito Moreno Glacier is the great star of the circuit, and the 4-kilometre walkways are ideal for hiking in breath-taking landscapes. In addition, if you want to raise the bar, you can go trekking inside the glacier itself, accompanied by guides and with the right equipment. Yet, when it comes to hiking, this Natural Route has another treasure. It is home to none the less than the national capital of trekking: El Chaltén. This nickname is pretty clear: this city swells with great pride with its nature trails. You can’t miss the trails of Laguna de los Tres, Laguna Torre, Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, and Piedra del Fraile.

Neuquén and its charms are also present in the Andean Patagonia Route’s itinerary. The paths traced by Lanín National Park are worth exploring! San Martín de los Andes is the gate to the park with portrait-like landscapes: Hermoso and Meliquina Lakes reflect the groves in their crystal-clear waters, offering a tour at full speed.

Kayaking along the Course of Rivers

Patagonian waters add on more charm if you navigate them. The channels of the different rivers are the perfect setting to get on canoes propelled by oars, which becomes the classic choice of the south. It is no wonder why this offer abounds: from the Chubut River, passing through the Aluminé and Moquehue Lakes in Neuquén, to Los Alerces National Park, Lago del Desierto Provincial Park and Quila Quina. Those who venture themselves into the waters will be marvelled at the turquoise horizon, with lush forests for afar framed by mountain ranges.

Mountain Biking

Adrenaline can also be experienced on two wheels. Wind in the face, a helmet, and good speed are enough to feel the southern air as you cycle around mountain slopes. The landscapes only get better when you pedal up and find glimpses of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, and forests. One of the most demanded roads for cycling is the Route of the Seven Lakes, 110 kilometres of the iconic National Route 40, between San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura. The road is designed in such a way so that adventurers tour it little by little, stopping at different lakes and resting on beaches or mountain lodges. The best time to do it? From October to March.

Los Arrayanes National Park, in Villa La Angostura, is also a route worth exploring by bicycle. From the centre to the destination, you can cover 12 kilometres through the most varied native flora and fauna, circling the lake and getting unique views.

4×4 Adventure

Off-road trucks ready to scan new places. Excursions on 4×4 vehicles are guaranteed success to enjoy nature and absorb the surrounding landscapes. The Meseta de Somuncurá Protected Natural Area (Río Negro) is one of the recommended points on the Steppe Route, since you can only access the plateau in these vehicles. Canyons with cave paintings, fossil remains, and plains rise up along trails ideal for adrenaline enthusiasts.

Wheels also can also get close to glaciers. More precisely in Los Glaciares National Park, in Santa Cruz. 4×4 expeditions border unprecedented natural blocks, and the surroundings of Argentino Lake are also perfect for exploring on four wheels.

On the Southern Patagonia Route, Provincial Scenic Route 41 extends over 159 kilometres of gravel from Los Antiguos to Lago Posadas, a small mountain village. The spellbinding secret gem for 4×4 vehicles is the Perito Moreno National Park, with 68 kilometres that can only be accessed by van.

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