The Most Epic Hiking Trails in Bariloche, Argentina

Bariloche, Argentina
Bariloche, Argentina | © Danielle Pereira/Flickr
Photo of Sorcha O'Higgins
19 January 2018

Bariloche in Patagonia’s Lake District is one of the most enchanting places in Argentina, if not the world. With its wealth of glacial lakes, incredible mountains and never-ending patches of woodland, there are innumerable hikes and trails to explore. We round up the most incredible hiking trails in Bariloche, Argentina.

Cerro Campanario

Panoramic view from Cerro Campanario | © Steven dosRemedios/Flickr

Often cited as one of the top 5 best views in the world (although this is thought to be a local myth), Cerro Campanario does indeed deliver on its promise of providing those who scale the short but demanding 30-40 minute walk to the top with views that seem to stretch on forever in every direction. The viewing platform gives you different orientations over all the lakes, and you can do some souvenir shopping in the cafe at the top, which also affords panoramic vistas through its 180 degree window.

Cerro Llao Llao

This trek is close to the famous Llao Llao Hotel and can be reached by bus. Keeping the golf course on your right, head on until you get into the woods and grab one of the wooden sticks at the entrance to the trail, as there are some steep parts that you may need help with. As you walk through the forest you will come across lots of native flora and fauna, including rosehip bushes, which they make oil out of locally. If you continue along the trail the road forks at a car park, and head right to get to a secluded beach, where you can jump from protruding rocks into the lake.

Los Duendes waterfall, Mirador Lago Gutierrez

Los Duendes waterfall | © Telping/Flickr

This short hike in the forest surrounding Lago Gutierrez is family and kid friendly, and takes you through some enchanting forests until you reach the compact Los Duendes waterfall. There are plenty of rocks and places to sit to admire the cascade, and heading back the way you came, you can then take the marked trail up to the viewpoint over the lake. The hike takes about 30 minutes and is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Just make sure you have good walking shoes, as some parts toward the top of the hill are slippery.

Bosque Arrayanes

This forest walk in Villa la Angostura is popular with people who are looking for an easy, yet lengthy, hike. This hike combines the best of both worlds, in that you can take a boat trip on the lake to get the far end, and walk back through the woods from there. Alternatively, you can do the forest walk first, then catch the boat on the return. Or walk the roundtrip if you’re feeling up for it, although each way takes about 3 to 4 hours.

Refugio Laguna Negra

This trek can be done in one or two days, depending on the route you decide to take. The normal route takes about 5 hours starting from Colonia Suiza, a cute little mountain settlement with bars, restaurants and shops built in the typical Alpine style. This trek will bring you on a long walk through a wooded valley where you will see lots of flora and fauna typical of the area, before changing into a steep ascent before you get to the lodge and the Laguna Negra lake.

Refugio Frey

The view from Refugio Frey, Bariloche | © nateClicks/Flickr

Perhaps the most popular trek in the entire region, the hike to Refugio Frey appeals to those who want a challenging but not overly demanding hike, where you pass through beautiful forest, across rivers and streams and up mountains to finally arrive at the lodge, which is located beside a pretty lagoon with some soaring peaks on the other side. The starting point is from Cerro Catedral ski resort, and you will see the trail entrance marked on a wooden sign.

Refugio Otto Meiling

Another popular trek in the Bariloche area is to Refugio Otto Meiling. This isolated lodge is a great place to hike to and spend the night, and the trek to the lodge takes about five hours. This 14km (8.7 mile) hike will bring you up 1050m (3,445 ft) to the small and remote lodge which is located at the edge of the Castaño Overa Glacier. It is backdropped by a snowy peak and affords visitors great views over the mountain range. This hike is in the Tronador section of the region, so you will need to get a bus from Bariloche to Pampa Linda to start the hike.

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