What is the Patagonia National Park?

Patagonia Travel Posted on 12/19/2022

Patagonia National Park is one of the newest attractions in Patagonia. It spreads between Argentina and Chile and features from archeological sites to off-the-beaten-track landscapes. Keep reading to learn more about one of the youngest national parks in Patagonia. 

1. What is this park?

First, Patagonia National Park didn’t exist four years ago. However, this has recently changed. As a result, today you can experience different hiking trails in the area. In fact, it was created on the 11th of December 2018 when natural reserves merged into one big protected area.

This amazing park is the result of the merging of:

  • The ex-Lake Jeinimeni National Reserve.
  • The ex-Lake Cochrane (Tamango) National Reserve.
  • The Chacabuco Valley, donated by Tompkins Foundation.

Landscape of Patagonia National Park.

2. Hike or not to hike?

Honestly, you won’t consider a trip to this place if you don’t like hiking or consider being an animal lover. So you should take into account before going:

  • Hiking is one of the most popular activities. 
  • Not all trails are only for hiking experts: You can hike to the top of a massive, wander through the forest or walk softly along the shoreline of a beautiful lake.
  • There are refuges and campsites you can use during the most extended hikes.

3. Unique places to visit inside the park

The park covers today a vast piece of land, spreading between the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate (Argentina) and Lago Posadas (Santa Cruz province) and the Aysen province in Chile. Inside Patagonia National Park, you will find glaciers, lakes, and stunning peaks. Many viewpoints are there to help you discover all! The natural attractions spread along the different hiking and self-drive circuits.

4. Hiking circuits in Santa Cruz, Argentina

Portal Cañadón Pinturas

Portal Cañadon is the main starting point for visiting Patagonia National Park. You can organize your trip from here and your hikes through the park. Plus, the accommodation offered is varied, from hotels to campsites.

From Portal Cañadon Pinturas, you can hike to:

Cueva de las Manos and its Cave Paintings
  • You can access taking the Bajada de Los Toldos trail (3 min, difficulty: high, 1 mile).
  • This is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • You can see one of the oldest cave paintings in South America.
Just a little bit of the cave paintings you can discover in Patagonia NP!

Tierra de Colores (Land of Colors) Trail
  •  1 h
  • 1.5 miles, 
  • Moderate, 
  • What to see: San Lorenzo Hill

Sendero Koi (Koi Trail)
  • 1 h 45 min
  • 3 miles
  • Moderate
  • What to see: the high possibility of spotting wildlife.
Guanaco herd in El Calafate

La Guanaca Trail
  • 1 h 45 min,
  • 3.8 miles
  • Moderate
  • What to see:  Condors

Portal La Ascensión

Many hiking trails and scenic routes depart from the traditional Estancia La Ascensión. The “portal” (gate) comprises this ranch and the surrounding places (campsites, restaurants, etc.). 

From Portal La Ascensión, you can take:

  • A visit to the historic house La Ascensión, followed by a 1-hour 30 min walk to the Lago Buenos Aires.
  • The trail to condor nest in  Cerro La Calle and Laguna COA (a full-day hike).
  • The “Sendero de la Luna” trail leads to a high viewpoint over the lake. You can take the coast and admire volcanic remains (full-day hike).

Portal Sauco

Portal Sauco is near the legendary Route 40, and you can camp nearby this portal.

Near Portal Sauco, you can:

  • Visit and stay in the wild camp Los Choiques.
  • From Los Choiques, you can hike to Río Blanco (a short walk)
  • Nearby, you can reach an incredible viewpoint to enjoy a bird-eye view of the valley.

5. A useful map 

As you can see, Patagonia National Park features many adventures waiting for you. And the sooner you start planning, the better. There are many points to address on a trip like this.

A good example is how to understand the distance between destinations which is always hard to get in Argentina for foreign people.

Consult this map to get an idea of how long it takes to visit the park.

And talk to one of our travel agents to start planning your trip to one of the newest attractions in Patagonia today.

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