We offer the following trekking expeditions in San Martín de los Andes, from half day soft hikes to more challenging full day trekkings and overnight expeditions camping underneath the starts. All outings include transportation to the start of the trail, certified trekking guide and insurance. For inquiries and bookings please send us an email to email@example.com
A soft hike starting in the center of San Martin de los Andes. We will walk the north side of Lácar Lake across the dense Andean-Patagonia forest, with prevalence of southern beeches (Nothofagus) and colihue cane. We will pass by land owned by the Mapuche native communities, so we will have the chance to see their way of living. Along the way and at the viewpoint we will have great views of the town and the lake.
Time: 4 hours
Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
Elevation: 200 m / 650 feet
A short but challenging trek just a few minutes away from San Martin de los Andes. We will go with the vehicle to the start of the trail, in an area called by the Mapuche native community Pampa del Trompul. Soon we will start going up by the steep slopes covered by dense Patagonian forest. As we gain altitude the vegetation turns shorter which will us to get great views of the Lacár Lake valley. Soon we will pass the timberline and reach a rocky area that will lead us the summit, made of red rocks that are the remains of an old lava flow. From the top, at 1,778 m, we will have a great view of the south face of Lanín volcano, with the Lolog Lake valley on one side and the Lácar Lake valley on the other.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 9.5 km / 6 miles
Elevation: 850 m / 2,790 feet
A short hike up from the Yuco area, on the north shore of Lacar Lake to Las Corinas, two small lagoons hidden in the dense Andean-Patagonian forest. We will drive to Yuco, 30 km away from San Martín de los Andes, leaving the car at the park ranger house. Crossing the road we will find the start of the trail, going up on a steep slope densely covered by southern beeches (Nothofaus obliqua), colihue cane and plenty of fungi, mosses and ferns. Soon we will reach a natural balcony from where we can see Estancia Quechuquina, an old ranch that lived from the pine plantations, and Santa Teresita, a small island near the shore of Lácar Lake. Continuing our way up we will arrive at the first lagoon, Corina Grande, surrounded by tall reeds and algae. Taking a trail to the right we can go down to the second lagoon, Corina Chica, whose water reflects the deep green of the forest. Both the lagoons and the forest around are great areas for birdwatching.
Time: 4 hours
Distance: 6 km / 3.75 miles
Elevation: 300 m / 985 feet
We drive from San Martín de los Andes to the west end of Lácar Lake. In an hour or so we will arrive to Hua Hum, an old timber settlement abandoned when Lanin National Park was created. Crossing Hua Hum River we will continue with the vehicle for around 30 minutes, by a twisting and bumpy dirt road that penetrates the deep Patagonian forest into the Queñi Lake, one of the most beautiful and hidden spots in the park. After wading through several streams we will arrive at a free camping area, where we will leave the vehicle and start walking south on the west side of the lake. Although some up and downs the trail is an easy one. The forest goes deeper and deeper as we advance, we will notice how the vegetation turns even denser and the humidity higher: we are entering the Valdivian Rainforest, the most humid core of the Patagonian forest, a truly “cold jungle” made by huge coihues (Nothofagus dombeyii) and an extremely rich undergrowth. In around 90 minutes we will leave the lake behind and reach Chachín River, which feeds the Queñi Lake. A few more steps and we will arrive at the thermal springs, with the hot water springing from the rock to a few natural pools. Do not expect any spa luxuries here, but we can guarantee that the feeling of taking a warm bath surrounded by this wild environment is incomparable. After the thermal bath we will have something to eat and then take our way back to the vehicle and to San Martin de los Andes.
Time: 3 hours
Distance: 8 km / 5 miles
Elevation: 200 m / 650 feet
One of the most traditional climbs in Lanin National Park. Demanding, due to the significant elevation but very rewarding, as the panoramic views from the top are amazing. We will drive from San Martin de los Andes to the strait between lakes Lácar and Nonthué and start walking up through a dense forest of Nothofagus obliqua, which find here the perfect conditions for growing. This is also a good area to find the iconic Magellanic woodpecker. The trail keeps constantly up, with a lot of coihue cane on the sides. After surpassing the 1,000 m altitude the lengas (Nothofagus pumilio) starts to dominate the vegetation cover. Then they start getting shorter and shorter until we surpass the timberline to find an open rocky massif dotted with some small high-andean grasslands. After crossing two water streams we climb on top of the ridge, walking around a crag with some great views of Lanin volcano. After a last rocky slope that is covered by snow almost all year-round we get to the summit, at 1,911 m, with great views of several volcanos, some of them on the Chilean side and of the Lácar, Nonthué and Queñi lakes. The panoramic views from the top are excellent to appreciate the erosion caused by the glacier action on theses Andean valleys.
Time: 8 hours
Distance: 16 km / 10 miles
Elevation: 1.230 m / 4,035 feet
Climb to the second-highest peak of the entire Chapelco massif, one of the best ski resorts in South America. Chapelco is a rocky mountain mass stretching for more than 20 km from San Martin de los Andes to Meliquina Lake. Its rocks have a volcanic origin, with plenty of basaltic rocks that were later carved by the action of the glaciers. We will drive to the base of the ski resort and from there take a forestry trail along the valley that splits Chapelco Grande Peak from the ski resort. We will leave the vehicle by a meadow and start hiking to the southeast by a dense Nothofagus pumilio forest. After passing several high meadows we will arrive at a big one from where see the ridge that we will have to climb. This is the most difficult part of this trek, as we have to overcome a significant slope by a loose rock terrain of a glacial moraine. Once we are over the ridge we are near the summit. On the last stretch the gradient gets softer although it can be really windy up there. Soon we will get to the top, where we will have amazing views of the sharp valley south of Chapelco and all the peaks (most of them volcanos) around, like Lanin, Quetrupillán, Villarrica, Choshuenco, Tronador, Osorno, etc.
Time: 8 hours
Distance: 12 km / 7.5 miles
Elevation: 1,075 m / 3,525 feet
Displaying one of the most striking landscapes in Lanin National Park the Achen Niyeu volcano shows clearly the signs of one of recent volcanism. Its last eruptions, dated around 1,000 years ago, produced a bug lave flow that ran into the Epulafquen Lake like a deep black stone river. The area is slowly begging to be colonized by the forest again, with short lenga trees growing here and there in a long process slowed by the cold climate of the region. To get to the volcano we will drive for 80 km from San Martin de los Andes to Laguna Verde, a small lagoon near Curruhue Lake. We will leave the vehicle there and take a Huella Andina trail that is part of the Auquinco Travesía (see our multu-day expeditions). After going around the lagoon we will start to gain altitude and soon the forest will give way to the volcanic sand and rocks of the Achen Niyeu lava flow. We will make a stop here so we can appreciate the peculiar features of this new volcanic rock. Then we will continue to and open area that leads to Portezuelo de Auquinco, on the north end of the Auquinco River valley. From there we start seeing the rusty red tones of Achen Niyeu volcano, which is part of the structure of the volcanic massif of Huanquihue, a relatively new volcanic complex. We will start hiking the northeast slope of Achenn Niyeu by an almost unnoticeable trail of black and red volcanic sand. On the top we will have great views of the big crater and of Lanin volcano surrounded by the Andes mountain range.
Time: 7 hours
Distance: 15 km / 9.3 miles
Elevation: 760 m / 2,500 feet
We drive from San Martín de los Andes to Hua Hum, on the west end of Lácar Lake, reaching the same area described on the Queñi Thermal Springs outing. But this time we will leave the car on the area between Nonthue and Queñi lakes and take the trail up to Cerro Acol, one of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes on Lanin National Park. First we will go through an splendid forest of Raulí (Nothofagus alpina). As we gain altitude the rauli will give way to the lengas (Nothofagus pumilio) which grow on the high slopes. Once we pass the timberline, over 1,600 m we still have around an hour and a half by scree slopes to the summit, passing through several high Andean grasslands. On the top we will have amazing views of the entire Lácar and Nonthué Lakes and Lanin, Villarica, Tronador and Choshuenco volcanos. If you want we can continue for 45 minutes more to a secondary summit that has two amazing high lagoons at its feet. After having our lunch we will take our way back down.
Difficulty: medium / high
Time: 9 hours
Distance: 13,5 km / 8.4 miles
Elevation: 1,280 m / 4,200 feet
Stage 8 of Huella Andina, this trail goes from Puerto Canoa, on the Huechulafuquen Lake to the base of the Lanin Volcano. We will drive from San Martin de los Andes to Junin de los Andes, and there take route 61 to Huechulafquen Lake, where we will have to pay the entrance fee to Lanin National Park. Driving by the lake we will arrive at Puerto Canoa, where we will leave the vehicle and start hiking the trail. First we will pass by a large shrubby plain before crossing a bridge and entering a forest of big coihues, lengas and araucaria trees. We will cross several streams and start going uphill towards the high meadows. After crossing the last stream we will reach the end of the trail, with a magnificent view of the glacier on the south face of Lanin volcano. After taking a good rest we will take our way back down to our starting point.
Difficulty: Medium / high
Time: 9 hours
Distance: 20 km / 12.5 miles
Elevation: 825 m / 2,700 feet
3-day / 2-night expedition on the core of Lanin National Park. We will cover stages 12, 13 & 14 of Huella Andina, starting at Puerto Arturo, on Lolog Lake and ending at Laguna Verde, on the Curruhue Lake area. Dense forest, blue lakes, mountain rivers, waterfalls and black sand valleys all together on the same journey.
DAY 1. Puerto Arturo – Puerto Auquinco. We will start hiking along the Lolog Lake through the dense Andean-Patagonian forest, from Puerto Arturo to Playa Bonita and then to Puerto Auquinco were we will camp to spend the night. Distance 12.6 km / 7.8 miles. Time: 6 hours
DAY 2. Puerto Auquinco – Rincon de los Pinos. From Puerto Auquinco we will follow the Auquinco Valley, full of grasslands of coiron, a grass species adapted to the hard conditions of the Patagonian steppe. We will cross the Auquinco river several times until we get to Rincon de los Pinos, were we will camp. Distance: 11.5 km / 7.15 miles. Time: 6 hours.
DAY 3. Rincon de los Pinos – Portezuelo de Auquinco – Laguna Verde. Soon after the start of the trail we will start seeing the monkey-puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana), the most emblematic tree species of Lanin National Park. Then we will find the first signs of the volcanic activity: a black sand soil resembling a lunar landscape. Arriving to Portezuelo del Auquinco we will find Achen Niyeu volcano, with an old lava flow on one of its slopes. From there we will continue down to Laguna Verde, where we can cool down while we wait for our transfer to San Martin de los Andes. Distance: 16.2 km / 10 miles. Time: 7 hours.