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5 Must Do Adventures, Hikes and Treks in Bariloche Argentina (Patagonia)

5 Must Do Adventures, Hikes and Treks in Bariloche Argentina (Patagonia)

Updated 21 Feb, 2020
location_on San Carlos de Bariloche

San Carlos de Bariloche, popularly known as Bariloche is a stunning mountain town in Río Negro province of Argentina. It is situated in northern Patagonia along the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake.

The Alpine architecture and plethora of activities like skiing, trekking and mountaineering make Bariloche even more lucrative to the travelers.

The cafe culture and chocolate shops here presents plenty of opportunities to relax and rewind and makes Bariloche an amazing solo and romantic destination.

With winter air and snow clad mountains, Bariloche reminds travelers of Switzerland, and offers picture perfect postcard view along with many on budget free things to do.

Cerro Campanario hike for best Andes view in Bariloche

location_on Cerro Campanario chairlift
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Cerro Campanario is one of the must visit view in Bariloche overlooking the gorgeous Patagonia’s Bariloche lakes. The view of the snow clad Andes and Lake Nahuel Huapi is not to be missed.

Add these attractions to your hiking trip - Lake Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno, as well as Cerros Otto, Lopez, Bellavista, Catedral, Capilla, and the snow-capped Andes.

There are two ways to reach the top of Cerro Campanario, either you can hike or take the chairlift to the top. To get the most out of this experience you should hike to the top while soaking in the beauty around. The hike is free but for the chairlift you need to buy a ticket.

Hiking Details of Cerro Campanario

  • Elevation: 1,039 m
  • Duration (one way): 30 to 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy. Occasional steepness on the way.
  • Best Months for Cerro Campanario hike: December to March (Summer) and June to August (Winter)
  • How to reach Cerro Campanario?: 17.5 Kms from downtown Bariloche. There are many buses which leave every 20 minutes along Bustillo Ave.

Parque Municipal Llao Llao - easy hike in Bariloche

location_on Villa Llao Llao
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The hike to the Llao hill located within Parque Municipal Llao Llao presents picturesque view to the natural landscapes around.

The Llao Llao trail is a the 5-mile circular trek through the park.

The highlights of the views in this trek includes
*Hills - Cerro Lopez, Cerro Capilla
*Lakes - Lago Moreno, Lago Nahuel Huapi
*Brazo Tristeza

Although the Llao Llao hike takes only a couple of hours but it is advisable to take the complete day and visit the many attractions on the way. Few of these sites include Lago Escondido, Bosque de Arrayanes, Playa Moreno, and Playa Tacul. You can also stay for the night at Hotel Llao Llao.

The hike is short and easy. This is one of the less crowded viewpoints where you can enjoy the stunning views of the alpine lakes and Andes Mountain range as well as various lakes.

Hiking Details

  • Duration (one way): 1 to 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start and End points:* Ranger Station or Visitor Information centre, which is approximately 10 minutes walk from the bus stop
  • Best Months to hike Llao Llao November to May (Summer and fall). June to August (Winter) if you don’t mind snow.
  • How to reach Llao Llao? Take the Bus no. 20 from centre of Bariloche and get down at the at the last stop, Lago Llao Llao

Circuito Chico bicycle trail around Bariloche

location_on Circuito Chico
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Circuito Chico is one of the popular cycling/biking route passing through Llao Llao National Park in Bariloche, Argentina.

It is a 27 Km loop which presents spectacular view of mountains, hills and lakes. You can make stops at many pristine blue-green water lakes on the way, for exmaple Lago Espejo Chico.

Bikes can be rented at reasonable rate of 16 USD for standard bikes and 18 USD for deluxe bikes.

It is suggested to start the ride in the clockwise direction as it presents more scenic views pretty soon in the trail. While in the anti clockwise ride, where you will have to wait for the first picture perfect view.

Top things to do along the Circuito Chico are

Patagonia Brewery: Have food and chilled beer here. But be careful as you need to cycle the rest of the loop. This brewery overlooks Lago Perito Moreno.

Colonia Suiza: You can take a detour to this town especially on Wednesdays and Sundays when an open market is set up in this town selling arts and crafts, local food, and many cafes to grab a beer. El Curanto, a local dish is a must try if you are visiting the market. Its preparation is quite interesting to watch.

Hotel Llao Llao: It is an iconic hotel with interesting history dating back to 1938. Its location is especially lucrative as it is surrounded by mountains and lakes. There are guided tours organized on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding: You can Kayak or Paddleboard in the Lake near Circuito Chico road.

Refugio Frey hike and camping in Bariloche

location_on Refugio Frey
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Refugio Frey hike starts from the parking lot of Cerro Catedral, located in the sprawling Nahuel Huapi National Park.

This trail has well marked path with wooden and metal footbridges over running streams of water. On the way you will also cross a forest area. The trail ends at Refugio Frey.

Hikers can camp free of cost. But the other things such as sleeping bags, use of toilets, kitchen etc. comes with a fee. Van Titter stream is the last option for water before Refugio Frey. You can make the reservations at refugiofreybariloche.

Any trekking activity in Nahuel Huapi National Park needs an approved registration here, which can be done 48 hours before you intend to trek.

You can also stay at Frey Lodge, which is located on the shores of Toncek lagoon. It is open during winter and can comfortably sleep around 40 people. Other options are Jakob lodge, Lopez Lodge.

Hiking Details

  • Duration (one way): 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to medium. It is not so steep.
  • Start and End of hike: Cerro Catedral parking and Refugio Frey
  • Best Months for Refugio Frey hike: October to April (late spring to early fall)
  • How to reach Refugio Frey hike?: Take the Bus no. 55 and get down at the parking lot of Cerro Catedral. It takes 75 minutes to reach the Cerro Catedral.

Road of the Seven Lakes - amazing drive and trek in Patagonia

location_on Cascada Vulinanco
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Road of the Seven Lakes or (Camino de los Siete Lagos) connects the towns of Bariloche to San Martín de los Andes, with pristine lakes, and forest enroute. It is the scenic portion of national route 40 between the towns of San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura in the Neuquen Province. This route covers the north of Nahuel Huapi National Park and the south sector of Lanin National Park.

The 7 lakes along the way are Machonico, Escondido, Correntoso, Espejo, Lacar, Falkner, Villarino. If you are short of time and are looking for a one day trip, then follow “the Grand Circuit” (Ruta de los Siete Lagos) which connects the most beautiful sections.

The first sight on the route is along Lake Nahuel Huapi, with view of snow capped mountain peaks and green forest on the backdrop. Lake Nahuel Huapi is best for swimming. You can stop for coffee break or to have some food at a picturesque lakeside town called Villa la Angostura. Hiking and watersports are quite popular here in summers.

As you continue from here you will come across the Correntoso River which connects to Lake Correntoso to the northern corner of Lake Nahuel Huapi.

As you head towards Osorno, Chile, you will come across many viewpoints offering view of Lake Espejo. Do stop at one of these to get mesmerised by the nature’s beauty.

Follow the road towards San Martin de Los Andes and move back towards Bariloche. You will come across serene Lake Traful.

As you move from here you will find the meeting point of River Traful and River Limay. Drive along the River Limay, which links back up with Lake Nahuel Huapi towards Bariloche.

Best season for the Seven Lakes Route drive is Spring and Summer months when weather is warmer and drier.