Lanin National Park
Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 4:21 pm. Add a comment
Lanin National Park
Located in the province of Neuquén, in Patagonia, Lanín National Park was created in 1937 to protect its unique ecosystems and landscapes, as well as many of the species that are unique to this great country. The park is bordered on the west by Chile, and to the south by Nahuel Huapi National Park. The topography of the park is beautifully interesting, transitioning seamlessly from the majestic Andes to smaller, rolling hills. Exclusive to the southern Andes Cordillera, the park is home to a large lake basin, made up of 24 sparkling glacial lakes, framed by several mountain ranges in the distance.
One of the most notable peaks to be seen here is the Lanín volcano. Its impressive height of 3,776 meters means it towers nearly 1,500 meters over every other nearby mountain, making it the focal point from every angle. Its magnificent peak is further accentuated by its permanent snow covering. The park’s landscape includes a variety of forests. On the northern end of the park, you can explore pehuén forests, a type of pine — also known as araucaria, or monkey-puzzle tree — that grows up to 45 meters tall. As expected, its seeds provide nourishment to the animals of the area, but they are also a source of nutrition for the Mapuches and other local inhabitants, even today.
Other types of forests are the roble pellín, which often grows with the raulí, and they are both found in the north and southwest areas of the park. The park’s 1,500 mm of rain per year provide a perfect environment for the Valdivian forests, made of the spectacular coihue. All of these trees are unique to this area of Patagonia and the Andean region.
As far as fauna is concerned, the park is chock-full of thriving animals of all kinds, such as the pudú, which is the smallest deer in the world, as well as a variety of other mammals, beautiful soaring birds, and diverse insects. The park is open to visitors year round, and admission is a mere $5. There are many different ways to explore the park, depending on if you prefer to hike, climb or simply stroll through the forest.
Many of the more difficult circuits are recommended to go with an authorized park administration guide if you don’t already have knowledge of the area. The Tromen area, which sits at the foot of the volcano, is the area with the highest amount of these difficult treks. It also offers some easier treks, which can easily be done in an afternoon. See this Argentina Travel Guide for more information about the many other gorgeous national parks in Argentina.
Other areas include the Villa Quila Quina area, with trails to the carbonated mineral water spring and the Arroyo Grande rapids. The Huechulafquen area has both hiking trails and climbing trails, all of which vary in difficulty. The longest trail in that area is 7 hours, and the shortest is just over a half hour. The Lácar – Queñi area has a shorter, 4 km trail that leads you to a campsite with nautical sports facilities, another great way to enjoy the park.
The best way to access the park is through the city of San Martín de los Andes, the nearest city. That’s also where the National Parks Administration is located, although Junín de los Andes is another great option for lodging and dining. There are many campgrounds within the park, some of which have facilities; others are more natural and basic.