Guided Hiking Tours

Argentina & Chile | Patagonia: The Lakes District

Lush, ancient forests; brilliant blue lakes; and massive volcanoes.

  • Hiker looking at a view of the lakes and mountains
  • Hiker walking along a rocky trail in the mountains next to a lake
  • Hiker walking along a rocky trail in the mountains next to a lake
  • Two hikers sitting on a rock looking at the mountains
  • Lakes surrounded by forest and the Andes mountains
  • Hiking Argentina and Chile
  • Argentina Trek
  • Argentina Trek
  • patagonia group photo
  • hotel in Argentina
  • Hiking Argentina's Lake District
  • Hiking in Patagonia
  • patagonia
  • patagonia mountain
  • I'd recommend having Dave and Eileen run a guided trip to Japan or the south island of New Zealand and we'll sign up and let you know if it was a good idea. Would travel with them anywhere! There seems to be a very good match in the types of hikes that Ryder-Walker would pick and that we would pick. Same for the hotels and the restaurants.- Bill Y and Elizabeth D.
  • "This trip to Patagonia was new this year and I go to be on the maiden voyage. It was VERY fun, challenging, and the other trekkers were wonderful. Argentina is beautiful, unpopulated country. The Argentinian people were very kind and went out of their way to assist in any way."- Joan Allan
  • "Don’t change a thing. It was perfect! Everything was exceptional!"- Tricia L.

Trip Highlights:

  • Huge views of the Andes Mountains, the longest continental mountain range in the world.
  • Mountain climbing, sparkling lakes, beach picnics, and hut-to-hut hiking all in one tour.
  • Welcoming inns every night of the tour. No camping here!

Step into Patagonia, a land of vast steppe grasslands, rugged and beautiful coastlines, endless foothills, and forests of indigenous trees. Patagonia’s lakes and rivers sparkle with infinite hues of blue while the massive volcanoes and jagged granite peaks of the Andean cordillera (the longest continental mountain range in world) rise abruptly against the skyline.

It is no secret that Patagonia boasts a wild reputation due to its rugged geography, strong winds, intrepid bandits (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were outlaws here), and the countless explorers that have chronicled their bold and heroic adventures. But Patagonia has a sophisticated side too, exemplified by welcoming inns, an elaborate trail system for hikers, well appointed hiker’s huts and, of course, delicious food. We’ve developed an itinerary that centers on these luxuries, as well as the crystalline lakes that comprise the “Lakes District” of Patagonia, and the intriguing little towns tucked along the famous Ruta 40.

We begin this 9-day inn-to-inn hiking tour of Patagonia in the famous resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche. Bariloche is the “Chocolate Capital of Argentina” and the preeminent gateway city to all things Patagonia. We sample the flavors of Bariloche then transfer to the idyllic mountain enclave of El Bolsón. Spend the next two days hiking along the crystal waters of the Cajon del Azul (the Blue Canyon), sampling homemade beer, tea and pastries in cozy mountain huts, and summiting the Cerro Piltriquitron (7,415 ft/2,260 m), with its 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and the Patagonian Andes Mountains.

Transfer north to the sublimely beautiful peninsula known as Llao Llao. Hike up the Cerro Lopez (7,178 ft/2,188 m), one of the most famous alpine peaks of the region, and take in the grand views while sipping coffee on the deck of a perfectly positioned climber’s hut.

Continue the hiking tour with a boat ride across the area’s largest lake, Lago Nahuel Huapi. Once off the boat, we enjoy a hike through Los Arrayanes National Park. The park was created in 1971 to protect its forest of rare cinnamon colored Arrayan trees. Walk through the park and enjoy great views of Andes Mountains. Finish this hiking tour through Patagonia by venturing over the frontier into Chile, where we explore towering volcanoes and the strikingly blue lakes of Lago Llanquihue and Todos Los Santos.

2019 Private Guided Highlight Video

Video credit: Ryder-Walker guide, Dave Nesis

Trip Itinerary

Arrive in Bariloche, the gateway to the Northern Patagonian Lakes District. Bariloche has grown from a tranquil town on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi to a mountain destination of choice amongst the Argentine elite. Bariloche is also the chocolate capital of Argentina, with shops lining the streets of its main shopping district. Meet the group for welcome drinks and dinner at 7 pm.

After breakfast we transfer by van, about 1.5-2 hours, south to the laid-back village of El Bolsón, its name translating literally to “handbag”, as it sits tucked between two high ranges. We hike up the Rio Azul en route to the Cajon del Azul, or Blue Canyon, encountering amazingly clear blue water, multiple bridge crossings, and quaint refugios that usually have tasty artisanal home brewed beer if you happen to be thirsty! Once we return to the start of our hike we quickly transport to our family-run hosteria. Tonight we enjoy a traditional Argentine “asado” barbecue provided by a local asador, or barbecue master if available.

Distance: 9.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1500 ft.

Today we drive just south of El Bolsón and up to the trailhead to Cerro Piltriquitron, or Piltri, as the locals call it. After an hour of ascent we arrive at the refugio for a quick break. From the refugio we continue our ascent to the upper slopes of Piltri, where we have the option of taking in the magnificent views from a stopping point or we can continue on to the summit for amazing 360 degree views of the Patagonian Andes. On the way back down we can stop by the refugio for a coffee or tea, and sample some of the homemade baked goods or postres (desserts) they have to offer.

Distance: 5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 3400 ft; may change depending on optional summit.

This morning we head back north, skirting around the backside of bustling Bariloche, to the Llao Llao Peninsula and our trailhead for Cerro Lopez. From the trailhead we climb through the forest to our first stop at Roca Negra, or Black Rock, a small hut in which we can enjoy a coffee or tea break. From there we continue our climb up to Refugio Lopez with unmatched views of the Llao Llao peninsula and Lago Nahuel Haupi. We then descend via the same route back to the van for quick transport.Tonight we stay at a lovely hotel in Llao Llao.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2400 ft.

After a little elevation boost via gondola and lift at Cerro Catedral ski area, we start on Bariloche area’s classic hike. After a short climb to Punto Paradiso we begin the long traverse, with spectacular views into the Rucoca valley and to the glaciated mighty Monte Tronador in the distance. From the Cancha de Futbol, Football Pitch Col, we drop down to Laguna Schmoll and on to Refugio Frey on the eastern shores of Laguna Toncek. Refugio Frey is famous for hosting the many rock climbers who scale the jagged granite spires in the surrounding area. After a rest we continue down through the forest, passing Refugio Piedras, and finish our long day back in the parking lot of Cerro Catedral Ski Center. Following a well-earned beverage we transfer back to the hotel.

Distance: 10.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 640/3800 ft.

After a boat transfer across Lago Nahuel Huapi we disembark at the southern tip of the Quetrihué Peninsula and Los Arrayanes National Park. The park was created in 1971 to protect its forest of rare cinnamon colored Arrayan trees. Today’s hike is a very casual stroll through the forest finishing at the northern end of the peninsula offering great views of Cordillera de los Andes and Bahia Brava. Once we arrive at the northern end of the peninsula we hop into the van for a  2 hour drive across the frontier into Chile and our spa hotel in Puyehue.

Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 250/400 ft.

A short drive to Antillanca is followed by an ascent up Volcán Casablanca. From the summit of Casablanca enjoy fantastic views of the lush Chilean tierra and the volcanoes of Osorno and Puntiagudo.

Distance: 4.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2300 ft.

Today we drive south to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. Our hike follows the Paso Desolación trail and then the Rincon trail down to the lake. After lunch we continue on the Rincon trail through beautiful, lush woods until it eventually drops back down to the shoreline and Petrohue. Take the van back to Puerto Varas.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 700 ft.

Possibilities include a lake circuit in Los Alerces National Park, an ascent of Volcán Calbuco, or a hike up to the toe of the glacier on Volcán Osorno.

Awake to a delicious breakfast, then depart.

Patagonia: The Lakes District | Argentina & Chile

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Travel and the Coronavirus for Ryder-Walker Guests

Ryder-Walker is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and acknowledges that there is growing uncertainty about the safety of traveling right now. Currently, our guided and self-guided treks are on schedule to run. Should travel restrictions be implemented by local or global authorities we will post updates on this link.

For more information please visit the websites of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.