TREKKING

Auquinco Trail

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LENGTH
3 days / 2 nights
DIFICULTY
Medium
SEASON
December to February
SLOPE
2,700 feet
DISTANCE
25 miles
3-DAY / 2-NIGHT TREKKING EXPEDITION ON THE CORE OF LANÍN NATIONAL PARK

A unique experience for those who want to have direct contact with the mountains and the amazing landscapes of Lanin National Park without having to climb big elevations and enjoying two nights camping underneath the stars. The expedition covers stages 12, 13 and 14 of the Huella Andina trail, with sceneries changing all the time from the dense Patagonian forest to the almost lunar landscape of Achen Niyeeu volcano. Forests, blue lakes, mountain rivers, waterfalls, and black sand valleys, all together on the same outing.

It is a 3-day expedition starting in Puerto Arturo, on the northern shore of Lolog Lake, 20 km away from San Martín de los Andes. From there we will go along Lolog Lake heading west to the mouth o Auquinco River, where we will camp the first night. On the second day, we will go over the entire Auquinco River valley to a place known as Rincón de los Pinos, where we will set up pur second camp. The third day we will surmount the Auquinco pass, the highest point of our expedition, to reach the Portuezuelo Waterfall and the Achen Niyeu Volcano base. After bordering the solidified lava flow descending from the volcano we will finish our expedition on the beach of the Green Lagoon, west of Curruhué Lake.

ITINERARY

DAY 1. PUERTO ARTURO – PUERTO AUQUINCO

Early in the morning a vehicle will pick us up and takes us to Puerto Arturo, on the coast of Lolog Lake. There, after the last check of our equipment, we will start hiking. The first part of the journey goes by the side the like, across a dense forest of Raulí, Roble Pellín and Coihue beeches. We will stop at Playa Bonita, a nice beach by the lake, where we will have our lunch, and, if the weather is good enough, even take a swim. After lunch we will continue walking through the forest until we reach the Auquinco River. We will cross the river by a footbridge and continue for a few minutes more to Puerto Auquinco, an old timber settlement where there is still the ruins of an old house. The place has a refuge where we will camp to spend our first night. Distance: 7.8 miles. Elevation: 656 feet. Walking time: 6 hours approximately.

Puerto Auquinco
Puerto Auquinco

DAY 2. PUERTO AUQUINCO – RINCÓN DE LOS PINOS

After having our breakfast and dismantling our camp we will start walking north, following the Auquinco River for almost the entire day. We will have to wade across the river several times, passing by a changing landscape of grasslands, reedbeds and meadows surrounded by mountains that will take us to the valley floor. The scenery during this second day is very different from the first, much more open and with prevalences of grasslands of coirón, a grass adapted to the harsh conditions of the Patagonian steppe. Then we will arrive at a place known as Rincón de los Pinos, by the Auquinco River, with a refuge where we will set up our second camp. Distance: 7.15 miles. Elevation: 395 feet. Walking time: 6 hours approximately.

Rincón de los Pinos
Rincón de los Pinos

DAY 3. RINCÓN DE LOS PINOS – LAGUNA VERDE

Soon after starting our third day we will start seeing Monkey-puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana), an emblem of Lanín National Park. The araucaria is a conifer that grows only in northern Patagonia, over sandy soils frequently of volcanic origin. It can live up to 1,000 years and is considered a relict species, as it lives only in a very limited area. After passing the araucaria forest we will start gaining altitude to surmount the Auquinco pass, a magical place where we will see the forest disappearing to give way to an almost lunar landscape of volcanic sand and waterfalls, with the Lanin volcano on the background. Then we will get to the base of Achen Niyeu Volcano, the youngest on the area. If you want we can climb to the top to enjoy the amazing views from the summit. After this, we will continue bordering a solidified lava flow from a recent eruption of Achen Niyeu until we reach the beach of Laguna Verde, the final point of our journey. After refreshing on the lagoon and having a nice picnic of regional products we will take the vehicle back to San Martín de los Andes. Distance: 10 miles. Distance: 500 meters. Walking time: 8 hours approximately.

Achen Niyeu
Achen Niyeu

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

- The expedition is done with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 8, only during December, January and February. Please ask for scheduled dates.

- The difficulty of the expedition is medium, with moderate marching times and without significant elevations.

- No previous mountain experience is required, but you will need a good fitness level, as you will have to walk for 6-7 hours a day with a backpack of around 14 kg. For training, we suggest going hiking on steep slopes with a loaded backpack.

- You will have to leave some free space on your backpack, as the food for the 3 days and the camping gear will be divided between all the group members.

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