Tours and Activities:
Neumeyer ShelterMarcelo SolaAlejandro Baur
In the outskirts of Bariloche, Club Andino Dr. Juan Neumeyer Mountain Shelter offers the chance to access various mountain tours leading to unforgettable nooks.
We wanted to get deep into the mountain and tour around some unspoiled nooks in San Carlos de Bariloche. Bearing that in mind, we set out towards Club Andino Dr. Juan Neumeyer Mountain Shelter, from where we would reach the vantage points, ponds and creeks in Challhuaco Valley.
The shelter lies inside the territory of Nahuel Huapi National Park, just 18 kilometers away from the city. We could have accessed this place on our own but we chose to hire the services of a travel agency, which sent a 4WD to pick us up at our hotel.
Wonders began to appear during the journey: as we got along, we could see the mountain range that surrounds the city. Mount Catedral, Otto, Ventana, Ñireco and Carlón are part of it.
In the meantime, our guide was giving us information about what we were watching and he explained, for instance, that “Challhuaco” stands for “waters where fishing is good” in the Mapuche tongue. He told us that in the summer, the shelter is ideal to enjoy other activities besides hiking tours, namely: mountain biking, rafting and climbing. In the winter, visitors practice cross-country skiing, ski touring, off-piste, snowshoeing and sled riding.
As we got to Neumeyer Shelter, we had a hearty breakfast to fill our bodies with energy. Before we started our tour, we visited the facilities. The refuge is heated with firewood. There is a kitchen, electricity, restrooms and everything necessary to accommodate up to 45 people to spend the night. Besides, there are recreational spaces, musical instruments and a library.
Eight possible tours start at the shelter, each leading to different interesting sites and having different durations. These are: Challhuaco Valley, which includes panoramic views; Valle de los Perdidos (the Valley of the Lost), a botanic interpretive trail; Laguna Verde (Green Pond) and Mirador Pedregoso (Rocky Viewpoint), with a panoramic sight; Ñirihuau and Ventana Viewpoint, a trail with Andean flora; Challhuaco Hill; from the pond to Puentes Mellizos (Twin Bridges); from Tristeza Creek to the park ranger’s hut, ideal to visit by bicycle; and to Botella Creek.
The very clear brochures offered at the shelter are helpful to tour around the area. Likewise, visitors may hire a guide, who will contribute with further information. All these trails are extremely interesting and they have much to offer. However, attention should be paid to the different durations.
It is recommended to hike along marked trails. Do not cut any flowers, plants or berries. All waste should be carried back to the shelter. It is also important to respect the silence of the forest to avoid disturbing its denizens and other visitors.
At Challhuaco Hill, 1,900 meters above sea level, we could see the high Andean ecosystem displaying all its wildness. As we walked along Valle de los Perdidos, we experienced the variety of the Andean, steppe and forest ecosystems.
It is most advisable to go on a morning hike and then come back to the refuge to have a meal. Homemade food and a good rest will get visitors ready to keep on touring around. We went on two hikes in one day but it is also possible to spend the night at the shelter and make the most of the next day starting very early in the morning.
After tasting some delicious pancakes with milk jam, it was time to start our way back. We felt sorry to leave that site without having gone on the other tours. However, as we got on the 4WD, we were already making plans for our next visit.