Searching for Lago del Desierto

It is impossible to miss the tour to Lago del Desierto while staying at the City of El Chaltén. Famous for its history, this lake has much to show whoever wishes to see it.

While at El Chaltén, we got on our vehicle and drove to the end of the town, where the road that borders on the Río de las Vueltas (River of the Bends) begins. After 37 kilometers, we got to Lago del Desierto -which stands for Lake of the Desert in Spanish. This famous lake is a historical site that gave origin to this small settlement.

In 1965, during a routine reconnaissance, a group of Argentinian gendarmes found a settlement of Chilean carabiners a few meters away from the lake. This generated a dispute between both countries. It was just another episode in the border conflict among fellow nations which in turn led to the foundation of El Chaltén.

Besides its history, the lake features a wide range of tourist attractions where its nature prevails. This scene may be watched during a navigation tour on a catamaran.

We set sail from the pier and watched the lakeshores from a close distance. The tour to the Gendarmería Nacional station took 45 minutes.

A small quay welcomed us, along with a dozen gendarmes that were on duty. We had the pleasure to greet them before setting out on a hike to the top of a low hill that displayed a view of the magnificent lake and the silhouette of the Fitz Roy.

  • The Huemul Glacier

    The Huemul Glacier

  • Río de las Vueltas

    Río de las Vueltas

  • North tip pier

    North tip pier

  • Chorrillo del Salto Fall

    Chorrillo del Salto Fall

  • Sailing the Lake of the Desert

    Sailing the Lake of the Desert

Back at the pier where the tour began, we bade farewell to our partners in this adventure and started towards a sign that indicated the existence of a small glacier a little less than one hour away on foot.

Thus, we went uphill to see the Huemul Glacier. It was an ascent like none we had done before. The forest boasts exceptional features and at times it made us feel as if inside the movie “The Lord of the Rings”.

The Huemul Glacier is wonderful from every perspective and its beauty resides not only in its eternal ice or snow formations, but also in the surrounding environment.

A pond with emerald waters lies at its base. On windless days, the silhouettes of several snow-capped peaks are mirrored on its quiet surface.

After several minutes of well-deserved rest, we started our way back along the same trail that had deposited us there. It is perfectly sign-posted, steep and demanding. However, it is not difficult if attention is paid and the pace is constant.

Afterwards, we had time to try and catch some trout at Río de las Vueltas. We could see them but unfortunately, they did not bite our flies. After several attempts, we resolved to quit.

Lago del Desierto and its surroundings represent a spectacular scene. Visitors to El Chaltén should definitely not miss this very Argentinian site.

Going back to El Chalten and following the winding road alongside Río de las Vueltas, a signpost is reached which gives notice of the presence of a memorable site: Chorrillo del Salto Fall.

This small masterpiece of nature dazzles all those who dare to park their vehicles and walk the short fifteen minutes we took to get to this small waterfall.

The river runs between steep walls up to the point where a significant slope makes it fall into a great pool of fresh clear water that gives shape to a small pond of green shades where some rainbow trout may be observed while they catch some insect.

A perfect spot, just a few kilometers away from El Chaltén, to end this attractive excursion to the famed Lago del Desierto.

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Jorge González


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