To the Southwest of La Rioja, we find a cornice road with impressive outcrops of an intense red. We visited Cuesta de Miranda.

We left the capital of La Rioja heading South along Route 38 up to the District of Patquía, where we turned West towards Chilecito. The cloudless fresh morning forecast that it would be an ideal day to visit the famous Cuesta de Miranda, a place promising to show us large cliffs featuring whimsical shapes and intense red shades.

As we got closer to the pre-Andean highlands, we spotted the mountain range known as Los Colorados (the Red Ones).

As we reached Chilecito, the vastness of Mount Famatina caught our attention. This snow-capped mountain rose as a silent witness of our visit to this place. The contrast of its white snow summits, the blue sky and the other mountains teeming with green is a perfect postcard to print in our retinas.

  • Impressive outcrops of an intense red

    Impressive outcrops of an intense red

  • It is a different geologic formation

    It is a different geologic formation

  • Cardons pointing at the sky

    Cardons pointing at the sky

  • The precipices were over three hundred meters high

    The precipices were over three hundred meters high

  • To the Southwest of La Rioja

    To the Southwest of La Rioja

We left Chilecito and took mythical Route 40. Through the truck window we could see the town of Nonogasta (“town of the breasts”) and Sañogasta (”town of clay” in the Canano tongue) in the background. We found out that the remarkable jurist Joaquín V. González was born in Nonogasta. To the side of the road, we found some jarillas, gorse, chañares and algarrobos scattered around the nearby fields. Farther ahead, there were the first cardons pointing at the sky like accusing fingers while the Miranda River showed us the way. A historical site known as “La Pelea” (the Fight) is located there, where José Linares was beaten in combat by Colonel Felipe Varela in one of the riots between unitarios and federales.

We headed forward. We could see two hills around us and our imagination let us see the Sleeping Indian on one of the mountains on the way.

After several turns, the route became a gravel road and we started to drive along Cuesta de Miranda (the Miranda slope). It is called like that because the Spanish governor don Juan de Miranda was the former owner of these lands. It is a different geologic formation, belonging to the Carboniferous Permian Period, where iron oxide predominates producing a crimson red color.

The water from the recent rainfalls highlighted the clay color and the midday sunshine made it burn like fire.
The shuttle pulled over for us to take pictures. We watched how the cacti made a colony that seemed to come down from the hill as in a procession.
The steep ravines themselves were a show. The road went up and down alternatively. The precipices were over three hundred meters high.

Finally, we reached the highest point in our journey. We stopped at the viewpoint known as Bordo Atravesado, located about 2,020 meters above sea level. The big walls of the National Park Talampaya could be seen in the distance. The panoramic view was endless towards the four cardinal points. The wind, an invisible friend in these latitudes, softly stroked our foreheads while we were watching the hundreds of shapes of the red walls of Cuesta de Miranda.

After such a show, we started to retrace our steps. The excursion adopted a different tone as we changed perspective. Without noticing, we had reached the paved road and then civilization again. Cuesta Miranda was left behind anxiously waiting for other tourists to visit it.

Autor Marcelo Sola Fotografo Marcelo Sola

Contact of the excursion or tour

Inka Ñan Turismo

Leovino Martínez 49 (5360) Chilecito, La Rioja

Tel: +54 3825-423641 Cel: +54 3825-671933

DifficultyDifficulty: Low.
DurationDuration: half a day or all day
Opening hoursOpening hours: A cordinar con el guía.
How to get hereHow to get here: To reach Cuesta de Miranda, take Route 40 from La Rioja, follow Route 38 southwards up to Patquía and then turn right towards Chilecito. Afterwards, take Route 40, always heading South, which leads to the slope itself. At the beginning the road is paved but the last 12 km it is a gravel road in good condition which allows any vehicle through.


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