From the heights at each of its natural spaces and going deep into its woods, the secrets of life in the open air that turn Merlo into an unmistakable and highly praised site are unveiled.
Some hiking tours to the first mountains in the range turn into climbing adventures towards natural terraces and viewpoints featuring excellent sights in which green hues prevail. The most fabulous must be visited by car. They lie close to Merlo
and are well-marked on the maps.
We set out in the afternoon following the circuit that starts at Avenida de los Césares
towards Rincón del Este
heading for the hill along a paved winding road that went gradually uphill. Mirador de la Amistad
(Friendship Viewpoint) lies on the way and it is the first spot from where a view of the city may be enjoyed.
We found Mogote Bayo Natural Reserve on Provincial Route 5. As soon as we crossed its gate, we saw this is an area where wildlife diversity is watched by those who study ecosystems.
A large sign with drawings features bird and flora species and their altimetry and invites everyone to join one of the rustic self-guided trails that lead to the viewpoints. We went up by car first and on foot later, amidst the lush native vegetation. We took photographs and shelter from the sun every now and then.
Some boys were coming from the opposite direction. They had just had a swim at one of the local creeks and they told us about the famous fall called Salto del Tabaquillo
, accessed either through the creek bed or an inner trail, always in the company of expert guides.
We left the visit to that 15-meter-high waterfall for another moment and we did the same with a hiking tour to the summit in order to see the Via Crucis. We bade farewell to that place breathing in the perfume of aromatic weeds such as peperina
we had learned to recognize them in the air.
Back in our car and as we gained height on the pavement, we observed a great deal of quite tame foxes approaching us in search of a cookie or some kind of food.
A slow pace along the winding road finally led us to the parking lot at Mirador del Sol
. Up there and facing forward, as if we were holding the map of the town, we remembered and identified some attractions we had already visited.
Once we were at 1,470 meters of height, we stood there for a while, beholding everything around in order to find our location taking as a reference the Comechingones Mountains and Concarán Valley and rejoice in the magnificent scene.
But that was not all. We kept on moving up to the ridge, where there is nothing left to climb and the air is absolutely clean. It was a spectacular day and in the distance we could see the mountain range in San Luis
. We also spotted the reservoirs in Calamuchita, Córdoba
We had a break at the coffee-shop located on Mirador de Cóndores, at 2,100 meters to have a drink and let ourselves be surprised by the great deal of colorful paragliders that drew shapes on the cloudless sky. This place is a haven for lovers of paragliding and even beginners may enjoy this sport in tandem, with the assistance of an expert guide.
The cold temperature and wind of dusk watched our departure once we could not ask anything else from that day that was slowly turning into night. In the city, the lights started to pop up. As we got there, we walked to the downtown to find a new way to enjoy Merlo.
How to get here: Mirador de la Amistad:
Located at Rincón del Este, as far up as 3000, Avenida de los Césares, almost in the intersection with Provincial Route 5. A 300-meter-long dirt trail leads to this viewpoint.
Mogote Bayo Natural Reserve
Located on Provincial Route 5, on the way to Mirador del Sol.
Te: 54 2656) 475 721
Guided tours available on pre-arranged schedules according to season.
Miradores del Sol
Reached through paved Route 5. It is a winding cornice road. Drive carefully and check road conditions, as there are falling rocks and slippery areas when wet during rainfall or snowfalls.
Mirador del Filo Serrano
Follow up the road to Mirador del Sol and go on climbing. Once at the top, a 3-kilometer gravel stretch leads to the coffee-shop where paragliding, Tyrolean crossing and rappelling are practiced.